I grew up watching my dad experiment with bread recipes. He is a very methodical baker, taking notes, always trying to better the recipe. We happily watched on as he baked, knowing that at the end of the session, we’d be called in as tasters – and we’d be ready with the butter and jam, peanut butter and cheese – ready to try the hot loaf, as soon as it was not too hot to hold! In the last few years I’ve realised that I’m quite different in my approach to cooking – recipes are more like guidelines right?! Except I like being able to replicate yumminess I’ve managed to channel at one point, so I’m trying to be better at the keeping records thing! I’ve also realised that I really, really like bread. I like that it is basic, plain, substantial, nourishing, sustaining. I like that it is so basic to the nourishing of so many people throughout history that the word bread is often used to refer to food generally. I love that at every level, bread points us to God. Psalm 104 talks about the way God provides bread for people, through their participatory interactions with His creation. He is; however, not limited to this type of provision and sometimes in the bible God provides bread in more spectacular ways; think manna in the wilderness. Jesus Himself nourishes His followers with bread both physically (think the feeding of the 5000) and then spiritually; when He reveals Himself as the Way that God will provide real life for His people. Then, poignantly and beautifully, Jesus shares bread with His disciples the night before He dies as a tangible picture of His imminent sacrifice. This He intends as a pattern. That we, His people, would gather. Serve each other. Remember His life, death and resurrection. And, together, look forward to the wedding supper of the Lamb, where God will welcome us to His table, as His family, and we will be His people and He will be our God. Forever.
I love bread.
I want to begin to be like God, to share my bread with others, because He wants to share bread with me. And so, like my earthly father, I want to be a baker. I want to make good bread to share with others.
My dad’s best bread success is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s Moroccan Chickpea bread. He’s really made it his own. We, my mum and I especially, love this bread so much that there is a joke in our house that it should really be called ‘Chick’ Bread (never mind the chick peas)!
14g of dry yeast (2 sachets, 1 (20ml) tablespoon works well too)
550mL luke warm water
50mL olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1/2 vitamin C tablet
450g plain White flour
480g wholemeal/stone ground flour
70g gluten Flour [86% protein]
1 tbs coriander seeds (as finely/roughly ground as you like)
1 tsp/1 tbs tablespoon cumin seeds (as finely/roughly ground as you like)
410g can chickpeas
1. Take the racks out of the oven, then preheat the oven to 200-220˚C.
2. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the vitamin C tablet up.
3. In a tallish container place the luke warm water, yeast, olive oil, sugar, vitamin C and a sprinkle of flour. Allow this to sit somewhere warm till you begin to see the bubbles grow and develop!
4. Add the dry ingredients you have decided to use (drained and mashed chick peas included) into a large bowl, preferably one that fits in a big electric mixer with a dough hook.
5. Once the yeast has begun to bubble, add the liquids to the flour and mix till combined.
6. Watch the mixture – it should be moist but not sticky (either add more flour, or more water depending on the texture).
7. Once the dough comes together it can be removed from the bowl and kneaded for 10 minutes on a floured bench.
8. Divide dough into 12-18 pieces and roll out each piece to about 7-10mm thick. Dad tends to use various shapes: round, elongated, with or without “docking” or cuts etc. I like the fatter round ones best!
9. At this stage you can leave to rise for anywhere from 10 mins to 40 mins – when I made them recently, I just cooked them straight away. They were great!
10. They are cooked directly on the racks you removed from the oven. If you want, you can dust with flour (or cornflour for a golden colour) to stop sticking but they work okay without as long as your dough is not too sticky!
11. Cook for 8 – 10 mins or until golden and they have reached the desired softness/crispness!
12. Enjoy with pretty much any topping (infused olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dukkah are pretty great!). If you didn’t use the Middle Eastern Spices, they are can be used more widely, but they are so good that nearly any topping works!
Share with friends and family and remember Who breaking bread points us too.
Did you know that the word ‘companion’ is extracted from Latin and actually means those who share bread together?
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry …'”