Bakers are always talking about ’adding value’ to their bread. While the cost of a loaf of bread has broken through the £1 barrier, you could easily add three zeroes to that by investing in a blowtorch and sandpaper.

Bread art is nothing new to Stop the Week - the last case being Antony Gormley’s Mother’s Pride, which featured at London’s Hayward Gallery last year. "Toast artist" Lennie Payne from Essex is right up there with the bread art glitterati.

All you need to mimic his toast masterpieces is some dexterity with gas burners, sandpaper, knives, paint and, erm, drills. "When bread is dry, it won’t degrade or go mouldy, so by flattening the bread, and then lacquering it, to keep the moisture out, the bread stays dry and won’t rot," Payne is quoted as saying. "This is done after the bread has been toasted. You use a gas blowtorch to scorch the bread and turn it black, and then scrape away the burnt bread to create different tonal values. Once the bread is lacquered on all sides, which helps to vitrify the bread, it is stuck onto a base with some silicone adhesive."

"Toast," he says, "is a metaphor for the basic human need to eat and survive." Not that you’d eat one of his bread canvasses - the one above had a list price at Bonhams of £1,200.

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