Any talk of bread in a church tends to be about Holy Communion : Jesus said ‘I am the bread of life’ and we celebrate that every week in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
The thing about bread the word ‘bread’ is that as well as standing for food made from flour and water, its a word that also stands for the food we need to eat just to survive.
‘Give us today our daily bread’ There are many people in the world who will get to the end of today and say ‘thank God for food just for today; thank God just for this day.’ because such is the nature of the place they live in, every meal and every day is a miracle.
When we were children we said ‘grace’ before meals; a thank you for the food placed before us (not always very nice foo though – I hated spam fritters!) but in these days of busyness its easy to overlook the wonderfulness (is there such a word) of food, especially when we never really feel hungry, because we never have to do without.
Here is a recipe for bread – real bread, easy bread. have a go at making it and when its ready eat it, with or without butter, and share it with your neighbour and friends.
- Get a large bowl. Put in the flour, salt and yeast and mix well. Make a well in the centre, then add the oil and water, and mix well. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead.
- Once the dough is smooth and silky, place it in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a clean damp tea cloth or cling film (leave room for it to rise). Leave to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size or put in the fridge overnight (it will be overflowing tomorrow).
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment or grease it and dust it with flour. Knock back the dough, then mould the dough into a ball. Place it on the tray/parchment to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Dust the dough ball with flour and cut a cross about 6cm long into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake for 25-30 mins until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
‘Real Bread Week’ (there is a website if you are interested – just google real bread week) are encouraging people to bake fougasse this week. If you’re a bake off fan you will remember that this was one of the challenges in the last series.
Here is a recipe for fougasse, courtesy of the BBC website.
And remember to say thanks to whoever or whatever the word God stands for, for you. Because, if you have bread on your table you are one of the worlds rich people.
Now I would say (because I’m a vicar and its the kind of thing that vicar’s say, that all bread is spiritual because its the sort of thing that we eat in community – we share it, by tearing it, cutting it, breaking it…
and if you want to come and enjoy sharing bread in community, come along to St Clements or to Christ Church and join in a service. You will be very welcome… Tea and coffee provided and, on a special day – cake!!