Biblical Treat: Unleavened Bread


Ariel Palmon (2010) Hand Working Matza Shmura Baking. Wikipedia Commons

Ariel Palmon (2010) Hand Working Matza Shmura Baking. Wikipedia Commons

The Old Testament within the Bible contains many references to food and the eating habits of the various figures and tribes mentioned with the book. Sometimes, these are included simply because that is what people ate during times of celebration or mourning. More often, food is mentioned as it bears a symbolic or double meaning to practitioners of two faiths.

The Recipe

This is considered a flat baked good, which would look much like pita bread. The term unleavened simply means that a rising agent, such as yeast is not included in the batter. The main benefit of this technique is that it simplifies the preparation and baking process, especially as one would not have to sit and wait for the loaf to rise prior to heating. In early Biblical times, a simple meal would have included something like goat’s milk, veal, and unleavened bread (Hastings; 1994; Sharrief, n.d.).

Relevant Passages

The simplified food has been given much attention as a tangible means of remembrance in Christianity and Judaism, most notably for the fact that Moses led the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to eventual freedom.

1. Exodus 12-17 (NIV) “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.”

2. Exodus 12-39 (NIV) “With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes on unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare for themselves.”

3. Exodus 13-3 (NIV) “Then Moses said to the people, ‘Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast.”

Conclusion

Unleavened bread is deeply connected with the past and remembering the struggle of the Israelites for many, practicing Christians and Jews. However, on a lighter level it can be used by anyone to create a simple and fast addition to a meal.

References:

Hastings, S. (1994) The Children’s Illustrated Bible. Dorling Kindersley: New York

New International Version (1973) Holy Bible. Zondervan: Michigan

Sharrieff, M. (n.d.) What Is Unleavened Bread?