Flawless as scarred bread

Scoring bread ~ proofed dough placed in a hot cast iron pot before it goes into the oven for the final baking

Sourdough breadmaking is an art. It takes the harvesting and raising of ‘wild’ yeast and a vast amount of lactobacilli over seven days or longer, then their subsequent use in creating a loaf over a period of three days. It’s an art for the patient. I have cultures I raised from scratch over the past many years. My background in Mycology makes me comfortable with this microbiome of outcompeting symbionts and they are like a family that keep chill in a refrigerator and like a family, they offer many lessons one needs to know about cooperation and collaboration as ironically as the final product teaches about individuation.

As with many pursuits in life, when one sets the tenor of ones effort to measure to a self defined value, one has to contend sometimes with gratuitous criticism from others, but there can be much worse. Failures or setbacks are a ‘scoring’ of human vulnerability and many a time they can help reconfigure any situation into one of immense beauty. Look to bread, no further.

Every time I run the blade along the taut skin of dough proofed for bread, my heart trembles until the realization that maiming or rather scoring the patiently risen dough is what in fact makes bread beautiful.


I created this poem quite a while ago in the style of prose poetry [1] and have now parsed it out into lines. It appears finished for now. Prose poems are not be broken into verse lines or stanzas but retain elements of poetry, like meter, use of rhetorical devices and other poetic overtones. The scoring of bread is a theme in this one. It has also morphed into free verse.

Prose poetry is a form I wish to explore further. There are poetry resources and poem analyses too that I would like to share at this blog in the future.

Edit: changed the name of the poem, the first one didn’t quite sit well.

Enjoy the poem. Bon appétit !

In a constant quest for lyricism in folding,

shaping and rising, Gluten does really talk,

crocheting into yarn until it can hold

no more it’s airy soliloquy, its poetic

enterprise. The ever silent kitchen appears

tired in each rise and sourdoughs are

demanding little babies. Between all that

feeding, swaddling and resting, life scores

each time, deflates the expectant infant into

a discipline of beauty. The lame tattoos

every unfulfilled ambition, every regret,

every defeat, keeping score and bread

is thus born beautiful. Slashed not flawed,

it needs no charity of a harsh counsel

but the benefit of a loving indulgence.

About scoring bread with a Lame:

The intense heat of the oven expedites the fermentation process to cause bread dough to rise rapidly with the production of gases, which in turn push against the taut surface, which may accidentally and unimaginatively crack open. Therefore, bakers slash or score bread with a ‘Lame’ or a blade to deliberately create a weak point to direct this rapid expansion. It helps to control the height of the finished loaf in a consistent manner depending on how the scoring is done. Scoring helps make decorative bread, hardly a flaw in such a scarring.


[1]Prose poetry ~https://www.masterclass.com/articles/understanding-prose-poetry#an-example-of-prose-poetry