Today, I hauled out the bread maker for the first time in many months. I had not been able to find our favorite sandwich rolls at Trader Joe's so this necessitated me making bread once again. It's not a hard process but it's a long process and time is something that I've been parceling out in tiny increments for too many projects. Bread making was lost to writing, knitting, blogging, homeschooling...and if I'm fully honest, to Facebook, the great time waster. But today it was time to start again, we needed some rolls and I could make them.
Once the dough was mixed, I dump the sticky mass onto a floured cutting board, and began to rip off hunks to set on the pan. I am not a fan of sticky textures but the feel of dough is different. Combined with the smell of yeast and flour, the texture is comforting and warm. I carefully roll each piece into a flat bun and lay it with a firm pat onto the waiting cookie sheet. When there are ten rounded rolls, I take the new soft blue dish cloth from Ikea and cover the bread. The covering is never mentioned in any of my recipes but I remember my mom always covering the rolls when I was little so I cover them.
The next few minutes is spent cleaning up the kitchen. The rolls need a long time to rise, Jude is napping peacefully, and I use the time to wash the dishes, sweep the floor. As I reach for another plate, I see the bread swelling up under the dish cloth, tiny hills pushing their way toward the ceiling. The kitchen still smells like yeast from the mixing process, and I am back to being small. In one of the various kitchens we inhabited during my young years. It doesn't matter which one because the scene is always the same. I can smell the yeast from where I am playing, and I follow the smell, recognizing that not only will be bread soon but that we are likely going someplace fun to eat said bread. I go into the kitchen, to see my mom with flour all over hands, punching bread down and kneading it with her fists. I watch as she begins to shape rolls, and I sidled up closer and closer until I can feel the warmth of her body against my side. Quickly, I reach out and grab a piece of dough. My mom looks down and smiles as I back away with my stolen treasure. I roll the dough between likely very dirty hands, loving the way it feels so warm and the way the smell increases as I make a tiny ball. Sometimes I am content to just play, other times I pop into my mouth and relish the raw yeasty taste that is only a hint of the taste of fresh baked bread.
And then I am back in my own kitchen with a dirty plate in my hand. Touched to the past through a rising up.