A Little Leaven

For my birthday last year, my daughter-in-law, Mary, gave me a cookbook of einkorn flour recipes. I had heard of einkorn wheat, but had not known that it had originally come from the Tuscany region of Italy. I ordered some of the flour, and looked forward to trying the new bread recipes.

Forty years ago, I used to make sandwich bread for my children’s school lunches. Back then, I used yeast granules to make the bread rise. My new cookbook showed that I could make a sourdough starter, or use the regular yeast. I chose to learn the sourdough procedure, and then spent time studying the directions. Once the flour arrived, I was eager to begin the process.

Taking care to follow the instructions, I stirred some einkorn flour into the measured amount of warm water and made a thick paste. The resulting bowl of goo was then covered and placed in a dark cupboard. According to the guidelines the mixture was to rest for 48 hours, and then half of it was to be removed. The remaining portion was to be “fed” with a little water and more flour. Done daily, this fermentation process would take about a week to complete.

A few days later I saw that my mixture had turned a whitish-yellow, and had a layer of gas bubbles. After a week, it had a yeasty smell. The bacteria had multiplied naturally, and the leaven had doubled in size. Amazing! I learned that this technique of making leaven (yeast) was about three thousand years old. Except for my modern gas oven, that I would use to bake the loaves, I would be making bread in the same way that it had been done since before the time of Christ.

When it was time to make the bread, I added more water, flour, and a bit of salt to a small amount of the leaven. I lightly kneaded and folded the low-gluten dough, and the sticky mixture began to rise (proof). I formed it into shapes and placed it in loaf pans. After it rose again, it was ready for the oven. Soon

the house was filled with the delectable aroma of baking bread.

ewDgwIgb7jHJ2CvuI4lzbx6NDezFVJx0CwWhile waiting for my bread to bake, my thoughts turned to two of the parables that JESUS taught His disciples concerning the kingdom of God.

In Luke 13:19-21, JESUS compared the kingdom of God to a tiny grain of

mustard seed that a man had planted in his garden. The seed germinated and took root. It grew into a tree so large that the birds made their nests in its branches.

JESUS continued with another simple example which He knew His disciples would understand. His second analogy was about a woman making bread. The woman took a little leaven and “hid” it in three measures of meal, (flour), and covered it. She knew that the leaven would work throughout the flour and water until her dough expanded, and her large loaves were ready to bake.

Both mustard seeds and leaven start small, but grow and swell to great proportions. This symbolized the beginning of how the sharing of the gospel of the kingdom would start in a small way with the disciples. JESUS used the leaven metaphor to convey to His disciples that the spreading of the gospel (like leaven) would grow and transform the lives of those it touched. The number of believers would also grow to evangelize the whole world until JESUS returned.

The disciples most certainly ate bread every day as a necessary part of their diet. To reinforce the story imagery in their minds, JESUS referred to Himself as the spiritual bread of life. John 6:33-34 (TLV) “For the bread of God is the One coming down from heaven and giving life to the world. So they said to Him, ‘Sir, give us this bread from now on!’ JESUS said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry...’”

My family and friends look forward to the days I bake bread, and I am delighted to share my loaves with them. My own bread satisfies for just one meal, but with JESUS (the true bread of life) we will never be spiritually hungry.

We all have daily need of more than physical food. JESUS will never leave us unfulfilled. “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8 (KJV). Receive and savor the bread of life.

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