Baking Futures addresses the value of communal, practical doing within both professional practice and private everyday life. It combines the collective construction of a clay fire baking oven with the experience of preparing a simple meal from primary materials, centered around some “real” sourdough. The clay construction and food preparation are conducted in a slow, conscious and performative way alongside conversations around everyday rituals and practices.

As an open construction site and food laboratory taking place parallel to the Making Futures School, part of Bauhaus+ action research project by Universität der Künste Berlin and raumlabor, the clay and dough lab invites participants to take constructive breaks to help and learn, share and relax, digest and ferment.

The fireplace has been at the centre of communication and exchange ever since humans first started gathering, cooking and sharing food around it. Yet nowadays, it has been widely abandoned, hidden or transformed within fast-paced contemporary lifestyles. Beyond the primary functions of feeding hungry stomachs and providing heat, its value ranges from the ability to connect people and support constructive dialogue, to providing a sensual and archaic experience of material transformation.

Today, such values are substituted by global and industrial market offering, obscuring ones more basic needs such as simple and healthy nutrition behind artificially planted cravings which continuously change alongside global trends. Bread constitutes a basic but diversified staple of most culture’s culinary traditions but is today one of the most underrated and exploited products on the market.

As reaction, we will perform a daily, communal ritual feeding of a sour dough as a gesture of daily appreciation, care and recreation, both physically and mentally. Habits of daily provision, preparation and consumption of food leading to investigations about general productive and consumptive behavior will be discussed in an experimental and open way. By conducting simple and slow steps in a performative way we want to unfold their inherent potential and activate the social fireplace in the middle of Berlin’s commercial City centre.

As a result, alongside different forms of material and immaterial creations during the process, the bread oven will be used for a ceremonial inauguration, feeding participants and friends with various breads each with their own stories and experiences.

Haus der Statistik / Alexanderplatz Berlin / 2019


/ rammed earth / dt.: Stampflehm / pisè de terre / mother earth (land fill, sitt, sand, stones, water) / old building technique / sustainable material / available almost everywhere / few instruments or materials needed / labour intensive production / good and healthy living environment / environment-friendly breathable material

Earthen architecture has been traditionally built almost everywhere in the world. It is one of the oldest construction techniques. About a third of the world’s population still lives in earthen buildings. Earth is a simple, economic, abundant material which is generally easy to use. Earth construction has also been developed towards composite building techniques, e.g. the German „Fachwerkhaus“. Being open for diffusion, earth contributes particular healthy indoor climate qualities.

After industrialisation Earth, in comparison with new modern materials, seemed to be poor and low quality resource. It has therefore, subsequently been underrated and replaced in favor of industrially developed building and living conditions and resources, completely disregarding its excellent material properties. However, our current perception of Earth as a building materials is slowly changing. Yet for the broader building industry, it is still an unfamiliar, incalculable, labor-intensive construction method and therefor too expensive – not in terms of material costs, but rather of the labor costs which always make up far more of the building costs. In this sense it could be discussed as a kind of democratic building technique.

The genius loci relates to where the material comes from, what it is supplemented with, and to the building site itself. In addition, the process of the handmade construction of the builder creates a connection to the final space. Working with raw earth triggers a certain sensitive side – there is a beauty in working with clay and mud. It is not abstruse to acknowledge that we are all part of this world – coming from it and going back into it – somehow being connected.

Building with clay is mostly done by hand, working in a rather small scale, within groups of people living in local proximity. In principle it is simple and can be done by amateurs without extensive knowledge or tools, although expertise is required when building in certain domains or with demanding qualities. Earth construction requires experience and sensitivity.

In many cultures, people of the village naturally meet in order to complete a building together. In some cultures the building process is accompanied and supported by singing and dancing. The rhythm, the text or pattern can support the building process and is creating a special feeling of togetherness. Building with clay is connecting us with the material of the very ground below us, the ground we build upon, the ground connecting and rooting us. It requires not much more than simple, local, available materials but indeed a lot of manual effort and love – it is not complicated – it honors the place we inhabit. In our context, Alexanderplatz is becoming „Alles Anders Platz“ – Where do we come from and where do we go, in regards to land, history, politics, attitudes, resources and environment?

The building process in a collective construction brings along intangible experiences, cultural values and profound synergies. Our approach tries to reflect on the inherent intelligence of the matter as well as on what we contribute by being in a state of awareness, skill, interconnection, knowledge and intuition.


/ sourdough / leaven / it.: pasta madre (mother dough) / ger.: Sauerteig
/ flour (wheat/rye/spelt…), water, different bacteria
/ sourdough is a natural leavening agent for baking
/ good sour taste / dense or loose, hard or soft consistency
/ porous structure

Sourdough seems to be a natural wonder: it will arise on its own when one simply mixes equal parts flour and water, keeps the mixture in a jar at a warm place and feeds it every day with the same ingredients. After short time the mixture comes alive, bubbles and grows – take care that it doesnít leave its container!

So the dough is by then containing a number of microorganisms. There are two different kinds: lactobacillus and yeasts. Both have different duties for the dough: the lactobacillus bacteria are responsible for the specific, slightly sour taste and the yeasts make the dough rise well.

