One of the things that piqued my interest when I first started baking bread on a regular basis was the notion that bread could be used as decoration only. I had seen a couple of blogs and books that talked about making baskets, bread boxes, and other things from bread. I decided to attempt this for Thanksgiving. I thought a cornucopia would be an interesting centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table. Earlier in the week, I started the process of making a cornucopia. The first attempt was okay and was promptly sent to my daughter’s preschool to use in their Thanksgiving celebration. The second attempt turned out much better and will be used on the table (once I figure out what to stuff it with; perhaps the bread). I’ll give the recipe and a few hints, but the bulk of the instructions can be found at the Wild Yeast Blog post about making a cornucopia.
There are a few different ways to make this. You can roll long, thin ropes of dough and wrap it around the form (either cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil or chicken wire, if you’re feeling especially adventurous) or you can weave a large rectangle of dough, wrap it around the form and cut it to fit. This year, I decided to do the former. Important things to consider: the size of your oven in relation to the size of the cornucopia, gaps between the ropes on the form (this can cause weakness in the cornucopia, causing it to break), and internal support of the poster board (shoving parchment paper helps keep it stable as there is a fair amount of weight present, which can cause deformation at the opening).
Light Yeasted Decorative Dough (From Bread: A Baker’s Book of Technique and Recipes)
- 2 lb, 3.2 oz bread flour
- 1.75 oz milk powder
- 1.6 oz Sugar
- 0.5 oz Salt
- 1.75 oz Softened butter
- 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 lb, 3.35 oz water
- Using dough hook, mix ingredients at low speed for 3 minutes. You may need to add a little bit of water to incorporate the last little bit of flour at the bottom of the bowl.
- Knead on 2nd speed setting for 3 minutes. The dough will be rather stiff.
- Let rest for 15 minutes, covered.
That’s it for the making of the dough. Again, go to the Wild Yeast Blog for instructions on how to make the cornucopia. The only thing I did differently was to braid the bread on the opening instead of twist it (I also didn’t use the dark dough on the opening). You should be able to keep this for two years, just keep it away from moisture…