Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not By Bread Alone


John 6:35
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Years ago, when my kids are growing up, I make bread from scratch on a regular basis.  The recipe book I trust never lets me down.  And though the process from start to finish practically takes up an entire day of "standing guard" over the rising loaves, I derive great satisfaction in knowing I'm providing my family with a nutritious alternative for their endless peanut butter/jelly or grilled cheese sandwiches.

But as time goes by, and my working life accelerates, bread making eventually falls by the wayside.  When Danny and I get married, I try several times to revive this healthy habit, but to no avail.  Although I use the exact same recipe I've always counted on, my loaves come out dense, flat, and most definitely unappealing.


I suppose you can guess where they end up.


Enter 2017 and the arrival of a brand-spanking new Kitchen Aid mixer.





Danny is beside himself with excitement, knowing he can now make fresh pasta with ease.  Me?  Even though the machine comes with a small recipe book, which includes how to make bread, I am still gun-shy.  As I too often do in the face of inevitable change, I find myself dragging my feet, apprehensive to even attempt the execution of a decent loaf of bread.

This past Saturday, with Danny's help, I muster up my courage and take the plunge.  After all, I reason, what do I stand to lose if it fails?  A few cups of flour?  A couple of yeast packets?


So here we go!









Here is the dough after rising for one hour.  Looking good!


I punch it down, divide it, and shape into loaves.


These are covered and allowed to rise for another hour.


And rise, they do, and how!


Golden brown and aromatic, fresh from the oven.


They slice beautifully, but the final proof is in the tasting.


Does it pass?  With flying colors!

And I am overwhelmed with elation and thankfulness to the Lord that all my hopes have exceeded expectations.  And while I rejoice in the success of this bread-making venture, I am reminded of the One who is the very Bread of Life.  I know that when I run to Jesus, my spirit will never go hungry; I will be filled with and satisfied by His Word.

Because as our Lord tells us, "It is written:  'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:4)

May we always give thanks to God for meeting our earthly needs, and seek the spiritual sustenance only His Word can offer.

Amen!

18 comments:

  1. Great story Martha! I love homemade bread. jo makes a tomato basil that rivals Panera according to my taste buds. :) And making the connection to the "Bread of Life" is a wonderful transition.

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    1. Thank you, Bill! Jo's bread sounds amazing. Now that I've gotten the hang of this, I plan to branch out and try different types of bread.
      So thankful that Jesus is the Bread of Life.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. I can relate to what you shared about your bread making fails. I find myself dragging my feet on doing what I know needs doing for any number of reasons. By the way, your bread looks amazing!! (Oh how fun it would be to have a "scratch and sniff" option!) But, as you stated, the best bread of all is Jesus, the Bread of Life. Spiritual food is the best food of all.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Scratch and sniff option - I wish we had that, too, Kim! But you are right that the best food of all is the spiritual food upon which God feeds our souls.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. That bread makes my mouth water, Martha! I can almost smell it... I'm so glad it worked out! When our kids were growing up, I attempted it once in a while, but they didn't come out as light as I wanted them to. But my kneading was mostly done by hand then. When my husband was growing up, his mom made ALL their bread for 15 kids! I don't know how she managed, but I believe the Bread of Life sustained her. :) I'm so thankful we always have Him and He will never let us down. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Fifteen kids??? Oh, wow, Trudy, your husband's mother was a saint and a half, that's for sure, and I agree that she must have been sustained by the Bread of Life. My mom still makes bread and kneads it by hand (as I used to), and hers almost always comes out perfectly. Some just have that gift, I guess.
      But if you ever want to try bread again, I can't recommend the Kitchen Aid mixer highly enough. It's been an absolute life saver!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. wow I could almost smell that bread. New website design? Enjoy the mountains by the way.

