kneading dough

Delia Smith is a genius. Otherwise a klutz like me couldn’t be baking the most extraordinary scones. She is a perfectionist, so every hint is given to maximise the reader’s chances of success in following her recipes. One quibble though – how to wrestle with dough is not fully explained. I usually get a gloopy mess that I turn out onto a work surface prepped with flour. Rebellious bits of dough head for the hills, the remainder stick to my hands, no matter how much flour I have rubbed into every pore. Chucking more flour over the mess eventually gives me something to work with. The rest is easy, rolling tossing, patting, punching with the occasional addition of more flour and my sanity is restored as the mess takes shape into dough.

The whole experience is quite challenging for the novice baker, and goes against my guiding principle that it should take longer to eat than to prepare. Scones are pretty quick to bake, but my wrestling time is considerably longer, or so it seems.

I don’t want to cheat by investing in some sort of dough making equipment. Nietzsche wouldn’t approve. It’s all about overcoming difficulties, not that I’m a Luddite, but once the mess is transformed into dough it feels as if you have achieved something magical just by using the power in your hands.





Paul Laurence Dunbar – Dinah Kneading Dough

I have seen full many a sight

Born by day or drawn by night

Sunlight on a silver stream

Golden lillies all adream

Lofty mountains, bold and proud

Veiled beneath the lacelike cloud

But no lovely sight I know

Equals Dinah kneading dough

Brown arms buried elbow deep

Their domestic rhythm keep

As with steady sweep they go

Through the gently yielding dough

Maids may vaunt their finer charms

Naught to me like Dinah’s arms

Girls may draw or paint or sew

I love Dinah kneading dough.

Eyes of jet and teeth of pearl

Hair some say too tight acurl

But the dainty maid I deem

Very near perfection’s dream.

Swift she works and only flings

Me a glance – the least of things

And I wonder does she know

That my heart is in the dough?


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