Making Prosphora

Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ζύμῃ, ἣν λαβοῦσα γυνὴ ἐνέκρυψεν εἰς ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία ἕως οὗ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

Making prosphora from natural yeast (‘sourdough’) starter is a challenge. There are many variables. After many trials, and errors, the variables slowly become a coordinated whole, and the process becomes a joy. But always there is more to learn.

Pilgrims from Greece bring us κίτρινο αλεύρι από σκληρό σιτάρι, ‘yellow flour from durum wheat’, the best flour for making prosphora.

2 comments to Making Prosphora

  • Clare Estrada

    Hello Father Justin and Happy New Year! Any thoughts on what the Biblical “manna” might reference?

    • Father Justin

      The children of Israel were sustained by manna during their sojourn in the wilderness. It formed like hoar frost on the ground, and tasted like wafers made with honey. In the nineteenth century, especially, scientific explanations were sought as a way of substantiating the scriptures. Manna was the resin of the tamarisk tree, or honeydew secreted by certain insects. These explanations are fascinating, but also disappointing. They fail to explain what we read in the scriptures: manna was bread sent from heaven by Divine providence. Jesus appealed to manna as a foreshadowing of himself when he said, ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven’ (John 6:51). These correlations allow a more profound understanding of the events narrated in the Old Testament. They are the key to understanding Orthodox hymns and iconography.

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