Nutrition InformationRecipes

Fasting and the bread that goes with it

Ah, Lent.  So many people dread it.  Others use it as a diet (can’t say I haven’t done that in the past… one year I even used it to learn how to use ChooseMyPlate.com.  Oops.).

Fasting bread | foodsciencenerd.com

But after a few years of giving up sweets (for multiple reasons, mainly my dependence on them at night, but also because I should, as a dietitian, be a good example), it kind of seemed too easy.  Weird, I know, but I guess that was the point.  I’m not dependent on them, and I know it.  It’s just easier to actually cut them out of my life when I’m doing it for JC.  So I also cut out beer and liquor, which is considerably harder.  Why not wine too?  Well, it has Biblical significance (a stretch, I know), health benefits (beyond those of other alcohol), and a priest-friend told me not to (most convincing).  As an apartment, my roommates and I gave up secular music too, but considering my penchant with Josh Groban (who we determined is not secular for the most part), Matt Maher, Les Mis, and Bach, that’s not really that hard for me.

Aaaaanyway, the reason I was writing this is to muse about the two days of complete fasting for Catholics (technically, we can still eat three small meals, but I think that’s cheating).  Last week was Ash Wednesday, the first of the two.  All I craved, out of everything I saw everyone else eating, was roasted veggies.  You know you’re a dietitian when…  So I broke the fast with a giant bowl of salted edamame.  Best meal of my life.  And really, other than feeling dehydrated (lack of electrolytes), the fasting wasn’t that hard this time around… receiving the Eucharist halfway through the day definitely helped!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway, the actual reason I’m putting this on a food blog is because many of my friends are doing a complete bread-and-water fast on Wednesdays and Fridays (and you thought I was crazy).  They’ve been buying rolls for the past few weeks, but tomorrow we’re having a bake sale, so I made fasting bread (it’s a specific thing) for the people doing the fast and/or giving up sweets.  I got this recipe from the blog Catholic Cuisine.

Delicious and 'holy'
Delicious and ‘holy’
Fasting Bread
(makes 40 rolls)

Ingredients: 

  • 3 1/2cups Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1Tbs. Sugar
  • 3 Tbs. Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 cups Luke Warm Water
  • 1/2 cup 100% Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Oats – soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 2 minutes
  • 1 cup Pecan or Walnut pieces – broken and skillet toasted 2 min
  • 1 cup Dried Cherries or Raisins – soaked 5 min in 1/4 cup hot water

Directions:

  1. Combine the first three dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk.

  2. Clear a small area in the center of the dry blend.

  3. Add sugar, dry yeast, and the 2 cups of warm water. Let stand for 3 minutes until yeast proofs and forms bubbles. Combine with flour mixture and liquid. This will be thick but more liquid comes later.

  4. Add maple syrup and olive oil. Stir mixture until well blended.

  5. Add walnuts and/or pecans and raisins and/or cherries with their liquid.

  6. Add soaked oats to the flour mixture.

  7. Blend everything together in one bowl.

  8. Turn out onto a floured board and knead by hand for 10-12 minutes adding more flour as needed to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead the dough by flattening somewhat and fold-in from the outside towards the center. Press down hard on the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat the process until smooth and elastic and form a “ball.”

  9. Return the “ball” to the mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cover and let rise 1 hour.

It's like the loaves and fishes... only bacterial.
It’s like the loaves and fishes… only bacterial.
  1. Remove to a floured board and kneed several more times as above. Divide into 2 oz pieces.
Oh heeeey there gluten matrix. Isn't it beautiful? (Nerd alert!)
Oh heeeey there gluten matrix. Isn’t it beautiful? (Nerd alert!)
  1. Place each piece on a cookie sheet coated with olive oil. Drizzle rolls again with olive oil, cover and let rise for another hour. Olive oil produces a tasty crust.

  2. Slash loaf tops and let proof for another 30 minutes.

Slashed precooked rolls
Slashed cooked rolls.
  1. Bake in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until brown on top and bottom. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

  2. Remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.

Not only are these rolls symbolic, they also contain all the essential nutrients you need to survive.  Between the walnuts, whole wheat, oats, salt, olive oil, and dried fruit, there are all the bare essential fatty acids, complete proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.  Pretty cool!  And they’re super delicious… I ate two as a snack and I’m not even fasting!

