Bread is one of the oldest and most basic foods included in the traditional diet of many countries in the world. It complements several meals due to its easy preparation and low cost.
The Light-Community Fraternity of Aurora, affiliated with the Fraternity –International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF), also has bread as part of the daily food. Here, the whole manufacturing process is carried out, from the grinding of the grain to the baking. The product is shared with all the members as a nutritious accompaniment to breakfasts, snacks, etc.
Bread has a nutritional value that varies according to the cereal or grain used. But they all have nutrients in common: they provide a high value of carbohydrates and some proteins, amino acids, micronutrients, and vitamins. It also provides 40% of water and, depending on the type of flour used, wheat is a great fiber contributor, being whole wheat flour the one with more fiber.
In the Light-Community, the baking process begins in the milling house. There, the donation of grains of wheat is received from a neighboring field. They mill grains in a hammer mill, from which the whole wheat flour is ready to be used. Brown and white rice are processed in the same way to obtain rice flour.
The bakery is located in the Redemption 2 area, and the bread-making is done once a week by 2 or 3 people. This area is equipped to make the bread necessary for the entire community. It includes a large kneading machine, a wood-fired oven for nine trays, and a leavening chamber to accelerate and improve the yeast fermentation process.
They produce gluten-free bread, whole wheat bread, and sweet bread. Whole wheat bread is made entirely with whole wheat flour, gluten-free bread is made with rice flour, while they use plain flour, raisins, and coconut to make sweet bread. Thus, three varieties are provided in the Community as a food supplement in various meals.
“The first bread we usually make is gluten-free bread, which took quite some time to learn because of the types of ingredients and baking times. These are quite different from regular bread. It also requires a lot more care” says Tadeo, one of the permanent members of the Community who was assigned to make the bread.
They make gluten-free bread with brown or white rice flour and a ” pre-blend” of cassava starch, potato starch, and rice flour. All the details of the breading process are carefully observed, from the quantity of each ingredient to the cooling of the freshly baked bread, as it can become moist and moldy.
Tadeo adds: “Flax, chia, sunflower, and peanut seeds are also added to the rice bread, giving it more nutritional value. Unlike gluten bread, the resulting dough is quite liquid and requires the oven to be very hot for proper baking.”
“The secret of whole wheat bread is not the flour, but the right proportion of water and oil,” Fray Josafá tells us. He learned about this through several tests until they got the bread with the desired consistency. They also learned that the proportions vary according to the humidity and heat of the environment, considering that this is equivalent to whether the dough must be more or less humid to produce a good product.
Members of the Light-Community, who have already had several experiences in the field, supervised the baking. The people who perform this task know that it takes time and effort, being under high conditions of heat and care. However, a common aspect in all the activities that the Light-Community carries out is the unselfish and self-sacrificing service to all the other members of the Community.
“Since I never knew how to cook anything in my life, suddenly making bread is a great step because it is something spiritual more than material. You know that it is for your brother, that it is part of the sustenance, and he is grateful for it,” Tadeo tells us as he concentrates on the whole wheat bread mixtures. “Anyone willing to learn can volunteer to make it. The difference with store-bought bread is that here we take great care in the process, as we make it with love and knowing that you are making it for your brothers.”
While Tadeo comments and is attentive to the process, Fray Josafá places the loaves of bread in the oven. And he adds, “The important thing is the intention with which you make something. It doesn’t matter what, but rather that you make it with your heart. It may not have great quality, but you made it thinking of those who will receive it. It makes a big difference.”
At the end of the afternoon, and after the loaves of bread have cooled down, we distribute them in boxes to the whole Light-Community. Members will have this noble food available, made with loving intentions, as nourishment after the daily tasks.