Baking Bread with Brother Bear ( Part IV)

Baking Bread with Brother Bear ( Part IV)

“He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast* that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” ( Matthew 13:33).

We come to the final ingredient in our reflections on baking breads. Yeast ( or leaven ) comes in many forms.
There are dry instant yeast, there is active dry yeast, there is bulk cake yeast, there is liquid yeast, there is baking power, or baking soda, and there are of course wild yeasts.

there are yeasts that are captured as wild yeasts, but are then cultivated and perfected over years. Some over hundreds of years that are kept alive through their feeding and care taken for their colonies.

Yeast is what gives bread its lift, or volume. It is responsible for the little knooks and crannies, and pockets that are part of the bread we eat. In fact the well trained eye can discern different characteristics about the bread and the bread making processes by looking at all those little knooks and crannies that we all know and love.

yeast in a number of cases will also impart a certain flavor characteristic to the bread it is used in making.

Lets look at some of these things..

First, as it says in the opening scripture. A little bit of yeast will leaven the entire loaf. This is true.. it does not take a vast amount of yeast in order to create a healthy colony of yeast within the dough. There are sugars within the flour that will give the yeast all it needs to develop and grow. These small yeast cells are mixed and kneaded which spreads the yeast throughout the entire loaf.

The yeast will spread and as it grows and spreads it will cause the dough to inflate.. this is what is refereed to as the “rise”. Traditionally after the first rise, the dough is deflated, and kneaded, and formed into what ever its final shape it will take for a second rise before baking.

Much like the yeast we use for baking bread and the processes involved, this too, applies to our spiritual lives.

We are are injected into our own world, there are elements for our basic survival, but is that enough ?
Of course not ! Like this yeast, we like the yeast take on the responsibility, for sharing our faith with others.
We take on the challenges of daily life where we share that faith not just through what we say, but what we do.

We have been given the “great commission” as it is referred to by some, to go forth and make disciples of all nations. This means we are to share our faith with others. As Franciscans, we follow the example of Saint Francis when he said, ” preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words ! “. We must have our actions speak to our faith, we must make our lives radiate our faith through our actions.

Like a yeast we will impart a certain flavor profile to the community within which we live, as part of our faith lives lived in our communities and the lives of those we touch.

Like yeast that is lack luster or does not produce good results, the resulting bread will be dense, bland, and not very useful. The same thing is true of a person who has no faith, or very little faith, or who has faith but does not live that faith to the fullest possible reach.

Alot can be told about the yeast or the process of the bread making by examining the knooks and crannies.

Like the yeast it is our job to make room for everyone, it is our job to make sure that each cell within the community has room to grow and develop. Like yeast we must lift the life we are given, and the community we support so that it develops to its fullest potential.

We need to be mindful of our part in our own faith lives. That we become the leaven within our lives, with our communities, at work, at home, or at Church or in the marketplace. It is important that through our lives we lift others through how it is that we live our faith, through our actions, and through our words.

Like any master bread baker, we must study recipes. There are some who cook by recipes, and there are those who learn about recipes, and then cook feeling their way through experiences, and develop an experiential feel for their baking and their dough. Our faith life is much the same.. there are those who learn about their faith lives and only go through baking mechanically going through the process. There are others who take their life experiences and apply their faith lives to those experiences and then developing their lives through living it.

How ever it is that you work on your faith life, work on it, live it, and share it, to the glory of God !

May God give you the gift of His peace !


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