Sunday, March 20, 2011

Baked brain, anyone?

Last year I wrote about a bakery in Thailand that produces bread in the form of heads, limbs and other body parts. Now it seems that a lady in Texas has outdone them! She calls her baking project 'Awful Offal'.

Once I chose the specific organs I wanted to recreate, I did a little research. Since I wanted the organs to look realistic, I needed some idea of how big to make them and what the overall shape should be. If it's a large organ, I recommend creating a basic armature out of aluminum foil, rolling out the dough to about 1/2" thickness and covering the armature with the dough and then adding detail. If you make a large organ out of a solid piece of the dough, it'll take much longer than necessary for it to dry out in the oven.

To better define the organs, I used whatever modeling tools I had on hand (I used a knitting needle and an embroidery hook- most action they'll get all year!) I also created coils to make the veins and aorta on the heart. Some of the pieces were difficult to attach, so I dampened the dough with a tiny bit of water to help the pieces adhere.

I made as many organs as I needed to fill the platter I bought. Organs like the liver and kidneys are pretty easy to replicate and all the naturally occuring cracks in the salt dough actually help with the realism. However, organs like the heart and brain are a little more complex and needed some time finessing. It was a challenge, but it was totally worth the effort. (I imagined Dr. House looking over my shoulder and critiquing my work the whole time.)

There's more at the link, including detailed instructions (or should that be 'a detailed recipe'?). Entertaining reading, if a little gruesome for my taste! It might be worth bookmarking the article for use next Halloween.


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