The BISHOP and the bread

24 crusty rolls, some of them mixed with olive tapenade

Mixed: 9:15 pm

Molded: 6 am next morning

Baked: three batches, beginning at 7 am

For Bishop Joseph’s visit to our parish

Being Orthodox, we are blessed by a visit from our bishop at least once a year. He spends the weekend with us, answering questions, telling us what’s on his heart, and presiding over services. As a family we make extra space in our lives to attend the various events; just being available allows for all sorts of adventures to take place.

Adventure Number One: Arriving early early for Saturday evening vespers and the little one getting to play in the church.

Adventure Number Two: Rising at baker’s hours to make rolls for the luncheon. That’s 5am folks–5am with the house hushed and time all to myself. Now that’s adventure!

Adventure Number Three: John Ronan asking for a pumpkin muffin that sat on the Bishop’s own plate. Wish I had a photo of that one. Thanks, Mr. Bishop, for your pumpkin muffin!

Despite my 5am wake time, this kind of baking and giving is not a stretch. It’s the kind of stuff you and I do every day, isn’t it? We cook and clean, we drive and encourage and comfort. We work, and plant radish seeds, and fold laundry, and even re-learn algebra when we need to…

I’ve written this post a dozen different ways now, and each time it comes out sounding like a sermon. I’m not a bishop–I’m just a jane, and I guess what I really want to say is–I love baking! And I’ve come to really love giving…

It has taken a bit of work to get me here… To really love the giving part.

Before I sign off, and ask you to write the sermon instead–aren’t Bishop Joseph’s vestments simply gorgeous? Just being in the same room as that cloth made me want to sew for an entire weekend straight.

And weren’t those rolls also gorgeous?!!! More about my pot baking success soon. (And that’s a warning… If you read these posts regularly and don’t yet own an enamel or cast iron pot, I urge you to be on the lookout for one you might invest in. Baking bread inside them is like having your own portable brick oven shipped to you from a quaint French village… And I’m gearing up to share recipes and techniques that will all center around that blasted pot.)

Okay, now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear whatever sermons you might have for me. Though the Giving Virtue may have crowded out some of my Sour Stinginess–there’s still plenty of space in my heart that needs a good remodeling. Fire away! I’m ready and waiting…

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13 thoughts on “The BISHOP and the bread

  1. Jane~

    I was in awe of Bishop Joseph’s vestments. They simply were beautiful. Your rolls looked amazing too! I loved also John Ronan’s child like words from his heart.

    I have no sermon’s to give although my kids would beg to differ. I look forward to your posts with bread in the pot. I love my cast iron pot.

  2. No sermon here, just a question. Do you ever make prosphora? I would love you to do a post on that if you do. I made it often before my youngest was born and enjoyed it but still felt like there was so much I could learn, or that I was missing something? Or maybe I just made myself anxious, that’s a possibility 🙂 I would just love to hear another perspective on it.

    Grace and Peace.

    • Prosphora–yes! Funny that you ask. We have a huge crew of prosphora makers at our church, so I haven’t been called into service as of yet, but I’m planning on spending much of the spring baking prosphora and blogging about my foibles and successes. I’m really looking forward to it. My first stop will be at a priest/friends’ house, where he’ll give me a formal lesson that I’ll document. Will be fun! (Together, this priest and I, are hoping to make prosphora with only natural fermentation…) More soon.

  3. yay! no I can’t quite remember but it was you whose camera needed to be fixed? if so yay you have it back…

    love the pictures. beautiful vestments are such a joy to behold.

    giving is good.

    today I am tired and am trying to be still and trust – and be thankful. this is a big one for me, learning to be thankful and say Glory to God for ALL things.

    love to you.

    • Yes, Elizabeth. My camera was shipped out for repairs, and gone a month. Very sad indeed. I called the shop almost every other day and they got very tired of hearing from me!
      Anyway, I’ve had it back for about a week, and am shutter happy!

      I’m thankful for you–for having you here, for your lovely and thoughtful comments on this blog. May God bless you abundantly…

  4. Our family LOVES Bp. JOSEPH! My husband likes to drive to the airport with the kids to greet him there, that’s a huge adventure and he just loves seeing kids there to greet him. We’re blessed to get him usually around Nativity here as he likes the snow at Christmas time…but that sure makes for a busy Christmas. This year it will be Pascha!

    Your rolls are beautiful, I’m always in awe of your work. For me bread baking is such a chore, but the family is always so happy with the results. I love my no-knead recipe, is this your preferred method?

    • Hi, Anna. I do LOVE the no-knead recipe. I definitely think it’s one of the smartest and tastiest ways to bake bread ever invented… I love the fact that you use very little yeast, and that the flavor really has time to develop (especially if you add a bit of sour starter to the mix) and I like the flexibility of the timing in molding, etc… I’d say I bake this way %50 of the time–because often I just forget to mix it the night before! Does this ever happen to you?

      I also love my molasses bread, and I like fiddling with the French bread mix in different ways. And I like trying new recipes 🙂

    • No, Angela. Because I didn’t want to wake up any earlier than 5am, I mixed a batch of no-knead dough the night before. You can see at the top of the post that I started it at 9:15 pm. That way the mix was already underway and ready for molding when I woke… In order to make the rolls, since the no-knead dough is so gooey, I had to mix in some flour when I was molding them. It works just fine this way. I shaped them into rolls, then let them rise on a large birch board dusted with rice flour. And since I baked them in the pot, I scooped them into the hot pot with a spatula… Phew, it all sounds confusing, but it’s just learning the basics of a few different ways of baking and them using those techniques to best suit you. Have you been baking lately, Angela? Have you tried the no-knead recipe yet?

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