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    1. Yes, new design was offered via Blogger the other day, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep it; doesn't show the sidebars I had before.
      Yes, we will definitely enjoy our trip to the mountains. No tech, no blogs while we're there!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  5. Hi Martha! Congratulations on the new blog design! I gave a little start when it loaded because I wasn't sure if it was really you? I see from your comment to Jean that you might not keep it. Well, it's fun to try the new things isn't it?
    I felt like I could smell that bread baking over here in Illinois! What a beautiful gift, reminding you of earlier times in your life. I'm sure Danny is still smiling!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you, Ceil! I do like the newness and freshness of the look, but as I told Jean, missing the sidebar items is so disconcerting.
      And yes, Danny is still smiling about the bread; it seemed like every time we were at the grocery store, we always had to buy more, and the cost wasn't getting any cheaper. It will save us money if I bake our own from now on, and I plan to!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. I LOVE homemade bread. Waaaayyy back in my back to the land days, I had a wood stove. I would buy grain directly from farmers, and grind my own flour with a hand grinder and bake the best bread in that wood stove. Wish I had a slice of your bread right now, hot from the oven with butter melting on it! Yum!

    Notice that when you talk about homemade bread, it's hard for your readers to focus on the deeper message. Ha!

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    1. I have noticed that, Galen. Homemade bread is definitely one of those go-to comfort foods, with the taste and the smell being practically irresistible. Hope they did get the message, though!
      Wow! Making your own flour and baking in a wood stove? That certainly takes a pioneering spirit, that's for sure! Think I'll just keep buying King Arthur flour and use my trusty gas oven.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Oh that looks so good! I have a machine like that, but haven't attempted bread making with it yet. I do have a bread machine, a gift from my parents years ago, and I use it periodically when I am in the mood for some really good bread. It does a great job, but I miss out on the actual kneading process, which I know can be therapeutic. I love that you are back to baking your bread...it is a blessing for you and your family...and yes, it reminds us of that wonderful blessing of the "Bread from Heaven", found only in Jesus Christ our Lord. Great story today! Thank you for making me want some homemade bread...and more of Jesus too. Blessings.

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    1. Like you, Pamela, I had a bread machine several years ago, but it quit on me, and I never bothered to replace it. Using the Kitchen Aid avoids kneading, too, which I rather relish instead of regret. I think much of my problems with bread in the past came from adding too much flour when I was kneading.
      Homemade bread may be good, but it can't hold a candle to the Bread of Life, can it? Thanks be to God for His Son, Jesus!
      Love and blessings!

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  8. What a lovely Kitchen Aid! My husband bought me one years ago, and it has been such a blessing in my kitchen, it is a workhorse! I know what you mean about baking bread when the kids are young, and then, whether the bread turns out or not, they are happy to chow down on it! But the older we get, the more refined our taste buds get, I think, lol. I have found an amazing bread machine recipe that turns out an amazing loaf of bread, which is just perfect for our family now, as my kids are hardly home anymore. I do the dough cycle on the bread machine, and then let it rise in the pan and bake it in the oven, so it doesn't have the hole in the bottom. It is wonderful. I have made a lot of bread with sourdough with my Kitchen Aid and it is wonderful too.

    Now all this talk about bread - how wonderful to know that our Lord is the sustainer and provider of all we need spiritually, our spiritual bread of life! A wonderful thing to think about as you knead away and as you enjoy the delicious bread.

    Have a wonderful getaway, sounds like a marvelous time for you and your husband :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I do so love remembering that God not only gives us our daily bread, but that Jesus is the true Bread of Life. I can't even begin to imagine what my life would look like had He not sustained and nourished my faith all these years.
      I'm glad you enjoy your Kitchen Aid, too, Marilyn. Now that I have one, I wonder how I ever managed without it. Your bread sounds fantastic - I'll have to branch out and try more recipes soon, hopefully the week we return from vacation. I'm glad you have a reliable bread machine; I had one that died about a year after I got it. :( So thankful for the K. A.!
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Martha, I have a KitchenAid mixer and I love it. I've made ice cream, cookies, cakes, but sadly, NO BREAD! And let me tell you, I'm a bread gal. That's part of the reason I haven't attempted it. I'm afraid of how much I'll eat.
    The pictures of your homemade bread made my mouth water. Now, you've done it! I'm going to try making bread soon. I'll let you know how it turns out.
    Blessings!
    Beckie

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    1. Oh, I hope you do get around to making that bread, Beckie. Like you, I love bread, but what I noticed about the homemade one is that you can slice it thin, and it is much more filling and satisfying than store bought, so I actually tend to eat less instead of more. How's that for a selling point? :)
      Love and blessings!

      Delete

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