Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bread

I baked some bread today. It was a double-batch of unleavened bread to take to church tomorrow for communion. There is a long list of people at church who take turns baking the communion bread from the same recipe, and this was my first turn. It turned out well.

When my kids were young I loved baking bread, and did so frequently. In fact, Christmas morning wouldn’t have been Christmas morning without my homemade cinnamon bread filling the house with its sweet scent and waiting to be eaten after the presents had been opened. I always felt like I had inherited the “baking gene” from my Dad, who was a baker by trade; and maybe from my Grandpa, as well, who was a baker before him.

Sadly, I seldom make bread these days. The part I loved most, the kneading, now produces pain in my shoulders and back, and usually results in a headache. And there’s something just not right about turning over that beloved task to a bread machine.

Kneading Dough in my Father’s Bakery
On a step stool beside my father,
in cinnamon scented air,
I learned to make bread.

He’d slice off a child-sized hunk of warm,
pliant dough, and I’d push and fold
in a rhythm

just like his -- kneading and turning,
adding a splash of flour, feeling
for elasticity.

--Linda J