California bakery’s Han Solo bread sculpture is a star attraction
If you’ve ever wondered if it was possible to make a 6-foot sculpture of “Star Wars” character Han Solo out of bread, well, a Bay Area bakery has taken the chance.
Hannalee Pervan and her mother, Catherine, co-owners of One House Bakery in Benicia, Calif., created a pasty replica of Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, frozen in carbonite from the 1980 film “The Empire Strikes Back”, for the annual downtown scarecrow contest.
They call it “Pan Solo”.
The mother and daughter love sci-fi and started brainstorming months ago, they said, including creating replicas of R2-D2 from ‘Star Wars’ and Audrey from ‘Little Shop of Horrors”. But neither would fit in the bread oven.
“I kept coming back to this image of Han Solo trapped in carbonite,” Catherine Pervan said, referring to the pain on Han Solo’s face, the way his hands struggle to escape. “It’s so iconic.”
Once they settled on Han Solo, they started working late into the night after the bakery closed, listening to music including Pink Floyd and the Lumineers. A former college basketball player, young Pervan served as the model for the sculpture, with her mother tracing an outline of her onto a piece of plywood which they then loaded with clay.
They used dead dough, Hannalee Pervan said, which is made from bread, water and sugar and has no yeast. It looks like dense Play-Doh, she added. His resume includes working at the Bouchon Bakery in Yountville and baking bread for the French Laundry, both in Yountville, Calif., owned by Thomas Keller.
They ordered a mask of Ford’s face and spent about 10 days perfecting his features, they said, worrying in particular about his “plumping” and “voluptuous” lips.
Hannalee Pervan racked her brains wondering what size to make them. “I thought if they weren’t right, they would look like a duck,” she said. At one point, she was punching Ford’s pasty face, trying to remove the volume, only to realize that it needed to be turned up a little.
“She pulls [employees] from the bakery saying, “Come and look at this, come and look at this: does this look like Harrison Ford?” “said his mother. Ford’s hands were also tough, they said. (They haven’t heard of Ford yet, but Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, tweeted about their bread pattern.)
This isn’t the first time they’ve mixed their love of baking, bread and pop culture characters for the city’s annual competition, which encourages companies to get creative with scarecrows.
For their first entry, they paid homage to “Game of Thrones”, calling it “Game of Scones” by making a White Walker out of dead dough and a bread throne of chopsticks. The following year was a nod to “The Mandalorian” TV series, with a “Bread-dough-lorian” in bread, “Baby Dough-Da” floating in a mixing bowl and dressed in bread, and ” Pandroid” with cooking tools. Last year, they turned to the “Loki” series and created “Dough-ki”, a variation of the Alligator character Loki played by Tom Hiddleston, out of bread.
“Pan Solo,” which they unveiled last week and weighs around 350 pounds, came just in time to celebrate the bakery’s fourth anniversary on Saturday and its reopening later this month after being closed to the public due of the pandemic.
Audiences have so far loved “Pan Solo,” they said, and are taking pictures with it and stopping to smell it.
“We fixed it three times, and all three times because people couldn’t keep their hands off it,” Catherine Pervan said. Even the dogs nibbled the sides.
The sculpture and reopening to the public is particularly meaningful for her daughter, who lost her sense of smell and taste after contracting COVID last year.
“It’s something that brings happiness,” said Hannalee Pervan. It is also special for her and her mother; they spent many hours baking together when she was young, dreaming of one day owning her own bakery.
When the spooky season is over, they’ll donate “Pan Solo” or they’ll compost it and save the plywood for next year.
They are already brainstorming, they said. So far, the recipe might include a Marvel character or two.
Los Angeles Times