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Making Art and Homemade Bread

December 9, 2010

"The Simple Act" - Collage, Approx. 8 x 8" on 100# Bristol

I was inspired today reading Melody Johnson’s recent post about homemade bread. I’ve been making bread a lot, but still haven’t achieved that wonderful crusty exterior and big holes that characterize the best artisan breads. Check out her blog for that beautiful loaf of bread and then feast your eyes on her fabulous fabric creations.

From there I picked up my most recent Mother Earth News magazine, which has beautiful loaves of “Easy Homemade Bread” right on the cover. So I was reading through the article “Homemade Bread, Truly Easy and Delicious” by William Rubel, an article more about the philosophy of bread baking than about recipes. Suddenly I began to feel I was not just reading about bread, but also about the philosophy of art making.

The following inspiring quotes from the article could just as well apply to art making by substituting just a word or two:

Baking homemade bread is truly simple. Just put flour, water, leaven and salt  together and stir.

Making bread that you’re happy with is a matter of both the bread and your expectations.

It doesn’t have to look the same every time or match a picture in a book.

You can’t fail at bread making as long as you pay attention to the dough and don’t try to bake it when it isn’t ready. (My favorite!)

There is no one pathway to delicious bread.

Your role as bread baker is like that of improvising jazz musician or nurturing gardener.

Fermenting bread dough is alive and ever-changing.

Each batch of dough has the potential to produce an infinite range of successful conclusions.

Each recipe is a window into a world of possibilities rather than an end in itself.

Aren’t these beautiful words? Now I’m taking my magazine with me to the kitchen to make some bread! Once the dough is rising I’ll try to make some art as well.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2010 1:35 pm

    Who knew bread quotes could be so delicious? Love the last one! And your collage, wow!

  2. December 10, 2010 5:58 am

    There is no one pathway to delicious bread. My fav! What a find, love the quotes and your collage. How did your bread come out? My husband baked us pizzas last night, the dough was heaven!

    • December 10, 2010 9:45 am

      Fadwa, I have to confess that I didn’t go ahead and start the bread. I just did that now. It needs to rise for 12-18 hours so timing is a factor. But I will let you know how it works out and will even post a picture if it’s successful! Glad you liked the collage.

  3. December 10, 2010 9:13 am

    Hi Martha
    Bread. How it is similar to art – I’m not real sure. Except the final piece is just so pretty and yummy. Otherwise, making bread is a chore for me – because we have come to depend on it, I think.

    I make bread so we don’t have to shell out 4.50 for a good loaf of bread. One that is healthy, crunchy outer layer and sugar free. So, we make the bread(s) from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. It’s a great recipe that can make 3 – 1 lb loaves of dough at a time. Stored in the fridge for up to 14 days – breaking off enough for a loaf at a time to bake. And, it’s just water, flour, yeast and salt. It’s really quite easy – I shouldn’t complain – and we always think it’s so tasty.
    Happy Baking!

    • December 10, 2010 10:12 am

      Jennifer, I think there’s more to the bread and art issue, now that I’ve thought about it some more. I think that being an artist means we are open to new experiences and to learning from them. Some people are and some aren’t. I think this might be a new blog post.

      I am exactly in the same position regarding the cost of a loaf of bread. I could do without it altogether, but it’s just such a wonderful thing. I think you might be referring to the recipe/instrucions that were in an issue of Mother Earth News about a year ago. I’m going to get that out and see. I remember there was enough dough to make several loaves.

      Back in the day when we thought we had to knead the dough for ten full minutes, I still enjoyed making it, although I didn’t do it very often. But that didn’t give you the great big holes in the crumb that I like in artisan breads. I’m sure this method will give you great pizza dough too!

  4. December 10, 2010 9:37 am

    thanks Dear!!

  5. December 10, 2010 9:39 am

    O how wonderful! I agree that breakmaking is an art, and the more practice one has, the better the result. One learns what is necessary for the dough to develope properly, but even duds are worth eating.

    • December 10, 2010 10:13 am

      So true, Melody!! I’ve been known to cut my duds in cubes and call them croutons!

      Are we still talking bread, or art? Could be either one! 🙂

  6. December 10, 2010 5:49 pm

    Homemade bread is such a delight when we take time to make it. (Just saw you over at Terrill’s Creative Potager blog…nice to visit your blog!)

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