Prosphora–All Gift

Recently I posted an open letter to prosphora bakers, asking for their help in uncovering some of the secrets of making the perfect loaf of bread for church. The discussion ran from the original post, to a stream of comments on Facebook, to a final landing place of photos on my own Facebook page. All of this was amidst a whole day of trial baking–nine loaves in all–four batches of bread–and the hopes that I might continue my learning and better my baking.

And I think what I learned most didn’t have to do with baking at all. It’s what I already knew–what I’ll always know. This kind of work, this kind of act–something destined not only for myself, but for others too, is ALL a gift. The mixing, the kneading, the prayers, the way the house fills with smells from the oven, the way the bread travels with me, from my home, to the church, to the altar…  Christ makes his home in that bread, just as he makes his home in our hearts–and that eucharistic bread is changed for us–a holy gift to us, reaching from mouth, to stomach, to our hearts.

All gift. So who cares if a few of the loaves split on the sides? Who cares if a few even split across the top?  Three good ones, that’s all Father Nicholas really needs, and the rest, if it comes out well, is simply bonus bread.

All gift. If you bake prosphora, I encourage you to enjoy each and every moment of that process. If a loaf or two come out lame, God doesn’t care, and chances are, your priest won’t either. You offer what you can and leave it at that–proceed from the kitchen to then love those around you, and leave a little more learning for the next time.

(And by the way, the batch I made with using only a sourdough starter, instead of a commercial yeast, came out the best. I’ll be fiddling more with that in the future.)

All gift.

Cheers, my friends…

 

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8 thoughts on “Prosphora–All Gift

  1. Pingback: Orthodox Collective

  2. Welcome home and welcome home…from two trips. I’ve been itching to connect with you. Thank you for the beautiful reminder and photo of your prosphora bread. Truly, it is about the heart not about the impression…and everyone is blessed in a huge way. I’ve wanted to step out and bake the prosphora bread but have been afraid. Maybe I will give it a try in the coming year.

  3. Oh, I’m so glad to see this (although, I’m late on the older posts). I’m making the prosphora for our mission and I’ve been surprised how much trouble I’m having!

    I did recently try the two layers instead of one, and it worked out much better. But I’m not sure if its because of the two layers or the rolling pin (instead of just hand shaping). Another thing that I think helped is that I pierced around the seal all the way to the bottom. I read on http://prosphora.org/ that this helps in two ways – it releases any trapped air, and because the bottom is pricked (and weaker than the crust on top) if it is going to split it will split on the bottom.

    So mine have been a bit better lately, but still sometimes too moist inside. And kind of wrinkly looking (as I’m pleased to see yours is! Is that normal?) Will there be a follow up post full of tips? I couldn’t see the facebook page.

    My priest reminds me we must work hard on the bread as we do on our own lives. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts!

  4. I very randomly stumbled across your blog on the eve of the day I plan to post about Prosphora on my own blog. I’ve enjoyed the few posts I’ve read so far and am looking forward to reading more. Hope you’re having a blessed Dormition Fast!

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