Embellishment as Endurance
Ziba Rajabi

Video Performance by Ziba Rajabi

At the beginning of Pandemic and lockdown, baking became a form of entertainment for people. Everyone started experimenting with baking, creating sourdough starters, and trying different forms of pastry and bread. On the other hand, here in the US and in many other places in the world, we observed people in breadlines waiting to get some food just to survive. while the food was a form of entertainment for some people, for the less privileged ones it was a basic survival need to which some even didn't have access.

In this project Ziba wanted to  show both aspects of baking: entertainment and survival. She baked bread, decorate it as a form of visual expression, and then, took it to the community and shared it with people in need.

Recipe :

All-purpose flour 500 g
Water 300 g
Olive oil 60 g + 30g
Salt  3g + 3g
Yeast 3g
Sugar 3g
Dill weed, spring onion, cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic cloves, pitted olives for decoration

Two large bowls
Backing sheet
Parchment paper

-Mix the flour, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and create a volcano from the dry mix.
-Mix half of the salt into 250 g's of the water and gently add to the volcano center.

-Add 60g's of the oil to the center of the volcano as well. With a fork, gently mix the liquid.

-Once in a while, scrape the sides of the flour volcano and mix it well into the liquid.

-Continue until the dough is formed. If a large part of the dry mix is still dry, add the remaining water, two tablespoons at a time, and knead by hand until everything is incorporated into a very soft and pliable dough. Try not to overwork the dough.

-Oil up a clean large bowl and place the dough in it. Turn it around, so all the surface is covered in a thin film of oil. Cover, and let it rise for 6-24 hours. Deflate the dough every few hours and fold it onto is self.

-Place the oven tray on the oven's second-highest level—Preheat the oven to 200C or 425F.

-Cut the parchment paper to your baking sheet's dimensions so that the bottom and sides are covered.

-Gently place the dough in the well-oiled paper-lined baking sheet. With oiled fingertips, spread the dough to all corners of the baking sheet.

-Sprinkle the rest of the olive oil on the surface and let the covered dough rest for 30 more minutes.

-Mix a large pinch of salt in 30g of water into a brine.

-Decorate dough with herbs and vegetables.

-Gently pour the brine solution gently onto the dough.

-Place the baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes.

-Check the bread every 5-10 minutes after that. When the surface is golden brown, and remove it from the oven.

-It is optional to splash some more olive oil and coarse grain salt on top.

-Remove from sheet and let it cool for 30 minutes.

-Cut into squares and enjoy it with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dry herbs mix.