• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 1 Batch

Pennsylvania Altar Bread

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Breads

 Ingredients List

  • 7/8 c Water, lukewarm
  • -(about 110 degrees F.)
  • 3 tb Honey
  • 1 1/2 ts Olive oil
  • 1/2 ts Salt
  • 1 pk Yeast (dry),
  • -active
  • 2 2/3 c Flour, whole wheat
  • -(unsifted)


Combine water and yeast in mixing bowl. Add honey, olive oil and salt. Add
flour. If flour does not completely dampen, add small amounts of water
until all of the flour is damp. Be sparing with the water.

Turn out onto a very lightly floured board and knead thoroughly for 5
minutes until dough is extremely elastic.

Sprinkle a tiny amount of olive oil in a big bowl, then roll the dough in
it until the dough is covered with olive oil. Leave the dough in the bowl,
cover with a cloth, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Punch the dough down, knead again for a few
seconds. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin, as if you were making a
pizza crust, to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.

Using something like a large peanut butter jar or a giant cookie cutter,
cut out about 4-inch circles of the dough and lift them onto a
slightly-oiled baking sheet. Press a cross into the top surface of each, so
that it can be easily broken apart.

Bake the loaves, on their baking sheet, in a preheated 350 degree F. oven
for 10 minutes.


* An earthy, whole-wheat bread used for communion In Pittsburgh and
other Western Pennsylvania parishes of the Episcopal church, it is common
to use small, thin loaves of real, fresh, home-made bread at communion
instead of the pressed wafers popular in most other places. The bread has a
chewy texture to it, keeps tremendously well, and makes a great lunchbox
food (each "loaf" is about the size a large cookie). This recipe comes from
Father Bill Coats of the Church of the Redeemer in Pittsburgh. Yield: 8-10
single-serving loaves.

* You can freeze these loaves easily; either put them in single-serving
ziploc bags and use them for school lunches, or freeze a bunch in a large
food-storage bag.

: Difficulty: moderate.
: Time: 15 minutes preparation, 2 hours rising, 10 minutes baking.
: Precision: measure the ingredients.

: Fr. Bill Coats
: Church of the Redeemer
: Pittsburgh, PA

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