When we moved into the parsonage in the small Midwest farming community we now call home, a family from our church dropped off a delicious loaf of freshly baked bread. It felt like an extravagant gift to us. We enjoy bread so much, but I've never been much of a baker. The gifted bread was baked with flour that had been ground from locally grown wheat, and it was much easier on Jason's system than mass-produced sandwich bread we usually buy from the grocery store. The experience was so positive, I decided it was time to try my hand at baking once again.
I'm always filled with low-grade nervousness when I try something again that I've failed at in the past. My personality and wiring is such that I value correctness and thus, I'm always looking for the surest way possible toward success. I want to get things right! So, I bought locally grown and milled flour and scoured websites for recipes and advice, and eventually I found a recipe that claimed to be foolproof and had the reviews to back it up. The trick I learned (that has now led to 7 successful attempts!) was to bloom the yeast for 10 minutes before adding the flour. Blooming the yeast means dissolving sugar in warm water then adding the yeast and leaving it alone to see if it bubbles up and creates a layer of foam. In doing this, you discover whether or not the yeast is alive and active and you don't waste your time or the ingredients on bread that will never rise.
Now every time I put a ball of bread dough in my lightly oiled ceramic bowl and cover it with a towel, and set my timer for an hour, instead of being skeptical and concerned, as I have in the past, I now get a twinge of excitement. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen," Hebrews 11:1. My hope now has substance! I have now repeatedly seen what happens when you combine the right ingredients in the right way and I have faith in my ability to bake bread.
Did you know that leaving dough to rise is called "proving" or "proofing" the dough. My faith in how my bread will turn out isn't blind. The rise provides proof, evidence that it will turn out, well before I ever put it in the oven. This has been such a good reminder to me that having faith does not mean taking blind leaps into the unknown. Faith is built on evidence and faith itself becomes evidence over time. Let it rise!
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!