Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Labor of Love:
Recipes for Vegan, Gluten-Free Communion Bread

Last October, I shared on this blog the story of a student's idea and commitment to do the good work of making one bread for the community to share on Sunday evenings. For our community to share one bread means that the bread has to be both vegan and gluten free. (See A Story of New Bread and New Creation: My Joy Behind the New Communion Bread at St. Francis House.) 

"...we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." 1 Cor 10:17.

As a campus minister (whose congregation worships on Sunday evenings), I have regular opportunities to visit other congregations on Sunday mornings, both in and beyond my diocese. So I encounter many creative and compassionate ways to make sure that dietary restrictions do not become obstacles to the receiving of the Eucharist. Until Emma started making bread for our community, however, I had only seen provisions for those who could not receive the "usual" bread. I had never heard anyone suggest that the "usual" bread be  one that everyone could share. 

The night Emma first proposed making the bread, she alluded to St. Paul's words about the unity of the body and the bread. Her instinct named the holy communion our community was praying to more fully learn and share as sisters and brothers in Jesus. Her willingness to give her gifts for the life of the body both embodied the Offertory moment and became a witness and model for our whole community.

Emma has since developed - deliciously so! - the simple bread that occasioned the first post. In my travels and conversations with others about life with the St. Francis Community, I find faith communities that are both inspired by the story and eager to see the recipe. The truth is, there are many recipes. And, with Emma's gracious permission, I share them here, with all of her comments attached. 

Like all good recipes, I hope you'll share these, along with the story that birthed them. I pray that these recipes can be a resource and blessing to local faith communities seeking to embody in simple and concrete ways the love and communion that God, in Christ Jesus, has given the church.


From Emma:

Hi Jonathan,

I would love to share my gluten free bread recipe! I know it is tough not to share one bread. The thing that I really wish they had, though, was a way to pass on the bread but acknowledge that you wish to receive the wine. If I go to another church, I receive a blessing and then the chalice bearer skips over me. Yet, we say that if you share in one, you share entirely.

Gluten free and vegan bread has so much to play with! There’s the flour, the sweetener for the yeast, the “milk,” and the “egg” (sometimes), and then of course the different kinds!

Here’s my recipe for non-rising bread:

1 part yeast mixture:
        1 part yeast
        2 parts water
        1 part honey or maple syrup. Our community likes honey better.
3 parts gluten free flour. Our community likes the garbanzo bean and potato starch flour blend, recipe below.

Mix the yeast mixture and hide for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325. Add in flour. Let rise for 45 minutes. Mix to remove air and bake for about 45 minutes.

For our community, a “part” is half a cup.

I really like this recipe because it comes from the Parable of the Leaven, with one part yeast and three parts flour.

Rising bread:

1 cup warm rice milk or coconut milk (full fat or regular, but not “lite")
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup. Our community likes honey better
1 packet yeast or 2 heaping teaspoons yeast
1/4 (conservative) cup of coconut oil. I usually add a little less so that I can melt it in the microwave without over flowing it and making a mess. Also, coconut oil is much more “buttery” than butter after something has cooked, so if you are adapting another recipe, be sure to add slightly less.
2 vegan “eggs” made by adding 2T flax meal mixed with 6T warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
2 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend, see below.

Preheat oven to 325. Mix the first 3 ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Melt the coconut oil and make the vegan “eggs.” Let the vegan eggs sit for 5 minutes. Mix everything together all at once to avoid clumps. Bake for about 45 minutes.

Note: This recipe is a good guess of what I do. I’m not really sure that it is exact.

Bread from package:
1 gluten free bread mix from Bob’s Red Mill
Use rice milk or coconut milk as the milk
Use slightly less coconut oil than it calls for in butter or oil.
Use a vegan “egg” for 1T flax meal and 3T warm water for each egg. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
Follow the directions on the package.

On flours:
I like to use bean based flours because they are healthier and cheaper. I don’t like to use the rice based flours because of health concerns raised about high arsenic levels and because I don’t think they make very good products. Rice flour gluten free products are often very dry and have an “off” texture to them. They work well with crescent rolls or phyllo dough. The only thing that you have to be aware of with bean flours is that they need to cook thoroughly otherwise there will be a raw bean flavor that is rather unpleasant. Bean flour products are often moist and biscuit like. They make great cinnamon rolls.

Our community’s favorite flour:
5 parts garbanzo bean flour
4 parts potato starch
4 parts sorghum flour or other “medium weight” gluten free flour, like rice flour or oat flour. I don’t like rice flour.
Bean flour and oat flour can be made in a food processor. Grind dried organic garbanzo beans in a food processor until it is a fine flour. Only add enough beans to cover the blades; do not add as many as the food processor can take. Give it a nice break afterwards; it will probably be warm. For oat flour, grind gluten free oats until they are a fine powder. Then grind it some more, you probably didn’t grind it enough. I’ve never tried to make potato starch.

On adapting recipes:
Coconut oil is a great replacement for butter or oil, but round down.
Rice milk and coconut milk (full fat or regular, but not “lite”) are a great 1-1 substitute for cow’s milk.
Vegan eggs (1T flax meal, 3 T warm water and let sit for 5 minutes) are a wonderful binder in recipes where it calls for eggs.
The gluten free flour mix that I have above may not be 1-1 in all recipes. Experiment to find out.

“All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well” Julian of Norwich

1 comment:

  1. I like to use bean based flours because they are healthier and cheaper. I don’t like to use the rice based flours because of health concerns raised about high arsenic levels and because I don’t think they make very good products.


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