Fasting Bread

Fasting Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat lour
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups luke warm water
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup oats, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 2 minutes
  • 1 cup pecan or walnut pieces, toasted briefly
  • 1 cup dried fruit pieces, soaked 5 min in 1/4 cup hot water

Directions

  1. Combine the first three dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
  2. Clear a small area in the center of the dry blend.
  3. Add sugar, dry yeast, and the 2 cups of warm water. Let stand for 3 minutes until yeast proofs and forms bubbles. Combine with flour mixture and liquid. This will be thick but more liquid comes later.
  4. Add maple syrup and olive oil. Stir mixture until well blended.
  5. Add walnuts and/or pecans and raisins and/or cherries with their liquid.
  6. Add soaked oats to the flour mixture.
  7. Blend everything together in one bowl.
  8. Turn out onto a floured board and knead by hand for 10-12 minutes adding more flour as needed to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead the dough by flattening somewhat and fold-in from the outside towards the center. Press down hard on the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat the process until smooth and elastic and form a “ball.”
  9. Return the “ball” to the mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cover and let rise 1 hour.
  10. Remove to a floured board and kneed several more times as above. Divide into 2 oz pieces.
  11. Place each piece on a cookie sheet coated with olive oil. Drizzle rolls again with olive oil, cover and let rise for another hour. Olive oil produces a tasty crust.
  12. Slash loaf tops and let proof for another 30 minutes.
  13. Bake in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until brown on top and bottom. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
  14. Remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.
http://www.foodsciencenerd.com/fasting-and-the-bread-that-goes-with-it/

12 thoughts on “Fasting and the bread that goes with it

  1. So, can you recommend a protein-y substitute for those of us allergic to tree nuts? Could I throw in some ground flaxseed at some point, or would that throw things off?

    1. Great question! Any kind of seed would be a good substitute- pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds would be great, but flax/chia/hemp would work too!

    1. I don’t, because I generally don’t focus on carbohydrate intake, but if this bread is being used on fasting days, then the carbs it contains are very important to keep up your energy!

  2. I made this recipe today. I’ve never had bread made especially for fasting before so I have nothing to compare but this is pretty tasty even without butter! I wanted to try a variety of forms so from this one batch I made a 2-lb. loaf, 2 mini loaves (@ about 12 oz.), plus 15 rolls (on one cookie sheet). Next time I’d bake at 350 degrees as the tops of my loaves got a bit dark. I estimate the total baked weight at 4.3 lb. and my cost for ingredients about $8.50 or about $2/lb. I found one site that sells fasting bread for about $8/lb. so this is a big savings. I started Fr. Rick Heilman’s Nineveh 90 for Life along with 50,000 other people on Jan. 1 (Google it!) which requires fasting on bread and water only on Wednesdays and Fridays for 90 days. I figure one batch should provide enough bread for 9 fast days. Since this is for a spiritual purpose, I used Blessed Salt and a few drops of Holy Water in the recipe. This week we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus who is Our Lord and Savior so I hope in the future you would spell out His name and not put just His initials. God bless you!

  3. This is Great! Thanks! Ill use it for fasting! and i died at “It’s like the loaves and fishes… only bacterial.”

    1. Good question! I do not, because I don’t advocate for gluten-free diets (unless it’s a medical necessity of course), and, quite frankly, because gluten-free baking is a science that is slightly outside my scope of knowledge! I would say that this is a pretty hardy recipe, so I bet any gluten-free flour mix would work well. Bonus points if it’s a whole-grain GF mix 🙂

  4. What about gluten-free fasting bread – I’m not finding anything out there … and BTW, thanks for your very out-there-open-and-honest admittance to fasting … we’re a rare breed it seems :-)!

    1. Good question! I do not, because I don’t advocate for gluten-free diets (unless it’s a medical necessity of course), and, quite frankly, because gluten-free baking is a science that is slightly outside my scope of knowledge! I would say that this is a pretty hardy recipe, so I bet any gluten-free flour mix would work well. Bonus points if it’s a whole-grain GF mix 🙂

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