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Unleavened Bread for Communion (Wheat Crackers)

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I started making the communion bread for our small Church when I was a fairly new Christian in 2008.  Since I love to bake, it was natural for me to volunteer and once I started making it, I refused offers of help until my dear sisters in Christ threw their hands up in defeat and I became the sole communion bread-maker!  I didn’t intend for this to happen, but I can’t say that I’m sad about it.  As I said, I love to bake, and baking for Christ is the ne plus ultra!

For most of that time I was basically using my favorite pie crust recipe with a little bit of sugar, some extra flour, and I worked it a lot more to reduce the flakiness and mess when each person broke off a piece.  This seems to be common among the Churches I have visited–basically using small rounds of baked pie crust as the communion bread for the Lord’s supper.

This year I changed the recipe to omit sugar because I finally came to understand that the Passover bread that Jesus was passing at the table during his last meal would not have contained honey (refer to Leviticus 2:11), so we can draw the conclusion that any type of sweetener was most likely not included. Changing the recipe this small bit made me think about it a little more, and I could not fathom how it came to be over the centuries that the plain unleavened bread that was served at Passover had come to be more of a pie crust with either shortening or butter (I used both) rather than liquid oil.  I have not done enough research to know exactly how they made the bread, and perhaps that has been lost to time, but based on Leviticus 7:12 and 2:13, I do know that it contained flour, oil and salt.  So I used this very plain recipe to create a satisfying communion bread that makes me feel closer to Jesus when I partake, as I imagine it is similar to what he and his apostles ate during his last meal, and my sensitivity to salt makes me very aware of it and brings to mind Jesus’s blood and sweat and how he suffered for us as he hung on the cross.

<moment of reflective silence>

This bread is actually quite tasty and you could also use it for your homemade crackers.  It would be fabulous with creamy dips!  I included a bit of whole wheat flour for a more nutty flavor, but it could easily be changed to all white flour if you want white crackers.  If you are using this recipe for communion bread and want to get really authentic, I would say using all whole wheat flour, stone ground, would be better but you might need to add some extra water in this case.

This is my submission for the BSI contest.  Thank you so much to the early birds who have already submitted their recipes that include flour.  I hope to see more of them!  Remember, you don’t have to have a blog or picture of your recipe to enter and all submissions are due by Sunday, August 15, 2010, at 5:00 pm CST .  I will post a roundup of all the submissions and announce the winner Sunday night.  So send your links or recipes to vraklis at yahoo dot com or leave a link in the comment form below.  Thanks!

Unleavened Bread (Wheat Crackers)
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil (I like to use olive oil, but vegetable or canola will work)
4-8 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Mix together well, preferably in a food processor, the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and oil. Add 4 tablespoons water and mix well. Gradually add more water, mixing after each addition, until mixture forms a compact ball. I usually need 7 tablespoons but your climate and humidity may require less or more to get the desired consistency. If it seems too sticky to handle, add more flour.  Divide the dough in half.

Sprinkle a work surface with flour, then press and roll one ball of dough to about 1/8th inch thick. I do this on a sheet of parchment the size of my baking pan and have my husband hold the paper while I roll. Try to get it fairly uniform. If the dough is too dry to roll out, return it to the food processor and add a little more water. If necessary to prevent sticking, dust your hands and the rolling-pin with a little more flour.

Put the rolled-out dough on a baking sheet dusted with a little flour (if you’ve used parchment paper, transfer dough and paper to baking sheet) and prick all over with a fork. Bake 10 – 15 minutes, until somewhat brown.

Cool and break into pieces and repeat with the second half of the dough. If making several batches, mix another while the first one bakes. You can re-use the parchment paper several times.

Recipe source: adapted from recipetips.com

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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

31 responses »

  1. I love this post Veronica. This is a very simple bread, cracker recipe. I love it. I hope you get to feeling better. ~Hugs ~Cheryl

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    • I’m glad you liked the post! I’m still feeling yucky but the fever is on the way down–it peaked at 99.5 and was 99 last I checked. I’m drinking lots of water!

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  2. Erin from Long Island

    This is really interesting. I never knew of anyone actually making communion stuff. In my church, they had these dry cardboard-like circle wafer thingies that stuck to the roof of your mouth or the back of your throat. This sounds really nice to nosh on!

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    • I have seen those wafers in movies and wondered about them. Are they sweet? Are they actually just a really flat bread? I always imagined they were like a sweet mint but that’s not how it sounds in your description! I think a lot of Churches probably buy their bread but there’s no reason why it can’t be made by hand.

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      • Erin from Long Island

        It looks like it is commercially made. It literally tastes like cardboard from what I remember. I guess it is just flour and water. I always thought it was supposed to taste like crap!

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        • LOL! Well, I don’t know if it is SUPPOSED to taste bad, but it’s very plain and not all that jazzy. Still I think that it is still quite tasty when made by hand. Sorry you had such a bad experience! I’m pretty sure you were raised Catholic?

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  3. Out of all the unleavened bread recipes you tried this is my favorite.

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  4. Very beautiful blog Veronica. I am going to make this later today for my spinach artichoke dip…. since Dennis approves… :) Might even add some parmesean cheese and pepper. Thank you, you must have been reading my mind yesterday!

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  5. Kim is making me hungry with her spinach artichoke comment…lol! These sound great Veronica, your fellow church members are lucky to have you :) I didn’t know you were sick, hope you’re feeling better!

