Studio Olafur Eliasson. Food Pigments on Studio Sourdough. Photo: Studio Olafur Eliasson

Embolden your breakfast table like an artist

Renowned artists share their recipes in our new book, The Kitchen Studio, including this tasty slice of sourdough from Olafur Eliasson that looks a lot like one of his works

If you’ve always suspected that art and food make for a great pairing, then you should really get The Kitchen Studio. In this new book, we’ve collected together 100 recipes from world famous artists, including Vik Muniz, Kiki Smith, Kehinde Wiley and Danh Vo.

On most pages, the artist has not only shared the details of their dish, but also offered a little background as to why they chose it, and they've provided a fun, engaging visusal depiction of the recipe too.

A few have contributed traditional recipes; others have put in something they like from a favoured cookbook; and in a few cases the artist has worked food deep into their daily practice, to such a point, it’s hard to tell where the kitchen ends, and the studio begins.

Olafur Eliasson is such an artist. His studio in Berlin has its own dedicated kitchen team, who create climate-conscious food, and sometimes pass the leftovers on to the artist. “They are involved in experiments that bring excitement to the studio work, such as turning vegetables into pigments for a new series of ecologically infused watercolours,” explains Eliasson in the new book.


Olafur Eliasson
Olafur Eliasson


To prove his point, Eliasson’s studio created a multicoloured circular piece of sourdough dressed with these pigments, which looks more than a little like the artist’s circular Colour Experiment works.

To make his studio’s sourdough, you’ll need 100g of rye flour, 500g of strong white bread flour, 125g wholegrain spelt flour, 50g of sourdough starter, as well as 18g of salt, some water, and quite a bit of time.

On day one of this three day recipe you feed your sourdough. In a bowl, mix the starter with the rye flour and 100ml warm water. The idea is to make enough for the recipe while keeping some aside as your starter for next time.

Divide the resulting dough into two portions: 100g and 150g. Use the 100g portion for the recipe and let it rise in a bowl covered with a clean dish towel at room temperature for approximately 12 hours (maybe less in the summer and more in the winter).

Put the remaining 150g portion into a jar with a lid. Both portions should double in size. Use the 100g portion for baking the next day. Keep the 150g portion in the jar in the refrigerator for next time.

On day two mix that 100g starter with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl for about 8 minutes. Cover your bowl with an airtight lid and let it rest for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, it’s time to begin folding the dough. At this stage, you will work in the bowl. Dip your hands in warm water, grab the underside of the dough, stretch it and fold it back over itself. Rotate your bowl one-quarter turn and repeat 3–4 times. Repeat this every 30 minutes, 3 times.

Then flour your work counter. Now take the dough out of your bowl: slip a spatula under the dough and flip it onto the floured counter. Pull the bottom of the dough up to fold into one third of the round. Pull each side and fold over the centre to elongate the dough vertically. Fold the top down to the centre and then fold the bottom up over the top fold-down, leaving the seam underneath. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, seam-side down, so that the seam seals. Roll the dough into a ball, turn and put it upside-down in a well-floured proving basket (or in a sieve lined with a clean, well-floured dish towel). Overnight, keeping the dough in the basket, let the dough rest in the fridge.


The Kitchen Studio
The Kitchen Studio


Finally, on day three preheat the oven to 250°C (480ºF). Place an ovenproof pot (with the lid on) in the oven to heat and, when fully heated, carefully place the pot on a heat-proof surface, take the lid off, carefully flip your bread upside-down into the pot and cut your signature into the dough using the tip of a sharp knife (to allow the bread to rise properly).

 Put the lid back on and place the pot in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and let the bread bake for another 10 minutes. If you keep the high temperature, the crust will turn dark brown. If you lower the heat a bit, the crust will be lighter. Take your bread out of the oven, remove it from the pot right away and place it on a cooling rack. For a more detailed version of this recipe, as well as much more besides, order a copy of The Kitchen Studio here.