bread & salt.

by prasanna   Dec 18, 2019

…the stand mixer broke a while back, so
we resort to kneading the dough by hand,
pushing down with all our weight as if to
ease the tension in the room, turning the
dough onto itself and repeating, tossing
flour onto its surface indiscriminately.
all the while wondering what we need
to coat our words in to work on us –
as if on cue, our hands tire
simultaneously, the hurt perches atop
our palms. we acknowledge it and lightly
oil the dough and cover it with a towel to
rise; your eyes narrate the story of a
woman exhausted to the point of apathy.
time does not budge, we check every
five minutes but still hasn’t doubled
in size. you speak, straining together
a bouquet of withered words
that carries with it, no weight,
‘there’s someone else’.
“i know”, and i punch the dough,
deflating both it and the room of air.
i hand you the bench scraper,
you portion the dough, cutting it
in half, and those halves into thirds.
i measure out a tablespoon of water
and you crack the egg into the bowl
and beat it methodically. we place
the portioned dough into a baking
pan and brush the tops with it.
you sprinkle coarse salt over it,
with a practiced carelessness.
i place it in the preheated oven,
set the timer, and wait.


Did You Like This Poem?

Latest Comments

  • 4 years ago

    by Star

    Judging Comment:

    What I love about this poem, is that it could be taken with it literal meaning, or it could be deeper.
    The dough could be interpreted as a relationship that the poet was hoping to go smoothly but the “stand mixer broke”. So it had a rough start. However, it continued being “hard”, even though both of them tried to make softer and it even did not rise. In the end the two ended up working together, and the relationship comes together.

  • 4 years ago

    by Star

    What a creative piece this is!!!

  • 4 years ago

    by Everlasting

    Wait, you got me with “still hasn’t doubled in size”...????
    Are you serious? Did you guys used yeast? (“Guys” as in generally speaking. I’m basically addressing the narrator of the story). Also, the last time I made pizza dough that didn’t rise, and I put it in the oven.... it became a complete failure. The yeast is like adding some love into it... can’t miss that ingredient. Or if there’s no yeast, there are other ingredients to substitute for it.

    Sorry if the above makes no sense. Hehe I like when a piece of writing makes me feel like I can interact.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • 4 years ago

      by prasanna

      For yeast, I exclusively use active-dry yeast instead of instant, since you have to bloom it first and it'll tell you whether the yeast is alive or not. That way, you don't end up wasting flour and other ingredients, depending on the recipe, I bloom it in warm water or milk / milk + cream that's been warmed to 100-110f (I use a instant read thermometer for it). After 10 minutes, I'll start working on the dough, sometimes I do get carried away doing other stuff, and because of that I feel like it takes longer to rise if it's like 30 minutes or so after blooming the yeast. The winter poses another problem for me since the temperature drops and it takes longer for anything to rise. Sometimes I preheat the oven, and turn it off after a couple minutes crack it open a bit to drop the temperature to around 80-90f and then rise the dough in there, but sometimes the oven's way too hot and ends up with a dough that has risen a lot, I cut down on the time of the secondary rise if that happens, and sometimes the oven isn't warm enough and still takes a longggg time to rise.

      For pizza dough, the recipes I use call for a long rise in the fridge, it'll still rise in the fridge just at a slower pace, but it also develops it's unique flavour that way.

      I like when writing lets readers interact too, thanks for reading!

People Who Liked This Also Liked