Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Breaking Bread

One of my lenten disciplines this year- okay, so it's my only lenten discipline- has been baking bread every Sunday afternoon. So fun! And, under the tutelage of my bread-master sister, Irene, my loaves no longer resemble huge rocks. They taste and look like bread!

While I'm quite sure that the bread used by Jesus in the last supper was not the yeasty fluff that we westerners have called "bread," there is definitely something amazing and mystical about baking bread. I have several questions about this. Who in the world thought to put bread ingredients together, and why? Were they surprised by the outcome? I really am perplexed by this, but maybe it's one of those things, like the Trinity, that just never really makes sense. Maura and other bread bakers: do you have any insights?

Anyway, here is this week's bread recipe, courtesy of More with Less*. I substitute in a little extra whole wheat flour for the white flour:

Oatmeal Bread
Makes 2 loaves
350 degrees
30-40 min

Combine in a large bowl:
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. salt
2 T. butter

Pour over:
2 c. boiling water
Stir in to combine.

1 pkg. (or 2 1/4 t.) yeast in
1/2 c. warm water

When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast.
Stir in:
5 c. white flour
When dough is stiff enough to handle turn onto floured board and knead 5-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves (which, I learned from Irene, means: roll out into a long thin strip that's as wide as your bread pan and roll up from one short end to the other) and place in greased 9 by 5 by 3" pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Cool on rack, brushing loaves with butter for a soft crust.

Recipe by Ella Rohrer, Orrville, Ohio and Carol ann Maust, Upland, California.

Happy baking! May your loaves be like manna from heaven.

*Longacre, Doris Janzen. "More-with-less Cookbook." Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, 1976.

Why a Blog

So, after many months of being pestered by my wonderful husband Ben, I have come to the conclusion that I should start a blog. Why? After all, probably everything I'm thinking or going through has been circulating through the lives and thoughts of other people for eternity. I've got nothing new to offer. Well, my turning point on this whole blog concept has stemmed from several realities simultaneously being made manifest in my life: 1. My deepening realization that I am a beloved child of God, and yes, my experiences do, in fact matter. 2. The impending reality of a move down the east coast back to good old Virginy, and my yearning to stay connected to those whom I am so blessed to call my community. 3. The reality of being at home with a delightful but oh-so-life-consuming 6 month old (!) and my own desire to continue to find ways to be a creator, one who is truly living in the image of the great Creator.

As all of you know, searching for "the simple life" has been a central theme in my life for... well, probably forever. That search has taken me to unexpected places, and has twisted my live into paradoxical pretzels. Can I be living the simple life while being a stay at home mom? How about while living in relative comfort? Can I live it in marriage? Can I live it while enjoying niceties and simple luxuries? And, the mother of all paradoxes, in whose shadow I have already started to reside: Can I live it in the suburbs??

So, here in this blog I hope to delve into this notion of the simple life, as it is currently being lived by and revealed to me. Thanks for supporting me in the journey!