Growing up, it was always an exciting night when my mom made her homemade bread as a dinner side. She was known for her tasty homemade bread, and for good reason. My siblings and I loved to spread instantly melting butter over the warm doughy deliciousness and often asked for seconds.
My mom eventually turned it into a ministry. At our church, she started a group (called the “Bread Ministry”) where people would take turns baking bread to give out to visitors on Sunday mornings. It was a great entry point for starting a conversation, and a way to bless those who walked through those intimidating doors for the first time. I remember admiring my mom, (even during my rebellious teen years) for starting something so awesome.
So perhaps it is to follow in my own mother’s footsteps that I have recently taken on the hobby of baking my own bread (and by “taken on” I mean I’ve only done it once so far.) As I type, I have my second ever bread attempt in the oven, filling our apartment with a tantalizing aroma. Fingers crossed that the sourdough loaves turn out as good as the honey wheat ones did the first time around!
I love the way the smell of baking bread fills our apartment. I love the way it requires me to work with my hands, carefully measuring the ingredients and kneading the dough. I love experiencing the texture, knowing that in a matter of time, this gooey mess is going to (hopefully) turn into a beautiful, flaky crust with a warm, soft center. I love imagine it filling the tummies of my family, and seeing the delight spread across their faces. I love feeling like I am creating a tradition of nourishing those in our home, that I will hopefully pass down to Riley one day.
I can only hope and pray that she grows as fond of it as I have. And I pray that she sees me use it as a way to care for others, like I watched my mother do.
As I’ve been studying the book of Acts in the New Testament lately, I couldn’t help but pay special attention to this little gem found in chapter 2, verse 46: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”
I love how there was so much joy, gratitude, and fellowship surrounding bread during the earliest days of the church.
Even today, I have found that bread creates that same spirit of community. It is surrounding a table with bread and wine that the church corporately admits to our brokenness as people, and accepts the beautiful gift of Christ’s body broken for us and his blood shed for our sins. And it is usually around bread and wine that the community of the church deepens as we enjoy one another’s company, share our greatest joys or deepest pains, study God’s word, and pray together.
So without further ado, here is my current favorite bread recipe (i.e. the only one I have successfully created thus far) ;-). My hope is that you share it with others, use it to nourish and bless those around you, and that in doing so you find yourself enjoying deep fellowship, creating rich community!
HONEY WHOLE WHEAT BREAD
Combine in mixer bowl:
-3 c. whole wheat flour
-1/2 c. dry milk
-1 T. salt
-2 pkg. dry yeast
-1/4 c. wheat germ (optional)
Heat in saucepan until warm:
-3 c. water
-1.2 c. honey
-2 T. oil
Pour warm (not hot) liquid over flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer 3 minutes. Stir in:
-5ish additional c. whole wheat flour
Knead 5 minutes, using additional flour if necessary. Place in greased bowl, turn, let rise until double in bulk. Punch down, divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in greased 9×5″ bread pans. Cover and let rise 40-45 minutes. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.
(From “More-with-Less” cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre)