Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mush the Bag

How well do you follow instructions? Come on, be honest. If truth be told, I am a little bit bad at it!!! Mostly in the kitchen. Yet, I keep coming back for more. I love to bake, I’m just terrible at it and I think it is only a little bit funny that I can mess up even the simplest of recipes.

A nice lady whose son is in my middle man’s kindergarten class brought me a starter of Amish Bread the day before spring break started. She also gave me a loaf of already completed bread. Yummy! I wasn’t kidding about her being nice! I got home and the bread & starter sat – forgotten – on the counter for the next while. Later on, I walked by and thought shoot! Better do something with it. So, I tossed it in the fridge. The next day, I looked at it and read the instructions which clearly said DON’T refrigerate. Hmmm, didn’t take me long to mess that up! See? I’m a magnet!

Amish bread is a 10 day affair. For 8 of those 10 days, the instructions are; “Mush the Bag”. That’s it. So, I’ve been mushing. I’m not sure if I’ve already messed it up, but we’ll see. On day 5, I had to add a few things, and then the next day goes back to mushing etc. Pretty simple.

Apparently only the Amish know the starter recipe, so if I bung this up, I’m really hooped unless someone gives me more some day.

The magic ingredient here would be yeast. I can smell it and I can see its effects, so I know its there, even though I did not add it.

Funny thing - yeast. It continually grows as it feeds. If it has a steady food supply, it can just keep growing, even though the initial bit may have been soooo super tiny. I have no clue who may have originally started this mixture I was to mush daily, but that yeast has been on a journey. Little things that are properly nurtured will grow.

The movie Pay it Forward follows a kid who “Get’s it!” A little bit of the right stuff can go a long way.

Biblically speaking, Jesus left one of his disciples with a mandate “Feed my sheep”. So often in Christian circles, this is claimed to mean Christ followers are to go out and cover the spiritual needs of the world. Personally, I think that too many churches do just that. They focus on the spiritual, but forget about the physical. Really, couldn’t Jesus have actually SERIOUSLY meant to feed the sheep?

In terms of sheep, I think it is safe to assume Jesus is talking about people – the references to himself as the shepherd are frequent & clear.

I do find myself very frustrated that this little bit of instruction while seemingly so obvious, is often forgotten. Jesus realized he couldn’t teach spiritual things to those who were hungry. He managed to make a few loaves of bread & small fish spread to feed thousands!! Miraculous? Most definitely, but also worth noting is that he knew that physical needs must be met first in order for spiritual needs to be able to flourish.

A little bit goes a long way. The simple touch is often the best!

So, back to my instructions. I am off by one day on my bread mushing. I added the extra flour, sugar & milk a day late. I need to count where I’m at, but I think today I may need to actually do some final steps and then bake it.


  1. I love that bread and I have done it before making a few mistakes along the way and it still worked out...kinda like life!

    I hope you get to bake, eat and enjoy soon :-)

  2. I have never been successful with sourdough bread. I guess following directions is really not my thing.

    I do think Jesus meant "feed" literally and I've also often thought that he meant communion to be an actual meal. I really think it was intended to be a meal where everybody (regardless of economic and social status) sits together and everyone is fed.