Bread: The Staff Of Life
Bread plays an essential role in our worship. We have recipes from three congregations baking their own bread.
Many parishes are now baking their own communion bread. We have listed two recipes and we invite you to add your recipes.
Other options are available as well: Christ Church, Alameda, uses Naan for their Eucharist. Gluten-free crackers are now available at most grocery stores, and smaller gluten free crackers and becoming increasingly available. If you have a good gluten-free cracker or bread recipe, please share it with us. Click here to read about altar bread that goes from farm to altar table: from planting, to harvesting, to milling, to baking.
Whole Wheat Bread Recipe for Communion Bread @ St. Stephen’s in
Belvedere made weekly by one of their 4 AG Teams
1 C. warm-water (100 to 110°)
1 package of dry yeast
1 TBS sugar
1/4 C. honey or light molasses
1/8 C. oil (canola or olive oil)
1/4 TSP salt 2
C. plain whole wheat flour (neither pastry flour nor bread flour)
Measure water into mixing bowl, add yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add into the liquid, honey, salt, and oil. Add flour and use two hands to mix together completely. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured pastry board and knead thoroughly for 10 minutes. Place dough (shaped into a ball) into a lightly oiled ceramic bowl (ceramic as metal conducts heat and could cause the bread to start baking).
Rising Environment for Bread
Turn the oven to lowest possible temperature (about 85 degrees) for 5 minutes. Place into the oven a small pan with hot water, turn on the oven light and then turn off the oven so that the bread does not start to bake. Cover bread-ball the ceramic bowl with a warm, damp, cotton-cloth kitchen towel. Place into the prepared oven for rising. The dough should double in size within about one hour to one hour and a half.
Kneading the Bread
When risen, turn onto a lightly floured board and knead again for 5 to 10 minutes. Place back into the previously used bowl and cover again with a warm, damp cloth as before in your reset warm oven: (about 85 degrees), pan of hot water, and oven light on (with oven turned off).
The second rising, also, usually takes an hour to an hour and a half. When doubled, turn bread onto lightly floured board. Knead a couple of times and divide into two pieces which are then shaped into round loaves. Press crossed lines into each loaf with a knife without piercing the membrane surface of each loaf. Place the loaves on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before placing in airtight plastic bags or wrap in plastic wrap. The bread freezes well.
Trinity Church, Menlo Park
This recipe uses only one rising and no milk or dairy. In 2017 Trinity began using whole wheat flour from Honore Mill & Farm to make it’s communion bread.
2 2/3 cups Honore Mill whole wheat flour
1 cup hot water
1 package, active, dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspooon salt
1/3 cup honey
- Sprinkle active dry yeast into the hot water. Water should not be boiling but warmer than body temperature. If using a thermometer, 115 degrees. Stir and let the yeast activate for 5 minutes or until you see it is actively multiplying.
- Stir in the honey, olive oil, and salt.
- Add flour, stir until dough forms.
- After mixing the dough, let it rest for 30 mins before kneading (this whole wheat flour requires time to absorb moisture)
- Turn dough onto floured board and knead for five minutes or until it springs back from a touch of your finger and has a shiny surface.
- Put into an oiled bowl and cover with a warm, damp towel.Let dough rise for 90 minutes to 2 hours … longer is fine.
- Remove risen dough from the bowl and return to floured board. Knead for a few minutes then roll out with rolling piin to about 1/2 inch thick.
- Cut round loaves with a biscuit cutter (3 1/2 inches) or 1 lb coffee can as the cutter which yields a 5 inch round loaf. Slash two lines in the top to each loaf to make a cross.
- Let the round loaves rest for 20 minutes before putting them in the oven.
- Place on lightly oiled cookie sheet, or uses parchment paper to line baking sheet, and bake for 15 or 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on a rack and then individually wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Dust off extra flour.
Whole Wheat Communion Bread
St. Paul’s, Burlingame
1 cup warm water divided
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon yeast (1½ packages)
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white bread flour
1¼ teaspoons salt
- Combine ¾ cup water, milk, 6 tablespoons honey, salt, and butter in a sauce pan. Heat gently, melting the butter. Stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly. Remove from heat.
- Combine yeast, remaining teaspoon of honey and ¼ cup warm (not hot) water in small bowl. Let it sit and if all is well the mixture will froth.
- Put all the flour in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Check temperature of butter mixture. When it is warm, not hot, pour the mixture and the yeast mixture in the bowl with the flour.
- Say goodbye to your hands. Use your hands to mix the wet and dry ingredients. Scoop the mixture out of the bowl and knead between your hands until your fingers re-emerge clean and the dough is firm and elastic.
- Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until double; one hour.
- Punch down the risen dough and divide into quarters. Shape each into a round loaf, sealing the bottom by pinching it together. And set them on greased backing sheet.
- Cover the shaped loaves with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour. Meanwhile preheat over to 350 degrees.
- When the loaves have risen, butter a sharp knife and cut a cross in the top of the loaves.
- Bake for 30 minutes. There should be a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
- Let the loaves cool before putting them in plastic bags. The bread freezes well if you want to make extra or store.
- Feel good about helping your church!