Friday, March 07, 2014

Kyphi Dough

Yes, dough. It's in the doughy stage, kneadable (?), pliant, no longer a gloop but a moderately firm dough.

Years and years ago when I was a kid, I used to help my cousin and aunt in their dough art business creating weird little cartoon-like sculptures of chickens, pigs, fish, cowboys, cows, and whatever else struck their fancy to sculpt. An important part of the process was kneading the dough, a simple combination of flour, salt, and warm water, until it was smooth and clay-like. I liken the kneading and folding of dough art to the kneading and folding of kyphi dough, the process is the same, though the result? Not so much. I would have been inclined to spend much more time kneading dough art dough if it smelled anything like this kyphi dough. The point of kneading the kyphi dough is to knead in the dry spots. Once I finish kneading for a few minutes, I spread the dough out so that as much surface area is exposed to air; an hour later and the exposed bits are dark and dry and stickier than the rest of the dough, so it gets needed into the mass and spread out again, over and over, about 10 or 12 times a day. I will stop when all parts are the dark dry color I'm looking for, and the dough is moldable and holds its shape.  This usually takes three to five days to accomplish. Kyphi making is not an art for the impatient. The fussing is over, I've added whatever else I wanted to add to it. All that's left to do are my little secret touches.

Wet kyphi complete, prior to drying

Kyphi dough drying  (five days drying)
Ingredients, in no particular order: benzoin, pine, santal wood, orris root, frankincense, myrrh, lavender, opoponax, tolu balsam, papaya, vanilla, pinon pine, spike lavender, lavender oil, spikenard, lavandin abrial oil, Grosso lavender, Buena Vista (Ring Botanicals) lavender oil, red wine, honey. Oils are kept at a minimum because they tend to keep the kyphi too wet for too long, so drops instead of mls are employed.

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