The Prosfora Committee has the important job of making all the liturgical bread used by the church. The committee is comprised of a number of volunteer bakers that, with prayer, make bread according to the recipe and stamp each loaf with the holy seal (sfrayitha).
Krisandrea Ballas Rylander
(Other individuals have made Prosfora in the past but may not be named above if they have not made it in the past year.)
The ministry has had continued success due to the efforts of those involved and their experience. The bakers work with the committee chair to ensure that there is an adequate supply throughout the year and that there is also a reserve or “emergency” supply of bread in the freezer at all times as well.
A coordinated effort is required in order to have fresh bread for each week and so that the scheduled baker’s bread is used the day it was intended for. Volunteers often schedule themselves for a certain holiday, event, family name day, or memorial, so it is important their bread is used and that the priest receives their list of names (living and reposed) for that scheduled day. Furthermore, the priest, altar boys, or whomever delivers the loaves to the altar that day must also be aware of which loaves are to be used. This has been a challenge to coordinate effectively at times. To help ensure this occurs, the chair now has a mail box slot that contains a folder with each month’s schedule available for reference.
Weekly bakers are scheduled in advance to have the bread ready for Sunday’s Divine Liturgy and often make an extra loaf for weekday liturgies. It is recommended that each baker make three loaves. Holidays, or course, require more. The committee chair has been responsible for making extra bread between scheduled bakers as needed, or if no bakers are available for a particular week, or should a baker have to cancel. If Prosforo is used that has been frozen, the chair’s name appears in the Bulletin rather than no name. This has seemed to work in the past, and to date there have been no problems regarding this.
We continue to strive so that our finished loaves are consistent with one another’s and that the stamp is always clear and readable after baking to facilitate the priest’s cutting it.
Historically, the bakers have been responsible for the cost of making the bread, including obtaining the ingredients and supplies as well as the zip-lock bags to store each loaf in. Also, they are responsible for transporting their bread to church before the Sunday Liturgy or making alternate arrangements with the committee chair. There is no budget for this committee, and the chair reports no inquiries or complaints regarding this arrangement. There is now a permanent supply drawer, clearly labeled “Prosfora Supplies” in the kitchen to house supplies including zip-lock bags, a sfrayitha, Prosforo recipes, diptychs (for names of the living and the reposed), and labels. The chair plans to pay for the cost of these supplies. The committee chair has authored a mailer for the members, which includes reminders and concerns regarding the preparation, baking, storing, and delivery of the bread.
Further information about prosforo may be found at: www.prosphoro.org.
5 pounds all-purpose flour
4 cups Luke warm water
½ tsp. salt
3 ½ tbls. Yeast
Dissolve yeast in ½ cup Luke warm water and ½ tsp. salt
Cover with saran wrap and let rise
In a large bowl, mix yeast and flour about 2 handfuls
Gradually add warm water and alternate flour and water
Continue to knead until all the flour and water are gone
Dough should feel stiff not sticky
Cover dough and let rise
When ready, on a floured surface shape dough into round loaves
Dip edges of the seal in flour
Stamp each loaf, by pressing down for 10 seconds
Lift the seal, with a toothpick prick 5 wholes in each loaf making the sign of the cross
Place the loaves in a lightly floured baking pan
Cover while working to finish the rest of the loaves
Bake in a moderate oven (375° F) for about 45 minutes.
Contact Person: Krisandrea Ballas Rylander