A Scoopful of Bread: Niels Datema Bread Spoons
I have to admit, I am a bit bread-o-phobic. Not as a bread eater. I eat loads of bread, but as a bread baker. I”ve tried my hand baking a loaf here and there but, sadly I have discovered bread making is not a forte of mine. I’m not discouraged though. As a hopeless bread maker, I was intrigued (and a bit hopeful) to find out about a project Niels Datema designed while studying at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
I thought the round, bubble like shape of his bread spoons were neat. Then when I figured out the spoon set corresponds to the measurements of a bread recipe- I thought- right on! Maybe there is hope for me. Niels is currently on the hunt to find a company to produce them, so his project is not on the market yet. However, if you happen to be passing through Sluis, the south western part of the Netherlands any time soon, if you stop in at Chef Sergio Herman’s 2 Michelin star restaurant, Oud Sluis, you can see Niels’ Bread Spoons in action as serving pieces.
INTERVIEW: Niels Datema, Student, Design Academy Eindhoven
01 Why did you create a set of bread spoons?
I started this project by experimenting with porcelain since this is one of my favorite materials to work with. After much deliberation, I decided on the shape of a spoon but still didn’t know what to do with it; I had made a lot of “spoon-ish” porcelain shapes.
I’ve always had a big interest in baking bread; one evening I started making some bread and immediately made the connection between the porcelain spoon-formed shapes and baking a good loaf of bread. The idea of the Bread Spoons was born.
02 Is it difficult to design a bread spoon?
While I was experimenting, I made the first moulds out of balloon filed with water to get that nice ‘spoon-ish’ shape. Then I transferred the five samples that I liked the most into the computer to give every spoon the perfect volume for each ingredient. I subsequently made a 3D print and ended up with five good models. This enabled me to make the moulds for casting the porcelain. The spoons are made of bone china porcelain, which gives them that beautiful white color.
Photo Source: Niels Datema
03 Are the Bread Spoons decorative or functional?
Most people who fall in love with the bread spoons like their appearance, the aesthetic form and the combination of porcelain and wood. When people discover the spoons actually have functionality for baking bread, they are more enthusiastic. This is exactly what I want to achieve with my products. I’m interested in functional designs and useful products made in a beautiful way. These spoons are a perfect example: A beautiful, sensitive design with the additional functionality for baking bread.
04 Where are you based?
At this moment I’m still based in the Netherlands, in Eindhoven, finishing my studies at the Design Academy. After graduating, I don’t think I’ll stay in Eindhoven but I don’t know where I’ll go. Maybe I’ll stay in the Netherlands but there is also a good possibility I’ll move abroad to some other place in this world. However one thing is certain: wherever I go, I’ll keep designing.
05 Are your spoons on the market?
Regrettably, my Bread Spoons are not for sale. I’m searching for a company to produce them. I get a lot of questions about the spoons from people or from shops who want to purchase them. I only produced 50 sets by myself for a 2 star Michelin restaurant: Sergio Herman’s Oud Sluis. He uses them for presenting his dishes, so you can see them there.
06 Do you use your Bread Spoons at home?
Of course I use the spoons for baking bread. But I always bake bread in different ways. I think bread is a beautiful product made of very simple ingredients, yet the variations in bread are endless. This is also why I chose to do one of my two graduation projects again on baking bread. So more is coming this summer…
07 As a bread maker, do you have a favourite type of bread?
For me, the perfect bread is a beautifully baked country bread that is still a bit warm from the oven with a brown crunchy crust. Eat it with just some butter and it’s already delicious!