Maggie Coblentz


Gravity Proof

Gravity Proof is a performance and mission to prepare and cook bread in space.

This multi-part work includes an experimental performance on parabolic flight, film, and zero g bread recipes. Inspired by ancient recipes and archaeological bread remains, this exploration reimagines the cosmic past, present, and future of bread.

An ambassador of Earth, dough breathes and dances
through simulated zero gravity on a parabolic flight.

Parabolic flights reproduce gravity-free conditions in an aircraft through a parabolic maneuver of alternating upward and downward arcs interspersed with level flight. They provide a microgravity environment for scientists to conduct research without going into space.

Maggie used this environment to produce experimental methods to capture the materials, processes, and sensory attributes of bread in weightlessness, and to speculate on the future of  bread as it ventures off our home planet.

Sample 001 - Archaeological Sample
Sample 001 - Archarological Sample
Sample 001- Archaeological Sampl
Sample 002 - Zero Gravity Dough

Sample 003 - Zero G Bread

A story shared through texture and aroma,
bread offers a glimpse into another space and time.

A custom baking spacesuit was made through a collaboration with Addison Söder, Söder Studio in London, UK. Among its many custom features for baking in zero gravity is a built-in toolbelt, an apron that floats in weightlessness—transforming into a wearable countertop, and poof sleeves that rise like bread.

Past, Present, Future of Bread

Zero gravity bread recipes were made in collaboration with the R&D division of the restaurant Alchemist in Copenhagen, Denmark. Working within the parameters of space travel, they designed experimental methods to keep a sourdough starter alive, and prototypes for special packaging for mixing dry ingredients in weightlessness. Their method was informed by the cooking capabilities of the ISS, such as the volume and temperature constraints of the Zero G Kitchen Oven. Each ingredient was carefully selected to compensate for shifts in taste and smell reported by astronauts in space.

A bread recipe was based on a standard soda bread with the texture of a traditional brioche. This made it more moist and compact inside to avoid crumb flyaways in zero g, while preserving the Earthly taste and texture of a sourdough. The dough was designed to be more runny than a normal bread dough, as it would need to be mixed in a vacuum bag and transferred to a silicone mold. In soda bread, the CO2 production is based on Sodium bicarbonate and baking powder adding a distinct alkaline flavor. It also results in a very fast bread production to accommodate limited and valuable crew time for a possible future ISS baking experiment. Freeze dried sourdough starter was added solely to improve the flavor characteristics, since it wasn't needed for the fermentation process.

Additional ingredients were used to help with the Maillard reaction to form a soft crust and sourdough-like aromas. The spherical form was inspired by my previous parabolic flight experiments and the material opportunities made possible by the absence of gravity.

By Maggie Coblentz

Video and graphics by Nancy Valladares
Baking spacesuit by Addison Söder
Bread recipe by Diego Prado and Mikel García

Copyright Maggie Coblentz, 2022.