Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thoughts While Making Bread

Atkins, South Beach, Wheat Belly, Paleo diet, gluten intolerance. 

Bread has a bad reputation among many people in an overfed first world. Refined flours, preservatives, added sugars and difficult to pronounce ingredients keep grocery store bread soft and fresh for many days. “Day old bread” is a meaningless term today. Over consumption of refined food may cause sensitivities and allergies in time.

One of my patients, an elderly Scotsman, told me about the bakery he ran in his small town many years ago. He started work at 4 AM, baked and then delivered fresh Scottish baps or breakfast rolls to the doorsteps of his customers before they were out of bed. Someone from the house would collect the newspaper and fresh bread each day before breakfast. 

Chapatis, tortillas, pitas, injera, naan, roti, lavash, and a multitude of ethic flatbreads.

People all over the world go through the daily ritual of making bread as a dietary staple. Bread is the utensil, the dish, the substance of their diet. Milled grain, water, salt and optional leavenings make a simple recipe for basic meals. 

Stollen, Challah, Panettone, Rosca de Reyes, Paska bread. 

My sister-in-law makes several loaves of Molasses Raisin Bread or Lassie Raisin Bread every Christmas. She hasn’t lived in Newfoundland since she was a school-aged girl but this “Newfie” tradition identifies her as a native of The Rock. Bread is a symbolic part of holiday celebrations in most cultures. 

I knead the dough on the counter until the whole grains are well combined and smooth. Breaking off a piece, I roll it flat and place it in a hot, ungreased pan. It cooks in a minute and is added to the stack of fresh bread wrapped in a clean towel. 

I think about Jesus’ affirmation that he was the bread of life, a bread essential for health, eaten daily, and shared with others. Our communion bread consists of stale crackers or tasteless cubes of white fluff that dissolve in the roof of my mouth, hardly a good representation of life-giving food.

O taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in him...Ps 34:8

Is our religious faith so refined, so full of additives and man-made preservatives that it causes sensitivity, intolerance and digestive pain over time? The simplicity of the gospel is lost in the long and complicated ingredient list.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

Simple, wholesome ingredients- 
love, a pure heart and motives, 
mixed with faith and good works-
the bread of life.  


  1. What a wonderful post Ruth. Indeed... we seek to make things "new and improved" when the real bread needs no additives or preservatives. It is always there, always ready to be consumed. :c)

  2. Interesting post indeed, Ruth!
    Btw, my blog was hacked some months ago and has moved to (in case you wondered where I disappeared). Big hug from West Africa!

  3. Nice post Ruth. It's true that you can mess up a perfectly good recipe by trying to add too many ingredients or spoil a good message by altering it.

  4. Two complementary truths?

  5. Hey, good post! I make chapti or roti when i need bread in a hurry.

  6. Looks delicious, Ruth.
    Lovely post.

  7. Interesting thoughts. I like your definition of the "bread of life."


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