The lactobacillus bacteria are transforming the sugar contained in the flour into lactic acid and acetic acid. The lactic acid is producing a more mild taste, the acetic acid a more acid taste. The bacteria producing acetic acid like it colder (20-25∞C) than the other ones so the dough should be ideally kept at 28-30∞C.

The yeasts are splitting the sugar into carbon dioxide which is producing the bubbles, and a small amount of alcohol which is then transformed into acetic acid. The yeasts are thereby leavening the dough, creating the nice volume and porous consistency.

Where do all these bacteria and yeasts come from?
They are actually occurring everywhere, inside the flour, on our hands, in the air – everywhere. Thatís why no dough is like the other, it always reacts on the microorganism of your  specific surrounding. Trying to move your sourdough to another city and repeat the exactly same bread and taste wonít work quiet well!

So sourdough is easy and available. The only ingredients needed are water and flour.
But sourdough is complicated as well – you have to take care of it, every day. If you donít feed it, it will go bad and ìdieî.

Do we have the capacities for simple, easy, cheap and good, healthy processes in our lives? Do we care where our (grocery) products come from and how, by whom and under which circumstances they have been produced? How much thoughts and energies do we invest into what is feeding our bodies every day?
Or do we leave this competence to companies shipping the ingredients twice around the globe before we in-corporate them?
Are we (made from) what we eat?


/communal oven /dt.: Dorfbackofen /fr.: four banal /central communal fire oven for baking bread, cakes etc. /usually procured by a fournier (oven master) and maintained by the inhabitants /usually consisting of a clay oven core, a brick base and a wooden roof / ev. storing place for breads, tools etc.

All over the world, in small villages a social meeting point used to be the common village oven (we examined different typologies in german, italian, french and british countrysides). Depending on climate, topography and agricultural availabilities nearby, there are different types of oven houses suitable for baking, drying or smoking and eventually also providing a warm place for meeting during cold times.

Inhabitants used to prepare their bread loaves and bring them to the communal oven in order to bake them together with others. Costs for construction, maintainance and handling was either optional, shared or compulsory.

Besides fulfilling practical benefits of splitting energy and resource, this procedure would foster and cultivate a social network of agreement and dialogue within the close living environment of the neighbourhood.
And still today, during a party, we always meet in the kitchen – the fireplace, the place of processing and transformation, the place of conversation and exchange, without being purpose other than sharing the preparation and consumption of a warm meal.

Food preparation is a social act.
There are many hands involved in the preparation of one single meal from the field to our dining table. Once seeing and understanding the rhythms and logics of our grocery components, regional and seasonal food products and shared efforts seem to become more reasonable ways to go on towards a healthy and sustainable future for us and the planet.

Projects like a shared village oven in Berlinís commercial centre (Alexanderplatz) try to contribute this change of perception alongside other engaged initiatives and thereby want to propose counter-possibilities to low quality and irresponsible consumerist realities all around the place.
Lets bake the future together!


/never b(re)ak(e) your bread alone! /simple ingredients: flour, water, love and care /shared by all people /representative for all food

Bread is a culinary staple shared by almost all cultures cooking traditions.
At the same time, the actual reality of the largest part of bread production is drawing a disturbing image just as several other food scandals (milk production, intensive mass animal farming, tomato harvest, palm oil etc.).

Bread is a basic food component.
The ingredients are simple and available everywhere. However they are shipped around the world for different processing units before being sold in our supermarkets, causing a series of social, environmantal, economical and political problems.

Bread is a social food component!
Nobody eats bread alone. Its design has evolved following a complex system of logical reasons into a shape and size suitable to be shared by a small group of people.

Up until relatively recently, did almost nobody cook alone. The act of cooking consists of the combination of many complex procedures, that used to be understandable and visible as they used to be closely related to local and seasonal preconditions, specifications and availabilities. Every component of a meal is part of a specific material cycle.

Eating is a precious act.
We are what we eat. We incorporate the food, we put it into our bodies. We are made from the materials that our bodies convert from the food we eat. Do we care what kind of materials we are consisting of and how their formation influences the world we lived in?

We love bread and we treat it as a representative for food in general.


/the fireplace as a meetingpoint
/fire as a processor
/fire as an archaic and sensual experience

Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. (wikipedia)


/names /description /ingredients /shape /characteristics



/flute / pain / ficelle / tiers / boule / b‚tard
/ simple white french bread
/white wheat flour, sour dough, yeast, salt, water
/ long stick with diagonal cuts, coarsely structured / high percentage of crunchy crust, easy to break and eat, simple taste, good for every occasion



/ ciabatta (it.) = pantoffel / slippers
/ simple white italian bread
/ white wheat flour, eventually partly or entirely durum wheat, sour dough, yeast, salt, water, olive oil / oval or rectangular low loaf with diagonal cuts / rough coarse structure, crunchy surface, simple but strong taste, good for antipasti or cheese



