Sleep on This: Making bread (May 4)
Good evening, friend!
One of my goals during this COVID-19 recess is to improve myself. Cyndi and I are taking online Portuguese lessons so that we can communicate with our beautiful new daughter-in-law, Deb. (Cyndi is more diligent than I; I am constantly playing catch-up!)
But here’s one that I’m taking on all by myself: I’m learning to bake bread. Specifically, I want to make sourdough bread. Spencer Hutchins got me started on this; he is an excellent baker. And I thought, “I’m sitting in my house for hours at a time. What I really need are more delicious carbs lying around.” (We’ll have a blog on dieting later.)
However, as has so often been the case with my enthusiasms, I leapt into this project without the slightest clue of how really complicated bread-baking is. You’re talking days—plural—from start to finish. Get the starter out of the fridge, warm it up, feed it, let it rest, add flour and water to build your leaven, let THAT rest, add more flour to the leaven…let THAT rest…
In fact, that’s the stage I’m in right now; and I haven’t even begun the “bulk fermentation” phase with all of its poking and turning. I am still hours…yes, hours… away from sticking a clump of dough into the oven. I have no idea if I’ve done it right…and there are so many steps along the way, if it DOESN’T work…I won’t know what I’ve done wrong!
And don’t even get me started on the starter! Spencer donated a batch to me, which means I didn’t have to wait several days for it to ferment, get stinky and grow a gross head of black fuzz on the top of it.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6.35) Of all the Johannine “I am” statements— (I am the light of the world, I am the way the truth and the life, I am the resurrection and the life)—this one was always the most ho-hum to me. Bread of life, yada yada. Now, as I’m just beginning…just BEGINNING…to delve into baking, the complexity, textures, stages and steps that this requires is giving me a much deeper appreciation for this teaching.
We’ll see how this comes out. Maybe I’ll tell you tomorrow; maybe I won’t. But I’ll never read that verse the same way again…and I certainly won’t consider it as being just “ho-hum.”
Dear Lord, as I lay me down to sleep, thank you for sustaining me. In a season when some shelves are empty and people begin to panic and hoard, I’m reminded that you fed thousands with a few loaves. And that you have promised to care for both my physical needs as well as my spiritual sustenance. Leaven my trust in you, that it might swell to a surprising dimension. Amen.