Conducting experimental bread-making classes during the thesis show at the Meyerhoff Gallery gave me opportunity to refine hands-on events even more. Small, three- or four-person classes met several times a day in the gallery. 5–10 minutes intervals spaced in between longer periods of time illustrated to the participants that nature (yeast and time) is doing most of the work in bread-making. First, time relaxes the dough, making it elastic, and later, during the fermentation, time leavens dough slowly. The bread becomes rich in flavor and nutrients, and the process does not require the use of electricity to power speed mixers or aerators. There are no additives or preservatives. The ingredients are whole and unbleached wheat flours, water, salt, and yeast. The process requires only human touch, time, and any home oven. Classes in the gallery engaged participants and occasional viewers.
View of the exhibition
Since this particular event was conducted in a gallery, I created a special outlet for participants to showcase their “first loaves.” Makers were asked to bring back one slice to be displayed in a special vitrine, along with a handwritten narrative about the experience.
“She baked me,” and “My dad ate all the bread,” were two of the comments. The display was filled with an assortment of slices. Every slice was a unique cross-section of the bread, and the bread slices, together with the written comments, sketched portraits of the makers.