Posted by on Oct 15, 2011 in General | 0 comments

I soften the yeast in just-warm-enough water.

Add sugar, Add salt.

Add oil, Add nuts and spices.

I stir the dough and add more flour,

a quarter-cup at a time. I knead and wait.

As the dough perfects itself

(you’ll know it when it forms blisters),

I oil a glass bowl, drop in the dough, and let it rise,

until doubled in size, in a warm, not-drafty spot.

 

While the dough rises,

I might read, or cook,

or play games with the baby.

When the hour is up,

I greet the monstrous dough,

so large and foamy.

Slapped on the counter,

it grudgingly sinks and sighs.

Using my hands and my tapered pin,

I meticulously form two perfect loaves,

free from bubbles or bumps.

And then in greased loaf pans,

the dough rises again, pale and swollen.

I slide the bread-in-waiting,

into the preheated oven,

and then I wait.

 

I wait first for the smell of warming bread

to invade the house, conquering every room,

drawing all of us to the kitchen.

I wait for the loaves to brown and pull away from the pans,

like reluctant toddlers who never want to hold hands.

 

I wait for that first slice, where for a moment

I feel that there cannot be anything better than this,

the soft downy fluff of hot bread, crisp crust, butter melting into craters,

My mouth rejoicing, “How lucky I am!”

And I wonder—is this a modern phenomena—to wonder at handmade bread?

(It’s so simple, really.)

Or have millions of women, men, and children

from the dawning of mankind, felt as I do now—

that bread is not just food, but a language?

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