Cooler weather is a great time to bake bread…and it’s not as hard as you might think. This family devotional is a great way to teach your kids some important biblical principles, spend time together cooking and then have fresh, hot bread to eat or share.
Although there are a lot of Bible stories involving bread, for this devotional, we are focusing on a common ingredient of bread…yeast. The Bible actually talks about yeast in two different ways, but the same principle applies…a tiny bit of yeast can have a big impact.
Before you gather your kids, make sure you have all of the ingredients and baking equipment you will need. You will be making two batches of bread…one with yeast and one without. The recipes are slightly different because yeast breads tend to have extra ingredients. To be authentic and cook actual breads from Bible times would require lots of flours we normally don’t use in baking. These recipes call for white flour, but you could substitute a more rustic flour…the flavor will just be different.
Read Matthew 13:33. Jesus told this parable comparing yeast to the kingdom of heaven. A small amount of leaven added to bread yields more bread. Yeast is an organism. When you sprinkle it on warmed milk or sugar water, if you watch it carefully, you can actually watch it multiply. In fact you may want to do that with the yeast for the bread recipe that includes yeast. Show your kids how it is multiplying. The gases produced by the yeast are what makes bread dough with yeast double in size in just a few hours. In this parable, Jesus is telling the Apostles that the church will begin small, but grow rapidly as if it were bread dough with yeast in it.
Now read Matthew 16:5-12. In this case, Jesus is using the example of yeast as a bad thing. Thankfully, he explains his meaning to the Apostles. The teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees were not what God wanted. Jesus was warning his Apostles that if they paid attention to these teachings, the problems they caused would be like yeast…spreading throughout everything they were trying to do for God.
If your kids are interested, you can discuss other passages about yeast like 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, Exodus 12:39, Deuteronomy 16:1-4, and Luke 13:20-21. As you are reading and discussing the passages, you can begin making the two types of bread. The unleavened bread should go in the oven as soon as the dough is completed. The dough with yeast will have to rise for several hours before baking.
When the yeast dough has doubled in size, call your kids back together. Explain that these Bible stories show how easily something that seems small can actually have a huge impact either good or bad. And sometimes, once that thing has worked it’s way into every area of our lives, it can be almost impossible to remove. That is why we must be so careful about even the small things we allow to influence us.
Show your kids the risen dough. Ask them what they could do to get rid of the impact the yeast has had on the dough. They may suggest pushing it flat again. If they have more than one idea, let them try it out on various pieces of the dough. You can make rolls with their different ideas and place them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. You can write the method on the parchment paper under the roll, so you can keep them straight after baking.
Regardless of what they tried, the baked rolls will still have more height than the unleavened bread. The impact of the yeast is still there. Remind them that they can be like the good yeast in the first scripture and help spread God’s kingdom or they can allow the bad yeast from others influence them to make bad choices. Ask them to think of real world examples of each type of yeast today.
Your family can enjoy the breads or if they turned out well, you may want to share them with others.