Local foods store wants to feature bread in store window. How do you preserve bread for a display? Dry it in a low oven? Use a spray on shellac to keep it looking good? Never encountered this request before. Thanks
How to Make Storefront Display of Bread
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How long do they want the display to be in the window? It might be possible just to bake it low and slow.
There was a thread on the OBC about how they do 'competition' bread showpieces, as I recall they use a non-edible dough similar to the ones used for making baskets made from bread. (The ingredients are all edible, but the proportions would make it unpalatable, and it has no yeast in it, so it'd be hard as a rock.) Then they're baked for a long time at a lower temperature.
This isn't the site that was linked to in that thread, but it does have a recipe for competition showpiece bread:
It has you air dry the bread then bake it at 200 degrees until firm.
I don't know if you can use proper bread, glazed with varnish. What I do know is that it is often done with Salt Dough. Salt Dough is designed for modelling, flour, salt, water and sometimes a tiny amount of oil. There are plenty of recipes on the internet. It is then dried out in a low oven for hours, a large piece would take a very long time. When cold it is then painted if wished and sealed with varnish. I have a small fruit wreath with a mouse on it that I made over 10 years ago, it used to be on my kitchen wall.
Alternatively, there are companies that specialise in fake baked goods that are VERY realistic!
My mother used to make salt dough for us, in the days before PlayDoh. It often cracked when baking, maybe we just weren't doing it right.
It has to be baked VERY slowly or yes, it will crack.
If you search DEAD DOUGH on you tube, you will find Ciril Hitz videos making a bread show piece among other things.
Here is a link to a discussion with someone who studied under Cyril Hitz, and there are some beautiful display breads and recipes for what they used for them.
A good place to start.
I have watched that Dead Dough video. That's where you want to go.
I have my suspicion that making something look like a loaf of bread using dead dough may be harder than it sounds, kind of like doing marzipan fruit.
i'm thinking that because this will be used in a bakery setting, the person would have to dust it weekly, etc. to keep it looking "fresh". So the time invested in making special salt dough or whatever will still result in work to refresh the display. Plus, if there's any sun in the window, no matter what you do, the display would fade. I can't see why they couldn't just refresh the display by baking a few extra loaves weekly. bread left out will harden and dry before it molds. mold typically comes from a moist environment (ie. in a plastic bag)
We used to have a bakery display window that we would have to re-stock every now and again. What a pain in the butt. We would forget, and then the window would end up looking like crap. We're much happier now as we oriented our bakery counter so it is near the window, so it kills two birds with one stone...customers can always see what's fresh, and we don't have to remember to swap out the display.
I actually went to Johnson & Wales. I have seen dead dough and it's not too hard, to work with, but it is something you need to pay attention to.
I'm not very artistic, my concerns would be:
1. Something as big as a standard loaf of bread would take a LOT of dead dough, and there may be issues getting it to remain shaped properly.
2. I remember my mother making dead dough for us to play with as kids. Baking it has to be done slowly or it cracks.
3. I don't know that it would LOOK like a real loaf of bread, it might need to be painted.