Celebrating the Commonplace


"The bread that we break is a communion (koinonia) with the body of Christ.  The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body, because we all have a share in this one loaf."

1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Altar Bread Recipe

 4 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp. double-acting, or 8 tsp. single-acting baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pure oil  (we used extra virgin olive oil)
Honeyed water - 1/2 cup each honey, milk, water

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.  Then pour in the honeyed water.  You may have to warm the honey to get it into liquid form.   Be sure to mix the oil with the honeyed water before pouring it into the bowl.   Do not pour all the honeyed water into the mixture, only as much as is needed to make a smooth, soft dough, not too sticky to handle.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed it gently.  Then roll out the dough to the desired thickness.  We find that about 3/16 of an inch works well for us.  Then cut the dough into the desired size and shape.  Use a metal soup bowl which measures about six inches across.  This size is enough for 25 to 60 communicants.  We also make other sizes for different services.  This bread leaves little in the way of crumbs and is quite adaptable to the number of communicants.

Before putting into the oven, we cut a cross into the surface of the dough.  This facilitates the breaking of the bread into four quarters, and thus others can help the celebrant to break the required number of pieces.  The cross is best cut by a knife having a serrated edge.  Use the knife also to smooth out the outer edge, by patting it with the side of the knife.  Place the breads (this batch easily makes 9 pieces) onto slightly greased baking pans or baker's stone, and put into the oven at about 400 degrees.  It should take from 10 to 15 minutes to bake.   Let the bread cool for about 1 hour.

Then wrap individual pieces into cellophane, and refrigerate.   Take it out about 1 hour before using.  They can be put into freezer bags and stored in the freezer, taking out the amount which will be used the night beforehand.

We suggest that the one who does the above be in a pleasant, happy mood.   Take your time.  Don't rush.  Smile and do it with love.  After all, the Lord is there watching you prepare the very bread He is going to change into His body.   Speak to God, at least in your heart.  Thank the Lord that your creative work is going to be consecrated into the Body of Christ.  And then at communion, you can let a little holy pride come over you as you see what happens to your labor of love.

Edited version of instructions from The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia.