"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

25 February 2012

Making "Church Bread" with the small guy....

Okay, I know, I know... I hang around with Anglo-Catholics. I like dalmatics, incense, icons and chant. I think Jesus deserves our finest in music, liturgy, and devotion. I think its all good for us too, multisensory, multi-generational (not just us living generations, too), across all time and places.

But I depart from the traditions of the Anglo-Catholics in this one...


I like real bread at the altar.

Yes, I play "crumb police" becaue I really do believe that every consecrated drop or crumb must be handled with devotion. Its not ours, its God's. I'm cool with consubstantiation. But I believe bread is bread. The early saints didn't use what Marion Hatchett called "fish food." They had bread.

Okay, wafers store better if you reserve the elements. There's a place for them.

But Sunday to Sunday, I'm into bread.

Good bread, Jesus deserves good bread.

How can we take cheap pita, crunchy hard tack, or dusty wafers to the Lord who called himself "the Bread of Life" and whose birthplace is literally called "House of Bread" and say "here you go, its the best we have to give you."

So I'm into bread. And so its fallen to me, sort of by default to make the "StEAM Bread."

For the uninitiated StEAM is "St. Elizabeth's Anglican Mission"... the yet nonexistent but still sacramentally functioning congregation I serve these days.

What's cool about making the bread at home is that my kids get involved. There are several tasks involved in StEAMBread making. And thanks to the technology of the modern deep freezer, its really only a job for every other month of so. No big deal.

But as little guy and I were making the StEAMBread today, and he was full of questions, I started thinking.... there are a lot of neat Biblical touchpoints in making bread. Okay, they're cheesy, but its fun to pray and talk through what goes into the bread that goes on the altar. So here it is, complete with little guy (hereafter referred to as "LG") comments and questions.


The recipe is called "Lebanese-Syrian Mass Bread" and I originally gained it as a handout from a classmate's project the summer I was at Sewannee. The class clearly preferred this bread on every count, taste and texture and whether or not it threw crumbs all over the altar. So this is the recipe I use, though I have several from the same classmate.

Add: 1 Package of active dry yeast... or about a half dollar sized round from the jar. LG and I talked about how Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast making the whole loaf rise and be good for using.
Add: 1.5 c. flour... Talk about bread as the foundational food, offerings in the temple of wheat and grain. This stuff has been essential deliciousness for just about forever.
LG asks if he can pour the flour. Yeah fine. LG asks what happens if we turned the beaters up to "10". "It makes a mess."
Add 1 1/4 c. warm water. "He leads me beside still waters." Jesus walks on water. Whatever. There's a lot of water in the Bible.
LG asks if we can turn it up to ten now. Um, no.
Add 2 Tbs. olive oil. There's a lot of olive oil in the Bible too, anointing for healing and welcome. How about I pour that, kid, its messy.
LG notes the bottle has a cork in it. Yeah. It does. Thanks for noticing.
Add 1/4 c. sugar. "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" I've thought about trying to make this recipe with honey, but I'm reluctant to mess with it.
1 tsp salt. "You are the salt of the earth." Thinking about how salt is a preservative and a flavoring. Salt is cool stuff if you don't have heart issues.
LG: "What happens if I put my finger in here?" "The mixer will pinch it and you'll squalk."
Add 2 cups more flour, slowly.
LG: "Can we turn it up to ten now?" No it would throw flour everywhere. "Cool!"
Kneed. You can talk about Jesus being beaten before the crucifixion if you like.
LG: "Can I poke the dough." yes.
"Can I smack it?" yes.

Cover and let rise in a warm dark place (I put mine in the oven... blah blah about the tomb and resurrection... and how rising bread takes forever like the eschaton if you're hungry!!!)

Get pestered every five minutes. Is it time yet?

Make the loaves, rounds according to what size your congregation needs. Makes about 12 5" circles. Cut a cross with a knife.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until light brown on the bottom.

And because we only offer Jesus the best, there has to be a family committee to "eat the ugly ones." The oven does all sorts of wonky things to the loaves! Ugly ones are good warm with butter. (hangs head in shame)

They freeze well wrapped in foil and put in a big ziploc.

Anyway, I'm putting this up in case any of you clergy types want to farm off the making of church bread to the Sunday School or a rotation of families. Holler if you want a clean copy of the recipe. I'm sure I can scan it for you. :)


  1. My preference is Bread, believe it or not. Wafers look like styrofoam coffee cups and taste like them too.

    I have a great "bread" story about a ordination in TSM chapel presided over by Bp Ackerman (I was a sub-dean and was forced to wear a tunicle!) When the good bishop broke the rather crusty french style bread the little bits covered the corporal and fair linen. Like little squirrels, the bishop, the deacon, the sub-deacon, and the two priest gathered round the table and scarfed up the bits and ate them. Any interesting mass I must say!

  2. Yes, that is what I mean by "crumb police." Fr. Paul is pretty capable of keeping the crumbs where they belong, and I dust them into the chalice when I ablute. Not the end of the world.

    You in a tunicle, I would like to see! :)

  3. On me the tunie was rather form-fitting

  4. My preference is for rye bread with orange juice. Sydney Diocese is famous for it.

  5. *Chuckle* Rye and OJ indeed! True confessions then.... I once attended a "Communion Service" that made use of orange juice and graham crackers. It was in my pre-Anglican days, but I have never before made a public confession. You read it here first.

  6. David Ould – I'm doing research on communion bread in the Anglican Communion. Can you point me toward a book or article that mentions the rye and orange juice combination in Sydney? That's great stuff.

    And thanks, Free Range Anglican, for your blog!

    Duke University