The Body of Christ - A Nice Chewy Texture

posted Nov 22, 2013, 1:36 PM by Terry Brady

by Heidi Mayor


From my first visit to St. Margaret's, our communion bread struck me as something special. It is a pleasant dark color, with a nicely chewy texture. It requires actual chewing, and has a pleasant flavor. I was surprised to learn that parishioners bake it -- I thought that communion bread or wafers had to be prepared by nuns or holy people. When two people asked me to join the baking list, I was a bit afraid. Now, let me tell you, I love to cook. I love to bake. As I type this, I am listening to my ice cream maker churn a batch of coconut gelato. But communion bread? Me? Aren't I too much of a heathen, too unholy? Florence said she was putting me on the schedule. That was that.


The recipe itself is very simple. It is no more complicated than making basic cookies, and since you only make two loaves, it's actually easier than cookies. And when I watch one of the priests bless the loaves that I have baked, I am infused with a feeling of deep connection with every parishioner, even those I've never met. I still don't see myself as holy, but, through the simple act of baking the communion bread, I find myself wholly one with the divine.


A preview of revelations to come at the St. Margaret’s Advent Retreat, December 13-15.  Author and baker Heidi Mayor will lead a liturgy based on “what feeds us.” Drop a note to David Griswold, griswolddag@aol.com, to ask questions and reserve your spot.



Here is one of the recipes for the bread St. Margaret's uses at communion. Soft enough for a priest to pull off a piece with one hand while balancing a silver plate with the other. Firm enough not to disintegrate completely if you like to dip your bread in the wine. Most importantly, not so dry that it sticks to the roof of your mouth and makes you wonder if you’ll ever swallow the bread of heaven.

 

Altar Bread

 

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons molasses

 

Whisk together the honey and buttermilk. 

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix, adding more flour as needed.

Divide the dough into two rounds, flatten into a nice circle-y shape, and score with a cross.

Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

If you're eating it as plain old bread, you're finished.

If this batch is destined for the Eucharist, deliver to the sacristy, settle into a pew, and watch it all unfold.

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