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    • Thanks, Suzie. It’s good to hear from you! I came down with some random symptoms yesterday including fever & chills (fever only went to 101), headache, sore/stiff neck, cold hands and feet, accelerated heart rate (went from 60/min to 100/min). I didn’t know what was going on so I Googled my symptoms and of course they all fit with an illness that only 50% of people survive! That royally freaked me out but I closed my eyes and concentrated on how I felt and although it was lousy, I didn’t feel so bad that I was too worried so I didn’t go to the ER. The fever broke at noon today so I’m glad I didn’t waste my time/money. I’m still feeling yucky but so much better! I guess I just had a virus or something.

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  6. That’s pretty amazing that you make the bread for communion at church! I’ve always loved the taste of it, now I’ll have to give it a try!

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  7. Erin from Long Island

    Oh, I forgot to mention that this reminds me of an experiment I did. I had found a website about dogs and homemade treats so I tried a simple one with flours, eggs, oil, milk, salt and…hmm…I forget now but it was really yummy and I ate more of it then the dog!

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    • I love you for making your dog treats! I haven’t made Jessie treats in over a year–I’m a bad Mom! So were yours like dry biscuits or were they softer like a human cookie? I want to make some more recipes because Jessie used to like the peanut butter ones I made but she’s over them now.

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      • Erin from Long Island

        they were somewhere between a thick cracker and a flat bread. they were kind moist, but not doughy. I’ll see if I can find the recipe. Just dont give Jessie too many!

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  8. Those homemade crackers look very yummy, a nice recipe!

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  9. Wow! How very wonderful =)

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  10. My BSI turned out really good! I am just about to put it into caloriecount to get the stats – I’ll link to it tomorrow! :D

    Have a good night! :D

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  11. trying to follow you on twitter but cant find your name

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  12. Pingback: Breads

  13. Pingback: Fun with Pie Dough « Veronica's Cornucopia

  14. I do a similar recipe, but I add freshly ground coriander seed–I do it in a coffee grinder. I also vary the flours–I use a total of 5 cups of flour, so about 3-1/2 of those are unbleached white flour, 1 cup is whole wheat, and 1/2 cup is a mix of ground flaxseed and fresh ground barley. I use 2 Tablespoons of coriander seed and grind it. I also use olive oil and sea salt. These ingredients were all in use in Bible times, and give the bread it a rich, nutty taste. Looks a lot like yours, just maybe a bit darker.

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    • That is very interesting, I might try this! Especially the barley. I’m not sure about coriander, but we really do not know for sure what they used in the Passover bread. It may have been different in different regions, and if it was commonly used, it makes sense it would work its way into Passover bread too. Thanks for the ideas!

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  15. Question – Why not olive oil? When you said “oil” I just assumed it would be olive. I was quite surprised to see that was not your choice.

    I have made several batches of matzah (sp?) bread. The first one I mistakenly added salt, and it was super, super hard! Like fear of breaking teeth hard! Yikes. I’ve made it twice since then, each time getting better. It is very, very simple, and I think similar enough to your recipe that some may be interested.

    Fire the oven up to the highest setting. Mine goes up to 500*F. If you have baking tiles, bake on them. I don’t. I have a large stone-like thing sitting on the bottom rack, and then I place the rolled out dough on a pizza pan which has holes in it for better crust cooking.

    I mix the dough and roll it out while the oven pre-heats. The recipe couldn’t be simpler!

    3 parts flour (I greatly prefer whole wheat)
    1 part water.

    Full stop! ;) heheh

    I kneed this by hand, form into a long tube (or tubes) and then tear off little bits, roll into a rough ball-shape in the palm of my hands, and then roll them out thin and flat. If I want larger “pizza sized” pieces of bread/cracker I start with a ball about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger. If I want smaller bite-size waffers, I start with a very small ball perhaps the size of a marble. Even the size of a dime rolls out to a fairly large waffer for being “bite sized” so perhaps half that size would be best if that is the goal.

    At any rate, this simple recipe is quite good. I saw a YouTube video showing a bunch of people getting together is a large church kitchen and making a bunch of this break together. I had the sense that it fostered a sense of community among them. Something for a church to consider, if they have a large enough kitchen for this. And it is so simple of a recipe it seems to be even little kids could lend a hand a feel they too are contributing.

    Regarding oil…. If anyone can think of any citations for potential Passover bread recipes I think that would be interesting to post here. A Jewish prof. off handedly mentioned matzah bread during a lecture, and this is where I first learned the traditional unleavened bread contains only water and flour. So I’d be quite interested to hear of sources who cite oil and salt as additional ingredients.

    And happy baking! For myself, I do prefer to bake my own Eucharist bread.

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    • I forgot to mention the hole-poking! Very important ;) Gotta poke a lot of small holes in the rolled out dough before cooking, other wise it will get all puffy! (I’m sure all of you already know this, but it should still be pointed out, for completeness.)

      I also did not specify cooking time at 500*F. I find somewhere about 5-mins. Each oven can differ, so I think I’d suggest just checking it every minute or two the first couple times, until you get a feel for this in your own kitchen.

      I find which rack I place them on also matters, and how many pans I have in the over too. So I find just looking for the edges to start getting nice and toasty brown works best for me.

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    • Thanks for pointing that out-I actually do prefer to use olive oil now but when I first started making this, I just automatically went with a flavorless oil, fearing a funky flavor. But olive oil is likely what they used in Biblical times, therefore making a closer unleavened bread to what Jesus might have eaten during his last supper. Besides, it tastes great! Thank you for the matzah recipe-I will try that one next! Esp since like you referred to at the end, there is no proof they used anything other than water and flour. I’m too lazy to look now but I remember reading something about salt for grain in Leviticus, but it’s a stretch to think that it was referring to unleavened bread…though not impossible.

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  16. Pretty interesting, I have read most of the bible and everything about the food is just fascinating.

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