16 August 2013

Yeast, Fermentation and Raising Children

I absolutely love the smell of yeast! In my previous posting, I shared my passion for baking bread the artisan way.

One of the highlights of baking bread is the measuring of the fresh, crumbly yeast, then pouring the lukewarm water over it and watch how it dissolves in the water.  

I’m fascinated by yeast and it’s role in the bread baking process.  Yeast is unquestionably the key ingredient in making bread, through the fermentation process.

There are two distinctive phases during the fermentation of dough made with only flour, water, salt and yeast, with no added sugars:

During the first phase the yeast ferments the naturally present sugars in the flour, which can be directly and easily assimilated;

The second phase corresponds to the fermentation of a specific sugar in flour, called maltose, through the action of some enzymes, the amylases. 

The amylase enzyme split starch into much simpler sugars, called maltose. With the help of another enzyme of yeast, maltase, the maltose is then split in the most simple sugar, glucose. 

It is only then that the glucose can be transformed into carbon dioxide and alcohol. 

The two main ingredients responsible for the characteristic light and airy texture in bread.

Interesting when sucrose or glucose (sugar) is added to the basic ingredients to bake bread, they are directly fermented before maltose (phase one), which means in such a dough mainly sucrose and/or glucose are consumed by the yeast. As a result maltose, naturally available in flour, is not consumed as effectively and the bread doesn’t have a distinct characteristic sweet taste, due to only partial consumption of the maltose.

I also noticed something else. Being over 40 I struggled big time with insulin resistance when consuming starch, and then specifically bread. Since I’m baking our bread with only flour, water, salt and yeast, with no added sugar, I started to loose the weight I struggled to do for two years, after three miscarriages. It just might be due to consumption of all the maltose in phase two of the fermentation process. Transforming the maltose into carbon dioxide and alcohol, which evaporate during the baking process.

When thinking of yeast as the driving force behind fermentation and how it allows a dense mass of flour and water to be transformed into a well-risen loaf of bread, which nourish and satisfy us humans, it is not surprising that there are more than 31 passages in the Bible on yeast, of which 7 are in the New Testament. These passages are either parables by Jesus or comparisons by Paul on yeast and it’s spiritual meaning.

Sadly, as much as I am fascinated by yeast, in the Word of God, yeast is symbolic of sin. When taking into account how only a small amount of yeast can have such a crucial effect on dough, it is no wonder Jesus warns us about the effect of only a little sin (leaven) in our lives. 

Some time ago we had an incident with one of our children. For years she was participating in an extra mural which she enjoyed tremendously. Unfortunately over the past year I noticed she became more and more unsettled each time when she got home. The group with whom she practiced was very much into the world with dating and immorality. It become extremely disturbing to her, especially since she boldly declare not being into dating. She knew only a little leaven will soon leaven a whole lump and evil company corrupts. After much prayer she made the decision to stop this specific extra mural. Though it was very difficult and she was sad to stop it, it was worth to throw out the old leaven.  And God was faithful. He gave her something amazing in return. I’ll share about that in another posting soon.

Over the past few months I not ONLY baked perfect, well developed bread. I had quite a bit of failures, too. Most of the time it was because the fermentation process wasn’t in a perfect controlled environment. The fermentation of the dough is very sensitive to temperature. 

Since it is winter and room temperatures are below 20degrees C, I often had to put the dough in warmer areas. My home doesn’t have sunny rooms, so the only place was in a slightly warm oven. But often, when I was distracted, I didn’t control the temperature of the oven as well and the yeast was exposed to too high temperatures, resulting in over fermented bread. 

This just confirmed to me the reason why we’re homeschooling our children. We want to let our children mature in a controlled environment. Children are very much sensitive and receptive to influence, positive as well as negative.  Very much the same as baking bread and controlling the fermentation process of bread. Once the bread goes into the oven, you cannot go back, change the ingredients, make corrections in the ratio or make adjustments to the resting times and temperatures. And as for the quality of the yeast you used, it is only after the bread comes from the oven that you realize the yeast wasn’t fresh.  We have only this one time to raise godly children. 

We have only this one life-time to raise them in a safe, loving, positive learning atmosphere. 

We have only a few years to teach them about God and His creation. 

The Bible is very clear about the influence of bad company. I traced over 50 verses here.

God reminds us in Deutoronomy 7 to teach our children diligently when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up. Sounds like a full time job.

Just as I have to plan my days for baking bread and cannot leave my home, but have to stay busy in and around the kitchen, I cannot raise Godly children as a part time job.

Obviously this will ask for commitment and time investment.  As there is quite a difference in buying shop bread, and the time investment in baking an artisan bread, there is tremendous amount of time, effort and sacrifice in homeschooling my children and raising them with the intention to become Godly men and women for God’s glory!  In a culture where everyone wants everything to happen instantaneously, we have to remember bearing and raising children is a long-term investment, we must think long term - for the future.  

Dear Mother do you dread the commitment and sacrifice of intentionally raising Godly Children?

As I’m writing the finishing lines of this posting, it is just about time to take a batch of bread out of the oven! Oh! I wish you can smell the aroma of freshly baked bread, which fermented for just the right timing in just the right environment. It took time and effort from my side. I intentionally direct my effort to create nice bread. 

I don’t need to remind myself that the reward on raising Godly children for God’s glory will be even bigger, if I intentionally turn my focus on God, His ways and His plans for our family.

With much love

1 comment:

Jenni C's said...

lovely reminder Linnie, i can almost smell the bread..

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