Making bread the old-fashioned way. Recombinant typicalities and the absence of bakers

Alessandro Mongili


Abstract "Typical" bread is made up of different ingredients, as any other product

circulating in different social contexts. Among these ingredients, the present paper

focuses on reconfigured "natural" yeast. The study examines the development of a

project aimed at standardising and using reconfigured "natural" yeast in the pro-

duction of "typical" Sardinian bread, and precisely the convergence between the

microbiologists responsible for the project and the technologists working on the

implementation of a device for maintaining "natural" yeast. The paper also analyses

the difficulties in the implementation of this project among bakers. In particular, it

highlights issues related to an authoritarian mode of implementation, conflicts de-

pending on status relations and untitled expertise, and problems concerning the

transformation of a socio-technical convergence into a proper alignment. Finally,

the paper examines the hybrid and recombinant nature of "typical" food, when

embedded into dense technoscientific processes.


Keywords food, leaven, Sardinia, convergence, alignment

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