I fall into the category of one of those people who attempted sourdough during the pandemic. Who’s with me?
I first tried to bake sourdough in March and failed. Through the summer and now school this fall, I opted to buy mass-produced bread at the store (and I felt a little ashamed). But, with kids in the house, I have needed to pick my battles. I am not here for tears over what bread is hosting their peanut butter and jelly. But, last week I resumed my attempts to become a bread baker. Surely, I can make bread at home and no one will miss their soft sugar-laden loaf, right?
Baking bread is a reflective task and it starts at the beginning. The key to sourdough is “the starter.” I’m sure you’ve heard of this simple flour and water base, maybe you have even made your own. This foundation of bread takes weeks to ferment. My starter was gifted to me by a friend. I gladly took what I knew was a successful start, along with her advice and instructions to use certain methods. And within a week, I had made half a dozen baked goodies using her starter. What I once thought to be a hard and laborious task no longer scares me, given the help of a friend to get started.
Baking bread is also a bit addictive. It slows me down and helps me to not be such a quick consumer. While it takes days to produce, one loaf can be consumed in minutes. Bread satisfies, it sustains, and when we make it from scratch it tastes even better.
Bread has a central place in the bible. Remember what Jesus said? “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35-36)
Friends, Jesus is our sustenance. He is the base. He is where we need to start.
What did God send down for the Israelites to eat in the wilderness? Manna. Who did God send down to save our lives? Jesus. Here we see a comparison of the Old Testament and New. People would have been very familiar with their basic needs in Jesus’ day. Today, ours have become so clouded. Our world has become noisy, our bellies full, and often we have to think hard to remember what our basic needs are.
What if we take this simple message, “I am the bread of life” from Jesus, and accept it. What if we add more of Him to our base. You won’t find answers in anyone or anything else. Are you able to do that today? Are you able to say, “Always give us this bread!”
If you haven’t yet, make some bread. Some yeast, water, oil, and flour are all it takes to make bread. Oh, and don’t forget that salt. Remember when we talked about being well seasoned? Salt is a big part of what will make your bread work and a large piece in flavoring your own faith as well.
As you knead the dough and wait between rises, reflect on this, “But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:50