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A Little Leaven

“What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?  It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Luke 13:20-21 NIV

It’s not every day my baking project ends up in the trash. Those certainly aren’t the days I share on social media. And you won’t see pictures of my flops. This time, however? I’m kind of wishing I’d kept a picture.

Sourdough Bread, Anyone?

Loaf of sourdough bread and rolls in a basket with a knife ready to cut for sandwiches

I’ve been on a kick making all sorts of breads. I did well with my Soft Butter Rolls. My Challah Bread was divine. And I’ve made any number of sweet breads that worked out beautifully, as well.

So far I’ve conquered a great many breads that start with packaged yeast, like the ones mentioned above. I usually work with fast-rise, which is perfect for impatient people like me.

That said, I’ve been itching to make sourdough bread, which uses a completely different process to rise. It still requires leavening, but you can’t buy that leavening in a tiny package. You have to make it from scratch.

Is Sourdough Complicated?

You’ll notice there’s still no sourdough recipe on my site. There’s a reason for that. Turns out, it’s a bit more complex than the average bread.

Sourdough starts with “starter.” Basically, starter is just a combination of water and flour that had been allowed to ferment over a period of many days.

When constructed properly, it works in similar fashion to yeast, but brings a depth of flavor and texture to the bread that you simply can’t get from a packaged leavening agent.

Keeping your starter alive is key. You have to keep feeding it. But once you get it to that point, you can use it to puff up a lovely loaf of sourdough.

And this, my friends, is where things can go awry.

Where Did I Go Wrong?

I started with someone else’s starter. And, having never used it before, didn’t realize I was supposed to keep feeding it in the days leading up to my baking project.

Had I known this, I would have taken better care of it.

Instead, I dumped the dead starter into my bowl along with the other ingredients and hoped for the best.

This time, I didn’t get what I hoped for.

When the Bread Doesn’t Rise

food, cooking and baking concept – close up of yeast bread dough rising at bakery

An hour went by and I checked on my dough ball, expecting it to have doubled in size. (That’s the norm when I use packaged yeast.)

Instead, this lump of dough was pretty much the same size it had been when I started.

I moved it to a slightly warmer place and left it for fifteen more minutes.

It still seemed pretty flat, but I decided to pop it into the oven. Maybe the heat would work a miracle.

It didn’t.

That lump of dough came out of the oven exactly the same size as when it went in. It never browned, it never took on the shape or look of bread, it never. . .anything.

The Sourdough Ended on a Sour Note

I’ve been thinking a lot about that bread in the days since the-big-flop, especially as it relates to my spiritual walk. Sometimes the Bible uses the word yeast in a negative connotation, to represent sin.

However, in Luke 13 we find an interesting parable that Jesus shared about yeast.

“What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?  It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

As a believer, I need to keep my faith active and alive, just like that starter. If I forget to nurture my faith, if I let it die, the whole “batch of dough” (as it were) will fall flat.

In other words, my testimony will fall flat.

The World Needs Hope

Wheat in the hands. Harvest time, agricultural background

I don’t know about you but I’ve been so excited to see the recent news out of Asbury College, where students are in revival.

They are keeping the leavening alive.

And guess what? It’s growing. And spreading. And others are inspired to draw closer to God, to increase their faith, too.

That’s how yeast works. It doesn’t take much, but when kept alive and healthy, it can make all the difference in the world.

Things to Ponder:

How’s your spiritual yeast? Is it active and alive?

How can you draw closer to God today, to keep your faith growing?

Let’s Pray

Lord, we’re so excited to see how You’re moving in the earth in these precarious times. Thank You for those who are drawing close to You and fanning the flame, so that others can come to know You. That’s my desire today, Lord, to keep my faith active, so that I can be effective for You. Use me, I pray. Amen.

Dee Vargas

Sunday 19th of February 2023

It's so awesome to see young people singing and praising the Lord, this is just what the sad state of the world today needs. May it spread far and wide and become a giant fireball of glory!!!

p.s. I was looking for a banana bread recipe and came across your recipe that uses mayo, can I just say I'll never make banana bread any other delicious. I threw my other recipes for banana bread away. Girl you rock!!! God bless you, love your devotions.


Sunday 19th of February 2023

Yes, praise the Lord! I'm so glad we're seeing revival! (And thanks for the kind words about the banana bread with mayonnaise!)


Saturday 18th of February 2023

Love what you said about keeping our "faith active " it can go dormant if we're not careful. Thank you for listening (and writing a blog about) the words the Lord puts on your heart! ??


Saturday 18th of February 2023

Thank you for reading!

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