/brown bread, îgrey breadî, rye bread (dt.: Schwarzbrot), mix bread (dt.: Mischbrot), ancestral bread (dt.: Urbrot), after-work bread (dt.: Feierabendbrot) …
/ wheat and rye flour or bruised grain, sourdough, water, salt, ev. seasoning such as fennel, kummel, coriander, anise
/ round or oval large loaf ev. with cross or diagonal  cut or central ring surface from mold
/ strong taste, bit of sour, fine structure, slightly damp consistency, dark, tasty crust



/ rye bread, black bread, german bread
/ typical dark bread from Westphalia in Germany, containing full rye grain which is soaked in water and baked over a long period (min. 16 hrs.) on low temperature, evoking a specific process between sugar and enzymes inside the dough
/ rye grain and groat, water, salt
/ tin loaf (Kastenbrot) / sweet and juicy taste, very compact and wet consistency, can be stored over a long time, sweet taste



/ fugassa, schiacciata, crescentina
/ traditional flatbread from north italy, originally from Genova / flour, water, yeast, salt, olive oil
/ specific flat shape with finger wholes filled with olive oil and sea salt; ev. addition of fresh herbs (salvia, rosemary)
/ good as a snack, sandwich or appetizer; alone or with parmesan, prosciutto, tomatoes etc.



/ turkish: Pide, iranian: Nan-e Barbari
/ simple, soft flat bread known from greece to middle east / flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt, ev. sesame or black cumin
/ flat, round bread; small thin or large thick version / soft, fluffy, simple; slightly sweet taste; side dish for almost all dishes, originally fresh baken at any occasion and daytime.



/ flat, dry, hard, crunchy bread
/ typical speciality from south tyrol area
/ rye flour, sour dough, salt, kummel, fennel seed, anise, schabzigerklee (south tyrol herb), coriander seed
/ thin, flat, hard, round discs
/ strong taste, crunchy,  only crust, very hard, makes sound while eating, long durability; traditionally eaten with bacon and cheese; varying in taste and shape regionally



/ paarl, vintschgauer, vinschgerle
/ typical tasty bread from south tyrol
/ rye flour, wheat flour, sour dough, kummel, fennel, cumin seeds, Schabzigerklee (curry taste)
/ small round flat bread, typically growen together as a pair
/ spicy taste, dense structure, slightly hard, good with butter and ham, strong cheese or honey



/ chestnut potato bread
/ bread speciality from north italian lunigiana area
/wheat flour, chestnut flour, potatoes, sour dough, yeast, water, salt
/ simple, round, smaller loaf
/ specific dry taste, slightly sweet, strong, brown color, dense structure



/ similar: brioche, milkbread, pannettone …
/ sweet bread for breakfast or coffe & cake
/ flour, butter, egg, shugar, milk, yeast, rasins, salt
/ plaited queue from three threads
/ sweet, smooth, soft taste and texture; taste and smell of fresh yeast; best fresh and warm from the oven



/ special bread from jewish essener group, made from germinated grain.
/ germinated grain, flour, sour dough, salt
/ essenerbrot is knowen to be rich of nutritiants compared to other bread; baked at a low temperature preserving high content of vitamins and minerals generated during germination of the grain
/ mild, sour, nutty taste; grainy, humid consistency



/ crispbread, dt.: Knäckebrot, swedish: knäcka crack
/ dry, crispy bread
/ rye flour, water, sourdough, salt
/ thin round flat bread with a whole in the middle
/ baked hot and dried, contains almost no water; contains high amount of fibre; can be stored well;



/pretzel, brezn; from lat. brachium: arms
/south german symmetrically shaped salty bread
/flour, yeast, salt, malt, caustic soda
/ formerly known as a dish for the period of fasting; oldest knowen figure bread; famous in all the world
/ strong salty taste, with butter or obazda cheese



/ beigl, jiddisch: bejgl or bajgl, polish: bajgiel
/ bread product originating in the Jewish communities of Poland
/ flour, water, yeast, salt
/ small round bread with a whole in the middle
/ the shape is enlarging the surface of the pastry; it is cooked in water before baking; the whole is fastening cooking time / dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior / roll-with-a-hole design is hundreds of years old / hole could be used to thread string through groups of bagels /easier handling and transportation /more appealing seller displays


/ bun, dt.: Brötchen, Semmeln, Wecke
/ typical Berliner small round bun with broken surface
/ flour, yeast, water, salt
/ small round bun with cut surface
/ good for breakfast or sandwich; cannot be stored long, best when eaten fresh



/wafer /latin: hostia, sacrificial victim/ host /altar bread/ communion bread / seal oblate
/very thin round piece of unleavened bread
/water, flour, starch
/boring taste / can be used to seal documents / bread used in the christian ritual of the eucharist / also referred to as the Lordís Supper or Holy Communion / along with sacramental wine, it is one of two ìelementsî of the eucharist / the bread is changed into the body of christ.


BAKING FUTURES I is a project developed during an artist residency at MAKING FUTURES school in Berlin 2019 by Johanna Dehio und David Moritz. Special thanks to all building, feeding and baking participants and the amazing Making Futures Team!