I have never been a confident bread baker. Cakes, cookies, pastry are all very scientific. You add the carefully measured ingredients, mix them with a few techniques and most of the time the result will be what you want. Bread, however, is an intuitive art. When I look at my wife’s bread recipes most of the time there is a step which says “knead until the right consistency.” What is the right consistency? How will I know? Then there is the line: “Allow to double in size” You can’t measure this on a scale or with a ruler. You just have to judge it with your eye! These subjective instructions kept me out of bread baking for many years.
A year ago, I decided to just start baking bread and allow myself to be bad at it. Once I started actually baking the recipes instead of just reading them, however, I discovered that baking bread is a lot more forgiving than I thought. Sure, Paul Hollywood might stick his thumb in a slice and mark me down for the size of my crumb or the length of my proof, but I am not baking for TV. I am baking for me and my family, and when you put a slice of homemade bread with butter in front of either of my children it will not stay there long!
As I have been experiencing and trying out different techniques and different types of flours, I have had more and less success, however my mantra has been: “That’ll eat!” Some loaves were very dense others a bit undercooked. But each one was toasted for breakfast, filled as a sandwich, or savored as a snack. I am not an expert on bread, I’m not an expert on the main recipe I have been using for most of this year, but with each loaf I make, I learn a bit more about bread, but also I learn more about my faith. There is a reason bread is such a prominent image and metaphor throughout Scripture.
Throughout Lent, I am going to share a few different types of bread that I am making and what they are teaching my in this season. I’ll post links to the recipes I am using if you want to experiment with me. But instead of being a carefully structured devotional, my hope is that the posts will be more informal testimonies to what I am hearing God say in this season. Whether you bake along or just read, I hope that you have the courage to experiment, reflect, and be open to what God is teaching you in this season as well.
2 responses to “Carbs and Christ: A Lenten Journey”
I have always wanted to be a skilled bread baker. Over the years, I have made a few attempts, but I am always disappointed at the outcome. Perhaps it is more about the practice than the product. Thinking I might give it another go this weekend.
That was definitely the case for me. Learning to let go of perfection was a helpful discipline for me in both baking and ministry.
If you are looking for a good place for bread recipes, I really like the King Arthur Flour website and recipes. They are well written and have helpful pictures and tutorials.