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After two mornings of frost on the ground and car windows the temperature reportedly has moderated a bit, but to me, the last two days have felt even cooler, the chill crawling deep into my bones.
My thoughts are as scattered as the leaves tossed on the ground. I decide it is best to give up control and allow them to wander. Perhaps God has a reason for this drifting.
While the swirling continues I choose the task of bread baking. There is the magic of creating something more than its various parts. There is a grounding in the yeasty aroma, the mixing. the warm sticky yielding under my palms. The dough will not be rushed. There is the making of a sponge that rises for two hours. Then the mixing in of whatever additional nuts, seeds and grains might be close at hand, and flour, more flour kneaded in. Another rise, at least an hour, while I read email, write this blog post, tend to other household tasks, before I can shape loaves that will require a rising of their own. Then the baking, the cooling, the waiting for the first taste.
I am thankful that my Lord does not require of me the same patient restraint before I dig into the daily bread that He Is. Instead He delights to see me come in a rush, starving for a taste of Him, all thought of hiding my hunger cast aside.
Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. Isaiah 55:1-2 Amplified
Here is the recipe I am using today, one Rick found many years before we met. It is now a favourite of ours.
Ocean's Bombs of Love Bread
1 c. lukewarm water
1 pk. yeast
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 cups water
1/4 c. oil
2 t. salt
Nuts, seeds, cereals, spices, dried fruits, etc. of choice
7 cups whole wheat flour
Make a sponge: Combine lukewarm water, yeast and 1 Tbsp syrup. Let stand about 10 minutes until creamy. Add remaining maple syrup, water, oil and salt. Mix well. Stir in 4 c flour 1 c at a time then stir vigorously in one direction until thick and smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl, cover with damp towel and rise until doubled and tiny holes appear on surface (approx 2 hours)
Make the dough: Add the optional nuts, spices, cereals, fruits, etc. to sponge. Add remaining 3 c flour mixing with a spoon, then with your hands, then turn out on a floured surface knead until smooth and elastic adding flour as needed. Shape into ball and place in an oiled bowl, turn once to coat. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise until doubled (approx 1 hour) Punch down 10-15 times. Turn out onto floured surface. Divide in half. Knead each half for 5 minutes then shape into loaves. Push dough gently into corners of pans. Preheat oven to 350F. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until dough is just above sides of pans (about 30 min)
Bake 40 - 50 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.
Enjoy with a heart of gratitude!