Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rising to the Challenge: Bread Sculpture 2009

For Slow Food's big weekend in San Francisco last year, the bakers at the San Francisco Baking Institute created the gigantic bread snail you can see here. This year they outdid themselves by recreating out of bread for the SF Chefs event not only the Golden Gate Bridge but the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties, the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the crabs for which San Francisco's seafood restaurants are justly famous!
According to the SFBI team that designed and created the sculpture this year...
from left to right, Justine Maiorino, Juliette Leichuk, Michel Suas, Valerie Rogers, Sydnee Kennedy, Safa Hamzé, Rocio Villanueva, Greg Mindel, Laura Cronin, Frank Sally, Miyuki Togi
...1,053 pounds of live fermented bread dough went into its making. Three mega miches were baked that were so heavy (660 pounds total)...
...that a forklift was required to load and unload them. Two hundred bagels (38 pounds of dough) and 158 breadsticks (60 pounds) were used to make the bridge suspension cables.
Amber waves of baguettes recreated the swell of the Pacific...
...while 46 golden crabs (66 pounds) (sorry! no picture of them!), 8 sheathes of wheat (106 pounds) and a grape vine (18 pounds) hung with plump clusters of grapes suggested the vibrant food and wine culture of the Bay Area.
The flowers, leaves and grapes as well as the bridge panels and the fence were made of decorative dough (162 pounds) colored with paprika, beet powder, spinach powder and turmeric.
In addition, thirty miches (105 pounds) were baked to decorate the sculpture and illustrate the rich bread tradition of the San Francisco area.
"The hardest part was calculating the structure of the largest possible loaf that could hold its own weight when standing on its edge, without it getting stuck in the oven during the bake", says the team.
The sculpture - which took 1 1/2 week to bake and build, planning and test bakes not included - was created at SFBI, then disassembled, loaded onto a flat bed truck...
...driven to Union Square, and reassembled on site.
SFBI President, Michel Suas, with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom


  1. MC, that is a great write-up, very interesting to read. shiao-ping

  2. Amazing! I love the vine, the giant miche and the beautiful stencilled breads! By the way, I'm a member of Slow Food here.

  3. Shiao-Ping and Miriam, thank you for visiting. I too think that this bread sculpture is amazing! Shiao-Ping, are you all caught up with your sleep and fully back on Australian time?
    Miriam, don't you love it that artisan bread is the epitome of slow food? Were you at the big weekend in SF last year?

  4. Very cool, I was told about the whole adventure, sorry I missed it!
    Hello Shiao-Ping!!

    Cheers, and happy baking!

  5. MC, Thanks for sharing these photos and the story!

    I'm still trying to track down some photos of the crabs and will pass them along as soon asap.


  6. We miss you Hamze!
    Class of 2014, the last grade you ever taught math too...:(



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