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The History of Unleavened Bread and Why It Matters

April 13, 2022 0 Comments

This year, Passover is on April 15, followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread from April 16 to 22, with Easter falling on April 17.

If you don't follow Jewish or Christian faith traditions, you may be unfamiliar with what is being celebrated and how they overlap.

Passover is a remembrance of when God passed over Egypt's land and rescued the Israelites from slavery.

According to Christianity.com, "The first Passover occurred the night before the Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus. Pharaoh resisted letting the people of Israel leave Egypt. So, God sent a final devastating plague, the angel of death was to 'pass over' the land and the first-born sons of every family in Egypt would die, unless blood from a lamb was on the doorposts of the house (Exodus 12:12). Before the Passover, each family was to kill a lamb to provide blood for their doorposts and food. Along with the lamb, they ate unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:8). The Israelites were to eat this meal with haste."

Passover is a time of remembrance and celebration.

The Days of Unleavened Bread are holy days based on scripture.

Exodus 12:14-17 reads, "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do. Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come."

Easter does not always coincide with these holy days, but this year it does.

Easter is the celebration of Christ's resurrection after his crucifixion.

However, Christ's crucifixion occurred during these holy days, with the Last Supper taking place during the Passover seder.

The Passover-Easter Connection explains, "When Jesus observed the Last Supper with his disciples, it was a Passover seder. Jesus used elements of the seder — the unleavened bread (matzah) and wine — to commemorate his impending death (the bread represents his body, the wine his blood)."

The background of these holidays is necessary for understanding the history of unleavened bread—and how it can be a lifesaver during survival situations. 

Understanding the History of Unleavened Bread

Unleavened bread is bread without yeast, or bread that does not rise. It is useful for those without many ingredients or much time.

Hence the reason the Israelites made it.

When they received a message from Moses that God was going to deliver them from Egypt, they had to be prepared to eat and move quickly. They did not have the usual time needed for bread to rise.

Exodus 12:11 says, "Eat it in haste; it is the Lord's Passover."

After Passover, when Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave Egypt, they left immediately. But, again, they carried their dough in haste.

Exodus 12:33-34 says, "The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. 'For otherwise,' they said, 'we will all die!' So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing."

Unleavened bread doesn't require as many ingredients and can be baked over an open fire, which allowed the Israelites to commemorate Passover on their 40-year journey to the promised land.

The Biblical Meaning of Unleavened Bread

There is significant meaning attached to unleavened bread in the Bible.

The first meaning is symbolic of the Israelites' journey from Egypt and commemorates the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The next meaning is symbolic of sin and how it spreads.

Compelling Truth explains, "Leaven is also a symbol of sin, and the way sin spreads through its host, affecting the entire organism. Even a small amount of leaven is sufficient to affect an entire lump of dough, and likewise, a little sin will affect an entire church, nation, or the whole of a person's life (Galatians 5:9). […] Paul warns the Corinthians that 'a little leaven leavens the whole lump' and exhorts them to 'cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed' (1 Corinthians 5:6-7)."

How the Tradition of Unleavened Bread Continues Today

The religious tradition of eating unleavened bread continues to this day. Unleavened bread is a traditional part of a Jewish Passover seder dinner.

It is also common for unleavened bread to be used in communion since Jesus performed the first communion at the Last Supper with unleavened bread. For example, if you go to a church that uses communion wafers, these are unleavened.

Why You Should Know How to Bake Unleavened Bread

You may be wondering why we've taken time today to discuss the biblical and historical significance of unleavened bread.

The answer is simple: There may be a time when you need to know how to bake bread hastily or without many ingredients—just like the Israelites.

There are many reasons why it is wise to learn how to bake unleavened bread for everyday consumption and in emergencies:

  • If there is a sudden run on yeast and you can't find any in the grocery stores—or what you can find is outrageously priced (as we saw in the spring of 2020)—you can make bread without yeast.
  • If the power goes out for an extended period of time and stores are closed or shelves are barren, you will have bread to eat.
  • There may be instances where you want to make bread, but don't have time to allow the dough to rise. Unleavened bread can be made in a hurry.

How to Bake Unleavened Bread

Here is a recipe for unleavened bread you can make almost exclusively with items from your food storage:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. If cooking in an oven, preheat to 375 degrees F and grease a baking sheet. If cooking over an open fire, build your fire and let the flame burn down to embers. (This can take up to two hours.) Then cook over a skillet.
  2. In a bowl, hydrate Whole Egg Powder by adding ½ cup of water. Stir until combined.
  3. In a bowl, hydrate Butter Powder by adding 1 ⅛ tablespoons water. Stir until combined.
  4. In a bowl, hydrate Powdered Whey Milk by adding ⅛ cup water. Stir until combined.
  5. In a bowl, mix flour and Iodized Salt together and shape into a mound. Create a well in the middle of the mound.
  6. Beat eggs and melted butter together; empty mixture into well in the mound of flour and salt. Mix until the texture crumbles to the touch. Little by little, pour in whey milk using your hands to mix the dough into a ball.
  7. Roll dough into a flat loaf and put it onto the baking sheet or skillet.
  8. If cooking in an oven, bake until lightly browned along the edges, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. If cooking over an open fire, let bread cook until the dough begins to bubble and the underside looks light brown in places, then flip and cook the other side.

Bread in Emergencies

Knowing how to bake unleavened bread can be a lifesaver, but if you’re caught in an emergency without the ingredients, you need a back-up plan. With Ready Hour Honey Wheat Bread Mix, you can make delicious, nutritious bread even when the grocery stores are out of supplies or the power goes out.

To bake, all you need is water. Simply measure the mix, add water, knead the dough on a floured surface, then bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

If the power goes out and you can’t use your oven or bread machine, you can bake the bread on a grill or in a Dutch oven over an open fire.

This is one type of emergency food you don’t want to go without.

Happy Easter!

In liberty,

Elizabeth Anderson

Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply


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