Ford's Baking Skills 



Keith sweated. This turned out to be more difficult than he had imagined. One cheek sprinkled with white powder, a single strand clinging at his forehead and his hands covered up to his elbows with clammy pastry, he stood in his kitchen, a blender and several bowls on the worktop in front of him.

Packages of sugar, flour and salt lay toppled over on the board, and a pappy mixture in another bowl showed what had happened to his first attempt of baking a loaf of bread. Stupid idea! Baking bread… now that everyone could buy the finest grades at the baker’s. But no, Joachim had insisted on bringing a home-made loaf to his housewarming party.

Joe was a native German, living in his neighbourhood since Keith was a little boy. They had played together in the sandbox, visited kindergarten and school and even later, when they parted company as to their jobs, they stayed close friends.

Through him, Keith had learned a lot of German culture and traditions, and this bread was due to one of them. Two weeks ago, while he and Joe had celebrated one of their rare, but nevertheless boozy pub crawls Joe told him about his decision to move into a house with his fiancee. Claudia had studied in Germany and was enthusiastic about the idea of celebrating a party in the style of her boyfriend’s old traditions. And in Joe’s opinion, bread and salt, brought by his best friend, would be an absolute must.

So this was why Keith was standing in his kitchen. After a quick glance at the recipe he grabbed at the flour package and spread a generous amount on the work surface. Then he tried to turn the sticky dough out on it. First it kept gluing to the bowl, but at the end the dough loosened and plopped into the flour. The rising white dust made him sneeze several times. Heavens! Perhaps he had a flour allergy?

Keith sniffed. Where was the kitchen towel? He grasped it just at the moment when the next sneeze shook him. That was close. While blowing his nose he returned to the baking book of his grandma’s. She had recommended the white bread recipe to him, because it was quick and easy. ‘Just a bit of flour, salt, water, oil and yeast, Keith, nothing to worry about.’

Huh. No, it was not easy, not at all. She would laugh at him if she saw this mess in his kitchen.

With an ambition born out of frustration he squared his shoulders. If he was able to fight against the world’s most dangerous enemies, he could manage to bake a simple loaf, couldn’t he? So, what did the recipe say? ‘Preheat oven to 425 degrees F’. Roger. Now back to the worktop.

He took the dough and started kneading with smooth movements until it felt supple under his hands. It would become an accomplished loaf after all.



Keith Ford



NOTE: Written to one of DRAGON's series of prompts ("Ford bakes bread"), restriction: not more than 500 words. Can also be found on The Shado Archive under 


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