Communion Bread (leavened)
There is something about making bread for Communion (aka the Eucharist, Lord’s Supper.) It is a conscious act of worship and self-dedication. This recipe can be done by hand or in a bread machine. It is unmistakeably yeasty. The batch in the picture below rose a little more than I anticipated and so the loaves, instead of being flatter and more round, are a little too “poofy”. And yet… it’s fine.
1 very warm (not hot) water
1 egg at room temperature
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups flour (amount of flour depends on the relative humidity in your kitchen)
1 Tablespoon wheat gluten (powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
Wash: 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbsp of water
To make by hand:
- Dissolve yeast in a large bowl with the water and allow it to bubble.
- Stir in butter and egg.
- Add wheat gluten and salt.
- Stir in flour about 1/2 cup at a time. When dough is too stiff to stir, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place in greased bowl, cover with cloth and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size. (Note: during the summer, this can be as little as 20 minutes. in the winter, it will take up to an hour!)
- Return dough to floured surface, knead until air bubbles are removed. Divide into loaf size of your choosing. (Note: The loaves above were a little large. I might try dividing into 6 loaves the next time.)
- Place loaves on greased cookie sheet. Cut the top with a very sharp knife to create a cross.
- Allow loaves to rise while oven preheats to 425 degrees.
- Take egg wash and baste loaves with it to form a nicer color on the crust as it bakes.
- Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, or until loaves are firm and browned. (I use the “thunk with my thumb” until it sounds right method.)
- Allow to cool on baking rack. Wrap, consecrate, and use.
To make in a bread machine:
- Place ingredients in bread machine pan in order.
- Process on “dough” cycle. Allow to rise in bread machine for 30-60 minutes (see note in #5 above)
- Follow instructions above, beginning in #6 above).
This freezes well; you can wrap it once it is completely cool. For use during the worship service, be sure to score the BOTTOM of the loaf slightly so that it tears easily during the liturgy. 🙂
By the way, it makes GREAT buns for sandwiches.