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"PENNSYLVANIA ALTAR BREAD"

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  • 7/8 cup lukewarm water (210 ml), the water should be about 110 degrees┬░
  • 3 Tbsps honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour, unsifted
"An earthy whole-wheat bread used for communion."

In Pittsburgh and other Western Pennsylvania parishes of the Episcopal church, it is common to use small, thin loaves of real, fresh, home-made bread at communion instead of the pressed wafers popular in most other places. The bread has a chewy texture to it, keeps tremendously well, and makes a great lunchbox food (each "loaf'' is about the size of a large cookie).

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Combine yeast and water in a bowl appropriate for mixing. Add honey, olive oil, and salt. Add flour. If flour does not completely moisten, add small amounts of water until all of the flour is moist. Be sparing with the water.

Turn out onto a very delicately flour-covered surface, and knead well for 5 minutes until dough is extremely stretchy.

Sprinkle a tiny amount of olive oil in a big bowl, then roll the dough in it until the dough is covered with olive oil. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a linen cloth, and let rise with love and patience for half an hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350┬░F.

Punch the dough down and knead again for a brief moment. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin, as if you were making a pizza crust, to a thickness of 1/4 inch.

Using something like a large peanut butter jar or a giant cookie cutter, cut out 4-inch circles of the dough and lift them onto a slightly-oiled baking sheet. Press a cross into the top surface of each so that it can be easily broken apart.

Bake the loaves, on a baking sheet, in an oven that has been preheated for approximately ten minutes (be patient, you rascal).

You can freeze these loaves easily; either place them in single-serving Ziploc bags and use them for school lunches, or freeze a bunch in a large food-storage bag.

Fr. Bill Coats
Church of the Redeemer
Pittsburgh, PA




Submitted by Tess M Nov 22, 2009 5 stars based on 1 reviews 15 min 30 min 45 min
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