Perfect Hands, Perfect Dough

May 28, 2008
My family has a fetish for steaming, soft, fresh bread.
Rehearsed and reworked,
Redone and retried,
The recipe was effortless.
The heavy, imperfect pottery bowl
Always held the sticky mixture.

Dad’s perfect hands,
Immense and extending past one piano octave,
Began to knead.
His ten fingers unearthed the pulsing rhythm,
Push, fold, fold, flip.
Four small hands, inexperienced to the kneading routing,
Came to practice;
Mini dough balls
Stretched and ripped, and were re-rolled.
Buttered up and cinnamon sugar sweetened,
Rolled loaves were returned to rise.

Into the oven; 400 degrees.
Sixty minutes: sitting still,
One-hundred twenty minutes: fidgeting about,
One-hundred eighty minutes: bread still baking,
Two-hundred ten minutes: bread finally done!
Wafting and wavering and welcomed,
The bread’s hot, perfect scent saturated my nostrils.
Hurry, scramble, trip into the kitchen,
Parent and child-sized loaves stood resting,
Water droplets sizzling on the hot stove.

Dad jiggled the bread,
Lifting the steaming mass from its clear, steaming pan,
Amber from use.
Mooshed and contorted, the browned, caramelized bread was always too hot to slice.
Promptly consumed,
The spiraling steam and late hours
Never deterred us.
Rain drops splattered and slipped down windows;
Ideal for the rolling of bread dough.
Saturated with cool, creamy, yellow tinted butter,
And spread, smothered, and smoothed in Virginia bee honey,
Bread slices expanded in my tummy.

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