I recently thought I'd get a few loaves of faux bread to put in my mini German "fresh bread" cart but was a little disappointed in what I saw available, and even more disappointed in that FAKE bread cost more than the real deal. I see pretty bread in the market all the time and so I decided I'd just try and dry my own.
I was inspired to create my own centerpiece after coming across the simple beauty of these two images. 5 B's…Bread, Bag, Board and Baskets = Beauty.
To make your own dried bread, simply place your chosen bread on an oven rack with the oven set to between 175 and 200 degrees Farenheit. Dry the bread for at least two hours. I purchased pretzel sticks for two reasons…they were pretty (that's very important) and were the correct size ratio for the cart and bunny rabbit I am displaying them in.
Since the pretzels are dense, I dried them for an additional two or three hours to be sure they were dried through. They browned up a bit but look good all the same. Once out of the oven, I allowed them to cool on cooling racks overnight. The appearance of dried bread is almost that of fresh, but of course it's going to be hard and probably somewhat brittle.
After making sure your bread is dried through you'll want to apply a protective coating so that no moisture can get back in…as in the moisture that will come from a few pesky nieces, nephews, kids (and adults) mouth's when they inevitably attempt to take a bite, which I assure you, is going to happen at my house. That's the real reason I use an ample coating of non yellowing, clear protective finish because I just can't wait to 'see' how they think this bread tastes. hehe
So, next you'll want to lay the dried bread onto a non stick surface like wax paper, etc and apply a coat of the sealant and allow it to dry. Flip the bread over and coat the back side allowing it to dry. Repeat the process 3 or 4 times so the loaves are fully coated. Allow the coating to cure for a day or so.
Next, it's the fun part. Well, almost…but this next step is fast that you get to the fun part in no time.
Grab a paper bag, any old paper bag will do. I used a simple brown paper lunch bag.
I wadded the bag up in my hand like a piece of trash and then smoothed it out and rolled down the edges. I put a few plastic bags as cushioning in the bottom of the bag and to give my bread loaves a little height.
If you want a pop of color or a different look, use a pretty checkered cloth, bandana, piece of lace or a French ticking stripe napkin to wrap your bread loaves or sticks in. You could even tie a pretty piece of lace or ribbon around them.
It's time to decorate with my Frische (well, it used to be anyway) Brotchen. I realize I could probably use a few more loaves in my cart, but someone named Trevor Shawn Roberts ate some of them before I got a chance to dry them out! I just hope that he takes a big ole bite now.
This is the fun part.
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