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François Barraud | La Tailleuse de Soupe | Rustic Onion Soup

 François Barraud | La Tailleuse de Soupe In "La Tailleuse de Soupe," a painting from 1933 by François Barraud, we witness a scene imbued with mystery and a touch of surrealism, both characteristics that pervade many of Barraud's works. The title originates from the French verb "tailler" which means "to cut" or "to carve". This painting captures an intriguing domestic moment. A young girl, adorned with a large orange ribbon, sits at a table where a large steaming tureen of soup sits. She gazes at the viewer with a somewhat sullen expression, while across from her, her mother, seemingly in a cheerful mood, cuts slices of bread with a distinct smile. The narrative preceding this scene remains unknown. We're left to speculate what might have led to the young girl's mood, her refusal to watch the near-dismemberment of the loaf of bread that her mother enthusiastically carves into thin slices, presumably to accompany the hot soup soon to b

Anders Zorn | Baking the bread | Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread

Anders Zorn | Baking the bread

Anders Zorn - Frukost i det gröna

Anders Zorn's painting "Baking the Bread" portrays a scene of domestic life in rural Sweden. The artwork features four women and a small child, busy baking bread in a rustic, traditional kitchen. The woman are dressed in simple, modest clothing and appears to be fully engaged in her task.

The room is dimly lit, with the main source of light coming from a window, casting a soft glow on the women and their work. The painting captures the essence of the daily chores and responsibilities of women in traditional Swedish households, with an emphasis on the importance of bread-making as a central part of their lives.

Zorn's use of natural light and shadow, as well as his attention to detail in depicting the textures and materials in the room, imbues the painting with a sense of warmth and intimacy.


Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was a Swedish painter and sculptor, known for his exceptional skills in depicting light, color, and the human figure. Born in Mora, Sweden, Zorn gained recognition as one of the most prominent artists of his time, both in Sweden and internationally.

He studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm before traveling to London, Paris, and the United States, where he gained considerable acclaim for his portraits of prominent figures, including three U.S. presidents. Zorn's oeuvre consists of portraits, nudes, and genre scenes, often featuring ordinary people from his hometown in rural Sweden.

Aside from his paintings, Zorn was also an accomplished printmaker, particularly in etching. He is considered one of the foremost etchers of his time, producing over 200 original etchings during his career.


Recipe: Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread

During the 19th century, bread was a staple food in Sweden, and different regions had their own unique recipes and techniques.

Many traditional Swedish breads were made with whole grains, such as rye, barley, or wheat, and often included ingredients like molasses and spices like fennel, caraway, and anise seeds. Sourdough was a common leavening agent, as it provided a natural and effective way to ferment and rise dough.


  • Water: 1 2/3 cups
  • Sourdough Starter: 1/3 cup
  • Whole Rye Flour: 1 3/4 cups
  • Bread Flour: 1 3/4 cups
  • Molasses: 2 Tbs
  • Fennel Seed: 1 Tbs
  • Anise Seed: 1 tsp
  • Caraway Seed: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1 3/4 tsp
  • Zest of 1 Orange


  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the starter into the water. Add the molasses, all the seeds and orange zest.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flours and salt.
  3. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet using a dough whisk or spoon until the flour is well incorporated. Cover with plastic and let rest for 15 minutes. After about 15 minutes, mix again for a minute or two. Again let rest for 15 minutes and mix one more time as before. Now cover the bowl with plastic and let sit at room temperature for roughly 12-14 hours. 
  4. After the long 12-14 hour proof, stretch and fold the dough and shape into boule or batard (round or oblong) shape for baking. (If you didn’t follow that, I’m afraid you’re doomed to watch the video.) Cover again with plastic and let rest 15 minutes before putting in a proofing basket for the final rise. If you don’t have a proofing basket, line a bowl with a well floured kitchen towel and put the dough in there for the final rise. The final rise should last somewhere between 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Keep the dough covered with plastic to prevent it from drying out.
  5. Preheat your oven to 475 F a half hour before baking.
  6. Score the dough with a razor or sharp serrated knife and bake until the internal temp is about 200 F.
  7. Let cool completely before eating

 Source: Eric Rusch, Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread,

Additional information

Bread-making in Sweden during this time was typically done at home, and baking in a communal wood-fired oven was not uncommon in rural areas. In Zorn's time, bread was often baked in large batches and stored for an extended period, sometimes weeks or even months. This was particularly true for hard breads like crispbread (knäckebröd), which were specifically designed to have a long shelf life.


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