Mixing it up

It’s been a long time coming…

I’ve been dreaming about becoming a bread baker for a long time – even before I can really remember.  What I do remember is my Grandfather used to bake bread.  No, not Grandma, but Grandpa spent hours in the kitchen, mixing, then kneading, then letting it rise, then baking.  I remember finding it fascinating that he found it fascinating.  I remember asking him to teach me on one visit to Florida, where they moved the year after I was born.  I remember taking copious notes…they have since been lost.  But even without notes I have this deep desire to have the patience to bake bread, sensing that the kneading is something my life needs, salivating for the smell of bread rising in my kitchen, longing to share fresh warm bread slathered with butter with my family.

My later longing for bread developed alongside my call to ministry – as bread is such a rich theological, biblical image.  While I’m presbyterian, I am also deeply sacramental in my theology.  Like Augustine I tend to think of Sacraments as a ‘visible sign of an invisible grace’ and so I find the world all around me as sacrament – visibly marking the grace that pours into my life.  Bread is just that- sacrament, blessing, sign and symbol of Christ’s body, his ministry of eating with those he cared for, the sharing and communion of the faithful, and so much more.

I find myself drawn to books and blessings about bread – one of my favorites is a book on the Ignatian Examen called “Sleeping with Bread.”  I ‘window shop’ for sourdough starters.  I have long dreamed of baking the bread for communion with my youth groups.  I buy bread baking cookbooks and pour over them, reading stories and recipes with relish.

The sad thing: I’ve only baked bread successfully once or twice.  I do just fine with quick breads – cinnamon rolls and muffins and such.  But the true bread baking has been fraught with trials and tribulations.  My most recent foray into bread baking culminated in a lump of dough that would not, could not, certainly did not rise.  Not even an inch.  

So!  My blog begins with a sermon series called “Eat this Wisdom;”  I am determined to bake a successful loaf within the next month, and along the way I’ll share some things about the leaven that makes my life light, and edible, and mine.

Thanks for joining me…

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