By Kristy Horine
It’s been the bread of choice in my family for three generations. From Papaw, to Momma, to me. My “Secret Life” as a bread maker has waxed and waned over the years. I’ve received jars of starter, killed jars of starter, and baked hundreds of loaves of bread. Most bread I gave away. Sourdough to neighbors. Sourdough to strangers. Sourdough to bake sales for various ministries. Sourdough as communion bread.
Over time, I’ve learned the process — feeding, waiting, kneading, waiting, baking, eating and waiting some more — is blessed with measures of faith, hope and love. The three that remain. To honor the Lord who gave us His own body as bread, a poem:
Every fifth morning, I pull the pickle jar from the fridge.
(It used to live with Cathy Thompson,
The jar did.
She filled it with things that bubbled and soured.
Then, she gave it to me.)
I put the pickle jar on the counter.
Every fifth morning, into my two-cup glass measure
One cup of perfect-warm water,
three, one-fourth cups sugar,
Three tablespoons potato flakes.
(The flakes look like snow.)
I stir and waterfall the warm, sweet, snow into the pickle jar.
Every fifth night, I fetch my mixing bowl
From under the counter.
(Momma gave me a set of three at Christmas-time
One fourth cup sugar,
One half cup oil,
One tablespoon salt,
One cup swirled-up starter,
One and a half cups perfect-warm water
Six cups bread flour.
I stir. Turn out. Knead.
Every sixth morning, I grease and flour my pans.
Punch down dough, turn out onto flour-dusted counter,
Twist in two places to make lumps of three.
I press and spread and roll the dough
With my fingers, floured white.
I tuck the dough into pans, pull waxed paper covers up to their chins.
Then, I wait.
Every sixth evening, I turn the knob to start the
Of gas in my oven.
Thirty minutes in, a glance for golden brown, a thump on
Top for doneness.
I eat the heels
for they are my favorite parts:
Slathered with sweet cream salted butter,
Only half allowed to melt,
For the waiting has seemed so long.
WRITING PROMPT: You are a master baker, paid to produce the most exquisite morsels ever to be eaten. You have received an order for two plain loaves of bread to be delivered to a remote hillside. The client is willing to pay seventeen times what the bread is worth, as long as you deliver it in person at exactly three o’clock. Write about the conversation you have with the client upon delivery.