19 November 2010

Communion Bread, or Possibly Just a Tasty Snack

Several years ago -- and I'm not exactly sure how it happened -- a couple young ladies in our church started making Communion bread for the congregation, so that we didn't all have to endure the saltines and matzoh that, in my experience, most evangelical churches serve during Communion. Blech. This was a great success, but we were only taking Communion once a month. When we switched to taking Communion every week, I decided to start a rotation, so that someone different baked the bread every week. And it's gone off basically without a hitch since then. Hooray.

The following is the recipe for this marvelously tasty bread and exactly how to make it. I would recommend that if you are not a church-goer, or your church already has tasty Communion bread, or if your church doesn't want tasty Communion bread, that you pay attention anyway, because this recipe makes a very tasty, healthy cracker/cookie-type snack, which you will want to keep on hand, especially if you are eschewing store-bought treats.

OK, so here we go. Here is the actual recipe that you copy down or print off or whatever:

Whole Wheat Unleavened Bread

8 c whole wheat flour
2/3 c honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c butter
1 1/2 - 2 c rich milk (evaporated milk or half & half)

Mix together flour, honey, and salt. Cut butter in thoroughly. Mix in milk until dough forms; shape dough into ball.

Divide for number of cookie sheets.

Shape and/or roll into flat sheets 1/4-inch thick on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or more, until edges are barely brown. Cut immediately after removing bread from oven. Cool completely before storing in plastic bags. This bread freezes and thaws well.

This recipe makes enough for a congregation of about 200, provided you cut the bread into pieces about 3/4-in square.

Here's the step-by-step, for those who have never done anything like this before:

Gather your ingredients; mix the flour, honey, and salt together; and then start cutting in the butter. This means that your butter is not rock-solid, but not all mushy either. Cut it all up into little pats and throw them in the bowl (which you will notice is quite large).

Continue cutting the butter in with a pastry blender (that thing in the photo). If you don't have one of those, you can use a knife, a whisk (what I used before I bought a pastry cutter), possibly a potato masher, or your fingers (mush the butter pats until they get smaller). You just want the pieces of butter to be smaller -- the largest ones should be the size of a pea.

Take off your rings and prepare to get messy.

Add the half & half (of whatever) and mush, mush, mush until it turns into a ball of dough. (A note on the half & half -- depending on which kind of flour you use, the recipe will use anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 cups of half & half. I have made this recipe with hard red whole wheat graham flour in the past, and it usually took 2 cups. This time I made it with hard white whole wheat flour, and it took barely 1 1/2 cups.) (Hard Red and Hard White are types of wheat berries.)

Divide up the dough for how many pans you have and roll it out. I use a glass because my rolling pin is too big for my pan. I would recommend using cookie sheets, but I use a 16" pizza pan, and I'll tell you why.

My oven is super tiny. It only has one rack, and as you can see, the pizza pan just barely fits. The pizza pan allows me to bake the most bread at once, so I only have to roll out two pizza pans worth of dough to make the whole recipe. If I had an oven that could hold multiple cookie sheets at once, I would use cookie sheets. (The pizza pan has little holes all over the bottom, so my bread pieces come out looking a little funny.)

Bake until the edges start to brown a little. Definitely watch it after the first 12 minutes or so. Baking time varies a lot by oven, pan, and thickness. Cut it up into tiny squares right when it comes out. I find a pizza cutter works very well for this.

I move all the tiny pieces to a plate to cool while I reuse the pan for the second round. If you have enough pans, you could let them cool on the pan.

Make sure they're cooled all the way before putting them in a ziplock. As the recipe says, the tiny pieces freeze and thaw again really well.

And that's it! Enjoy!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

The pics bring back so many memories! I loved making that bread in college..maybe I should see if Redeemer is interested!

Btw, the recipe came from RC Jr's church in Virginia. Robert McIntyre got the recipe, and Kelly, Lisa, Cathryn and I started making it. :)