AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT
Few things say “I care about you” more than bringing a fresh loaf of hand-shaped bread to a neighbor or friend experiencing life’s challenges.
Bread blesses those who receive it. But anyone who makes bread will tell you there are benefits in store for the baker, as well. There is something empowering about creating incredibly delicious and nutritious fare using only flour, water, yeast, salt and little more.
There’s a pleasant rhythm to kneading—press, turn, fold, press, turn, fold—as your hands work the dough to develop the gluten structure for optimum texture. Your whole body rocks gently and serenely. Working dough can take up to
12 minutes, giving your mind time for peaceful reflection away from a world of distractions. You’ll get a mini workout, too, as the dough gradually changes from soft and pliant to sturdy and resolute.
While the resting dough rises, stand amazed at God’s design for living yeast. Like a magic ingredient, yeast gives flavor, volume and palatability to a fundamental food.
TIPS TO SUCCESS
Bread-making should not be stressful. As long as the yeast stays at lukewarm temperatures, rather than hot, bread dough is quite forgiving. If you knead in too much flour, and your dough becomes too stiff, add a few sprinkles of warm water until the batch is workable. Each time you make bread, your hands will gain discernment about dough consistency and your preparation skills will increase.
Find other confidence builders in “Recipe 101: Signs You’re Doing It Right."
IN THE BIBLE
Bread has been a staple food of every culture from Old Testament times to the present. Wherever people gather, there are breads or other baked goods.
Bread is mentioned 366 times in the Bible. Bread makes its first Old Testament appearance when Adam is told by God, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” Genesis 3:19. Bread is used in the Bible as a symbol of God's provision such as “daily bread” in The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
Commonly made of wheat (Exodus 29:2) in biblical times, bread was also made with barley (2 Kings 4:42). The Old Testament gives ingredients for a special bread. Dense and grainy, it was made with wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt (Ezekiel 4:9).
Here are a few other Bible mentions of bread:
• When three surprise visitors approach Abraham’s tent, he has bread prepared for them and entreats them to stay (Genesis 18:1–8).
• With a generous gift of 200 loaves of bread, Abigail brought peace to her household and the favor of King David onto herself (1 Samuel 25:1–35).
• The day after the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” John 6:35 ESV.
Express love to your family in a tangible way with the unexpected delight of “Brioche À Tête." Welcoming guests to your home with a pan of “Salted-Caramel Pecan Rolls” cements any friendship. And if someone you know is gluten intolerant, make him or her our “Gluten-Free Fruit & Nut Bread."
Signs you’re doing it right
• Using a digital thermometer, verify the temperature of a liquid that will come in contact with yeast. The temp must be within the range given in the recipe.
• To tell if gluten bread has been kneaded enough, slowly stretch an egg-sized piece of dough with both hands. You should be able to see light through the middle of the stretched dough.
• A dough is done rising when it doubles in volume. Additionally, if you make an indentation in the dough with your finger, it will not fill back in immediately.
• Fully baked bread will have a golden brown crust. Tap it on the underside, and it will sound hollow.