Last week, the kids and I had dinner at our friend’s house where she served homemade dinner rolls. It was delicious and inspired me to make it myself. The recipe was easy enough except it required kneading for, get this, SIX to EIGHT MINUTES. People, this is ridiculous. Is this actually how breads are made in this day and age? In the 21st century? I gave it my most valiant effort of two minutes and called it good. Six to eight minutes is a freakin’ eternity when all you’re doing is kneading. I mean, that is a VERY uninteresting activity.
But it was wonderful to have the aroma of fresh bread baking wafting through the house pre-meal, and the whole family enjoyed the rolls. Homemade dinner rolls, I’m in.
On my day off today I decided to tackle another recipe from my good friend the Pioneer Woman. Jenny’s recipe was convenient in that it can be done in an hour. I thought if I tried a recipe which gave the bread more time to rise it might turn out even tastier. Here’s the recipe:
PW Dinner Rolls – No KNEADING REQUIRED!!
(emphasis mine, you can see the appeal of this recipe for me)
I don’t actually know PW, but she must be used to feeding her big hungry family because her portions are out of control. I immediately made the executive decision to half the recipe, knowing my cute tiny family will probably only eat just half of that.
If you are familiar with PW, she posts beautiful pictures detailing each step of the process. I swear to God, I followed the instructions to the T, but when the time came to roll the dough into three perfect little balls for the muffin tin,
my dough was such a sticky, gooey mess, there was no WAY that dough was going to shape itself into anything remotely similar to a sphere, it took on a personality of its own and just plastered itself relentlessly to every crevice of my hand. Oh, it was very upsetting. After many frustrating attempts, I gave up the presentation and figured if I can just somehow transfer the blob into my muffin pan and bake it, we can at least still enjoy ugly looking but hopefully tasty dinner rolls.
Oh wait, did I mention that as I meticulously made sure to measure just half of each ingredient (remember, we’re halving the recipe?) I made one tiny, teensy miscalculation? Well, not so much a miscalculation as I forgot to half the salt. So instead of ONE tablespoon, I dumped in the batter TWO. This turned out to be the deal breaker. The rolls ended up hideous in presentation but far, far worse tasting.
This is the part in my blog post where I typically derive some deeper meaning out of my mundane daily existence. In this case, I don’t have to exercise any mental gymnastics to dig for reflection. Bread is used throughout Scripture as a sign of God’s provision. YHWH provided manna for the Israelites. Jesus taught us the Kingdom of God is like yeast working its way through the dough, and ultimately declared himself as the Bread of Life.
And I’m sure there’s some spiritual lesson in here about humility (failure in the kitchen) or diligence (knead the dough, for goodness sakes) or neglect (salty rolls, anyone?) which I should absorb.
But more and more I’m learning our faith is not just about our individual piety. Being spiritual doesn’t just affect our attitudes and future destination post mortem. When Jesus offers us bread, He’s not just offering us a way to Heaven but an invitation to be a part of an exciting new world of redemption. In this newly redeemed world, mistakes are forgiven, grace is offered, and we cry a little but then laugh over failed kitchen experiments. We gather around the table and serve up three-day-old toast instead of warm fresh rolls. We pray and chuckle over “give us this day our daily bread”, but then we are sobered by remembering the people who still go hungry, without bread, in our world. And then, we might cry for real. Big, compassionate tears which moves us to advocate and act.
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
I might not have remembered to halve the salt, but I remember this. I remember Jesus.