Bread- Sweat, Burp & Guts!

Yesterday, my 8 year old kids made bread.

As we were munching on the delicious baked bread we ended up watching videos of budding yeast.  The discussions veered to the fact that all kids at the school cafeteria are “drinking beer for lunch” because beer is basically liquid bread, or bread is solid beer. There was also much jostling to be heard above the din when the discussions moved to the fact that the secret to bread making is the yeasts sweat and burp (fermentation), and starch guts (gluten)!!

The creation of bread parallels agriculture and the Egyptian who was tending the beer fell asleep in the hot, Egyptian sun, and it turned into bread. It is so deeply embedded in the human psyches that bread is used as a symbol of life. 

Bread is also a symbol of transformation- similar to a caterpillar turning into butterfly.  The Scholastics and the Ancients have suggested that all things can be understood on four levels:  the literal, the metaphoric or poetic level, the political or ethical level and then the mystical or “anagogic” level. Dante says that one cannot understand the three deeper levels unless one understands the literal.

Peter Reinhart eloquently echoes these thoughts by the Ancients and connects the literal process of breadmaking to the higher levels of thinking.


May your crust be crisp, and your bread always rise!




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