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Baking Communion Bread

posted Nov 22, 2013, 11:46 AM by Parish Administrator   [ updated Jul 9, 2015, 11:00 AM by Farar Elliott ]
Communion bread at St. Margaret's - what is it?

It is bread soft enough for a priest to use one hand to pull off a piece while using the other to balance a silver plate.
It is firm enough not to disintegrate completely if you like to dip your bread in the wine.
Most importantly, it's not so dry that it sticks to the roof of your mouth and makes you wonder if the bread of heaven will ever make it down your throat.

Communion Bread
Makes two 6-inch disks

INGREDIENTS
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur white whole wheat -- try it! It is great!)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
scant 1/4 tsp salt
scant ​1 Tbl honey
1-1/4 tsp molasses
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt (yes, whole milk, which creates a moister loaf)
1/4 cup cream (or half-and-half, or, in a pinch,whole milk) (The higher fat content makes a moister loaf, which doesn't crumble in the chalice when dipped)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl.

Whisk wet ingredients in medium bowl.

Using your very clean (thoroughly washed) hands, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the gloppy mess becomes a ball you can shape, and that does not stick to your fingers.  There may be some leftover dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl.  That is fine.  Thank them for their hard work, then discard. 

Divide the ball of dough into two equal-sized smaller balls.  You can eyeball it, no need to be really precise.

Sprinkle your clean counter with some flour.  Take one ball, press it into a flat, roundish shape, then using a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll it into a flat, even pancake about 1/4-inch thick.  It should be about six inches across.  The edges will be craggy, so using your fingers, lightly moistened with water if necessary, push the edges back into a smoother form.  Place the disk onto the left side of a cookie sheet greased with oil.  Do the same for the second ball of dough, placing it on the right side of the same cookie sheet.

Using a sharp paring knife, score the top of each disk with a cross that goes from edge to edge, as if you were going to cut it into four quarters, but not actually cutting all the way through.

Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until it just bounces back when slightly pressed with a finger toward the middle.  As many of us like to dunk our communion bread into the wine, and an overcooked loaf tends to crumble into the chalice, leaving lots of very unappetizing chunks behind for the next person, it's best to err on the side of undercooking.

Allow the loaves to cool on the cookie sheet, then wrap in wax paper, bring to church, and watch the magic happen!
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