The past decade of my life has been one of constant change. I got married, I had a child, my child had unexpected medical challenges, I went from working full time to being a full time mom, I had to learn how to advocate for my son’s care, we have moved five times. My to-do list is always a mile long. Chaos is our normal setting.
I don’t love chaos, but I’ve sort of gotten used to it. When I finally sit down at the end of the day, I struggle to actually rest. My mind races to all the things I think I should be doing. The hardest times for me are the times when there’s nothing to be done. The hardest thing for me to do is just wait.
I’m like that in life and I’m like that in the kitchen.
I love freshly baked bread. But the process is a tough one for me. With something like cookie dough, you instantly know if something is wrong. If the dough is too sticky, you add a little more flour. If it’s too dry, you add a splash of milk.
With bread, you measure your ingredients carefully and then all you can do is wait.
Making bread requires patience.
The life of faith requires patience, too.
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:23-25
“Let go and let God” has never been an easy thing for me. I know that God is always working in our lives, but I can’t always see it. I know that He has a perfect plan, but I don’t always understand it. I know he’s making something beautiful of my life – and sometimes (ok, most of the time) I just want to see the finished product!! But that’s not how faith works. He calls us to trust Him, and sometimes that trust can feel like sitting on our hands when we want to be DOING something. Trusting Him means resting. Trusting Him means following, even when we don’t understand the path. Trusting him means being patient.
Just like when I’m making bread, all I can do is pay close attention to the things I’m pouring into my life and my family … and wait.
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt
- 6 1/2 cups of flour
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. It probably won’t dissolve completely. That’s ok. Add the salt. Then the flour. Don’t worry about mixing as you go. Dump all the flour in and then mix. It’s not necessary to knead.
Once it’s mixed, cover the bowl. I usually use saran wrap. If the bowl has a lid, just make sure it’s not air tight.
Allow the dough to rise for a minimum of 2 (and up to 5) hours.
After this, you can either bake it right away or put it in the refrigerator to bake later.
(The dough is much easier to work with once it’s chilled in the refrigerator for a while).
When you’re ready to bake, prepare your baking sheet by putting down a thin layer of cornmeal. This will prevent the bread from sticking.
Split the dough into 4 loaves.
Shape the dough and place it on the baking sheet (on top of the cornmeal). Try not to handle it too much.
Let it rest for 40 minutes.
After 20 minutes (so, halfway through your 40 minutes), place an empty broiler pan on a lower shelf in the oven and begin to preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
After the dough has rested for 40 minutes, place it in the oven (on the baking sheet), add 1 cup of water to the broiler pan (the steam will keep the bread moist) and bake it for about 30 minutes.