When we think of decorating foods, we usually think of sweets. Pastries or cakes with ornate decorations are more the norm than bread. When we think about bread, we don’t generally think about turning into an artistic expression. In stores, shelves are full of different types of bread. They offer a low-cost, time-saving way of having bread at home. However, what most people don’t realize is that bread is one of the easiest things to make.
If you decide to make an artsy bread, you can find my dough recipe at the bottom of the page.
For sweets, it’s easy. You simply bake the cake, spread some cream on the top or cover it with marzipan, then add the decorations and put it in the fridge. It stays together easily since you can decorate it after it’s baked. But if you want to use your creativity, you don’t have to think only in terms of sweets, but also in terms of creating beautiful bread art. The biggest difference is that you just have to decorate it before you bake. Not after.
There are a lot of choices to use for making bread art.
What can you use to decorate your bread?
- Vegetables: red/yellow/green peppers, red/white onions, carrots, radishes, green/yellow zucchinis, celery, garlic, and more
- Fruits: green/black olives, tomatoes, peas, and so on
- Different kind of seeds such as black seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and others
- Spices like parsley, rosemary and dill
- Cooked ground meat
- Different types and colors of cheeses
Sky-high flower garden
One type of bread art you can make is the Sky-High Flower Garden. Here, I made it circular, just like a pizza. There is a sun in the center with flowers encircling it all around. The cooked ground meat was perfect for the earth, because after it gets baked, it looks very similar to dirt.
I placed two longer twigs of rosemary, which gave me the base, representing the trunks of trees. Then, I made different types of flowers from tomatoes, red onions, carrots, almonds and radishes. From parsley, celery leaves and dill, I filled the empty spaces, also adding a butterfly that I made from almonds and rosemary.
The sun was made from yellow peppers, carrots and yellow squash.
As you can see from the before and after pictures, the radish and the carrot slices did shrink a bit, but the tomatoes, yellow pepper and red onions held together better. And the seeds stayed precisely the same to how they were before the bread was bakes. The green elements turned a little darker. It’s better to use dried oregano, so its shape won’t change. And also, you can easily stick it into the dough.
Try to push the decor into the dough a little, or wet the surface with a bit of olive oil so that it stays in place nicely. You don’t have to rush, but try to make your bread arts as fast as you can because it’s not good if it’s stays out in a warmer place. That’s why it’s an advantage if you have a plan already before you start creating your artsy bread.
For Kids, Make It More Exciting…
When you’re creating bread art, it doesn’t always have to be the ordinary flower type of art decor. When we were making pizzas at home, my son told me that he wants a fast car-shaped pizza, so why not? His favorite color now is gold, so we made it extra-cheesy.
If your kid likes salty snacks better, or you just don’t want your kid to have sugar-shock from an overindulgence in sweets, this idea is perfect for you. You can make it in any kind of shape that your kid would adore, like Mickey or Minnie Mouse head, a butterfly, and others.
Use healthy vegetables to “color” it! My kids demolished it for dinner, and it was so much more delicious because of the car shape. 🙂
To form the base, it’s not that easy if you use just a knife, but it’s not impossible, it’ll take a little longer. Use a rolling pizza cutter, so it won’t pull the dough. For the wheels, use a size-matching cup to cut the shapes out.
We tried to make the windows a different color, so we used yellow cheese. But at the end, it didn’t make a difference. For the “gold” contour, I used peeled yellow pepper slices. For the wheels, I used fresh rosemary for the spokes, so it popped up. That’s why it’s better to use dried rosemary so that it stays in place. And don’t forget the antenna!
Abstract Bread Art – “PicaDough”
While I was doing the previous focaccia styled “nice-looking-pizza”, I realized, this feels really like artsy. The painting canvas is your dough. And the paint are the vegetables, or anything else “edible” that you desire to cook with.
So I wanted to make a famous painter’s art. I didn’t have that much time, so I thought about something that would be easier to recreate as bread art. This is how I zeroed in on Pablo Picasso’s drawing, “La China Poblana” that I coined Picadough.
It was a little harder to cut out the form for this artsy bread. I added extra rolled strips of dough for the nose, eyebrows and the line between the dove and the woman, so it gives a little more of a 3D effect.
Next time, I would try to make the dough thinner. If you make a face, the baked dough will look like a slightly wrinkled face. If you wanna share your photos with the world, place it on your cutting board, and take a picture like that.
The lines from your previous cuts will look almost like drawing lines. If you want the toppings to stick better, use a little olive oil.
And my face got a little “sunburned” where the dough was a bit thinner. So maybe it’s better if you make this kind of emptier dough a little bit thicker.
“Print” A Photo
It’s a smaller sized dough, just like a little photo from a photo album. My favorite kind of swing, a small girl playing “with” the tree.
For the ground, I used cooked ground meat and black seed mix. I made the tree look-alike with sunflower seeds and rosemary stems. As you can see, I used rosemary everywhere, so it’s worth getting it if you don’t have any in your kitchen. It’s almost like having a black pencil when drawing.
Paint On Your Biggest Canvas
If you really want to “paint”, then find your biggest tray and make it really big! Black olives are perfect for recreating the look of rocks. My favorite part was the red onions, so I broke those apart mostly. You can also make ones filled with your favorite veggies or fruits in it.
I think by now, if you read the post, I don’t have much more to tell you aside from the fact that you can truly use your creativity to make art! Just be careful, it might be too nice to eat, and you might even want to hang it on your wall. 🙂
- 500 grams (2.1 cups) white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tablespoon of (sea) salt
- 325 ml (1.3 cups) of lukewarm water
- 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 package of dried yeast (7 gramm)
- 2 tablespoons of (extra virgin) olive oil
- Mix the lukewarm water with sugar, then with the yeast and oil, then wait a few minutes until the top part rises.
- While the yeast is foaming, place the flour into a large bowl and mix the salt in. Make a hole in the middle with a fork.
- Add the foamy yeast-water mix slowly to the well in the middle, and mix it with a fork as you go.
- When the ingredients come together, spread some flour on your hands, and start to knead it for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft.
- Dust the dough with a little bit of flour, and leave it in a large bowl for about 1 hour, until the size doubles. Don’t forget to cover it with a (wet) towel, and try to put it in a warmer place.
- After the dough rises, put it on a wood board or a counter top, that has flour on it, and kneed it a little more, so the air bubbles come out.
- If you want the dough to be thicker, then divide it in half. If you want it to be thinner, then divide it into 3 sections. If you want to save it for later, put it in the freezer. If you think you’ll use it the next few days, keep it in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C), while you form the shape that you want from the dough. Oil the bottom of the tray, or use a baking sheet. Before you start to decorate, it’s better if it’s in the tray already, so you don’t have to move it around with the decorations on it before it bakes.
- Bake for about 15 minutes. It depends from the thickness of your dough. Bake it until it’s golden-brown on top. If the dough is very thin, then 10 minutes can be enough.