But it seems that these days, homemade bread is something of a novelty. It’s a specialty item for a special meal, or the perfect gift to deliver to a sick friend. One of my pals bakes bread in between jobs, because being home all day allows for the waiting, the punching down, the waiting, the baking, the waiting.
That’s probably why homemade bread is a rarity. Too much waiting. Who has the time or attention span? Even my retired grandmother is too busy with her volunteer schedule, church duties, and daily routine to consider baking bread. What a luxury that would be! And yet we pray that God would be so generous as to give us our daily bread.
My parents are extreme hobbyists. When they find a new one, they research every square inch before diving in with complete dedication. Bread is the perfect example. Well, flour, to be exact. Last year, Mom and Dad decided they wanted to make their own bread from scratch-and I mean, scratch. They found a farmer who would sell them wheat berries in bulk. They invested in a hand-operated wheat grinder. They experimented with recipes, and now, they have perfected a recipe for a delectable whole wheat loaf.
During their research my folks learned an interesting thing: flour doesn’t last very long. Wheat berries can stay sealed in a cool, dry place for months, but as soon as they’re ground, the little jewels start losing nutritional value. In fact, fresh flour is at its nutritional peak for just about one day.
Give us our daily bread.
I realize that being able to grind flour and bake bread on a daily basis is a long shot for many of us. In fact, insisting on it would probably complicate our lives, rather than simplify. But I wonder what other benefits we might reap by regularly engaging in the ritual of mixing, waiting, punching, waiting, baking, waiting …. What rewards might we find beyond the satisfaction of a thick, warm slice of bread?
Perhaps a better exercise in simplicity is to be intentional with the time. To pay attention during the waiting, spend it in prayer or meditation, and ultimately being grateful for a generous God who supplies our so many’ needs, every day.
Mandy Garcia is associate director of communications for the Church of the Brethren. “Daily bread” first appeared in the March 2014 issue of Messenger magazine, published by the Church of the Brethren. Used with permission.
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