With (what seems) the entire nation finding a new passion for baking since lockdown began, we’re all beginning to consider ourselves something of a star baker by now.
We started with simple cookies and banana breads before tentatively trying our hand at pizza dough and realising that bread making isn’t nearly as scary as we thought – and now we’ve got loaves coming out of our ears. Maybe you’ve even graduated onto sourdough by now. So if you’ve mastered the art of bread making and are looking for your next challenge, may we introduce you to bread art?
If you ever thought the art of making bread was boring, think again; people are proving that a loaf of bread is the next best thing to a canvas and are getting all kinds of creative with their loaves.
Bread art involves taking any kind of vegetables, herbs, candied fruit or even real edible flowers and arranging them in a pretty pattern or scene on top of your bread, prior to cooking. When you take it out the oven, you’re left with a super pretty (and totally Instagram-ready) loaf of bread that’s also been enhanced with some wonderful flavours – win win!
The new trend, which is sweeping across social media (searching #breadart on Instagram returns over 64,000 posts), is simple, easy to replicate and doesn’t require years of training – just a creative eye and a will to make the prettiest bread out there. The best part is you don’t need to use fancy, expensive ingredients – raid your cupboards and you’ll probably find you have everything you need to create your own stunning loaf that looks almost too good to eat. The more colourful the better – red onions, bell peppers, radishes, tomatoes, olives and fresh herbs all work well.
Any bread recipe will work, but it seems focaccia has proven particularly popular for executing the best bread art thanks to its large, flat surface area.
Just remember that if you want to use real flowers, not all are safe to eat – if picking yours wild, check out the Royal Horticultural Society’s guidelines beforehand and make sure they haven’t been sprayed with toxic chemicals such as pesticides. If you’re unsure of what you’re picking, you can buy ready to use edible flowers from larger supermarkets and online. Edible flowers are also really effective in biscuits, pastries, on top of cakes and even in pasta.
But the best advice is to have fun with your creation! Bread art is a great opportunity to get your creative juices flowing while also making something delicious that you can eat all week (or day).