Mission 16: Making Bread and Wine

Mission 16: Making Bread and Wine

Yeast is alive. Your next mission is to become its step-parent and help it to thrive – to your own benefit as well, by making bread and wine.

When you make bread or wine you are (hopefully) creating the perfect conditions for yeast to ‘do its thing’. In the case of beer, cider and wine you offer specific types of yeast and sugar to consume at a life-supporting temperature. In return it makes alcohol and carbon dioxide and in this case you nurture the yeast to produce alcohol specifically, with the taste and texture you desire.

With bread yeast you don’t give it so much sugar and the carbon dioxide is the yield since this is what makes the bread rise. In both cases, you are the gardener, working with nature to create a ‘yield’ for humans. This is the essence of permaculture.

But you are also gardening yourself. At its best, forms of cooking and medicine making are an alchemy in which the ‘cooks’ input provides the spark that makes it all work. Many chefs would agree that the most important element in any recipe is love. The popularity of cooking programmes on the TV seems to endorse this.

You choose the flour, the sugar, the salt, the milk, the butter, the water. You provide the warmth, the power of your hands kneading the mixture in an act of creation. You give it a nurturing space to grow and expand and cook, capturing it into a perfect loaf of bread at the perfect point of expansion.

Similarly with the wine. With simple country wines such as elderflower or blackberry – you choose and collect all of the elements to create a perfect flavour. These are alchemical processes with you – the magician – at the centre undertaking very specific nurturing tasks to create something quite beautiful.

Rituals associated with this are at the core of Western Christian religions – the blood of Christ, the body of Christ –wine and bread. So this week’s mission invites you to brew an alcoholic drink and make some bread.

It calls for you to be totally present and work for and with the live creature you have summoned for this purpose – yeast. To do this task you are the gardener of this process and need to be fully present and aware of its needs. Once again there are literally thousands of recipes available online and in books for this mission; go explore!