Fasting Bread Recipe

image.pngFasting on bread and water has a long tradition in Catholic spirituality. It’s a personal devotion and goes back to Biblical times. A good spiritual discipline, fasting on bread and water is a way to connect with the meaning of Lent. This is the topic Matt Swaim, Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio, talked about this morning. Fasting is trendy right now too!
Before any fast, check with your health care professional.

Adapted from a medjugorje.orgrecipe from Sr. Emmanuels’ book “Healing through Fasting”. Really hearty and sustaining. This bread is dense with a thick crust. The flavor is fairly “wheaty” with a touch of sweetness from the honey and fruit.

This made 3 medium loaves. 
If possible, use holy water for the recipe.
3 cups white flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 to 1-1/2 cups raisins, fresh chopped apple, chopped dried apricots, figs, cherries, etc.
1 generous cup almonds, walnuts or whatever nuts you have on hand
1 tablespoon active dry yeast 
½ cup of warm water, 105-115 to proof yeast
2 cups of very hot water
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup honey 
3 tablespoons butter
1 beaten egg
Melted butter for brushing on top
Oats, sesame seeds, poppy seeds for sprinkling on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 375.
Blend flours, salt, fruit and nuts in a large bowl. (Blending fruit and nuts into flour keeps them from sinking to the bottom during baking).
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and let sit until it foams up, a few minutes.
Mix together hot water, honey, oil, butter and egg.
Pour into flour mixture along with yeast mixture and mix well. 
Dump out onto floured surface and knead several minutes until bread feels a bit like a baby’s bottom, smooth and soft.
Divide into 3 portions and shape each into a ball.
Place on sprayed parchment lined cookie sheets. I made mounds about 5” across and 1-1/2” or so high. 
Flatten a tiny bit and then cut a cross into each.
Brush all over with melted butter and then, if you want, sprinkle with toppings or leave plain.
Bake on center rack of oven 30 minutes or so, until skewer inserted deep into center comes out clean.
Let cool and enjoy!
Freezes well
Flour – a reminder of the manna given by God to the Hebrews during their forty years in the desert as Moses led them to the promised land. 
Yeast– unifying many parts into one; a symbol of the the kingdom of heaven and of the Church.
Salt – Christ said to his Apostles: “You are the salt of the earth.”
Water – Giving life to all things; a symbol of baptism; cleansing. Lenten penances aid the washing away our sins. “He who drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst.” Jn 4: 14
Olive Oil – Acclaimed throughout history as a source of strength, olive oil is used by the Church in the Holy Oils applied in sacramental anointing.
Honey – When honey is warmed up, it flows easily. A reminder of how Jesus’ blood flowed on the cross. 
Holy Water – Holy water carries a blessing just by its use and when introduced with the sign of the cross how could this not be an ingredient of fasting bread for lent?
Fruits and nuts – Found in abundance from prolific trees are reminders of Christ’s command to go forth and “produce good fruit;” Like the fruit of good works and fasting during Lent. Jn 15:16


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