Does this bread recipe produce valid matter?

On a parish website I found a funky recipe for communion bread, as follows:

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached white bread flour
21 ounces or 2 and 2/3 cups carbonated non-flavored spring water (Perrier)
1/8 teaspoon salt

My feeling is that this is valid matter but illicit due to the salt. The carbonated water also seems extremely strange to me, but I do not think it invalidates it. Am I correct? This parish is known for “funky” things.


I read the instructions following the recipe and I found this, which horrified me:

“Brush Crisco lightly over each loaf…”

Assuming it is formed and baked in a way that produces bread (and not, say, pasta), it would certainly be valid matter, although illicit because of the inclusion of additional salt and fat. Perrier is fresh spring water that emerges from the ground naturally carbonated; if using tap water with its artificially added fluoride and the like is licit (which it is), then I can’t see the objection to Perrier. Any naturally-occurring water will contain dissolved gases and minerals in at least some quantity.

It sounds dreadful (oh, those memories of the 1970s are flooding back), but it would be ok. Even licit. (I don’t believe the salt is an issue, but I could be wrong.) Except. of course, for the crisco. That negates the who thing, both for validity and liceity.

At least it doesn’t use honey as do so many such things. The carbonated water is fine, and actually might even help the texture from being absurdly crumbly as are many of these “home baked” things. The crisco, though, has got to go.

Why use carbonated water and not just regular tap water?

And according to Leviticus, you should salt all your grain offerings. :wink:

I use salt when making prosphora, but of course East and West has different requirements when it comes to bread. Try using hot water to mix with the flour, the heat will kill any yeast you may catch in the air, at least gives you time to mix and form the bread prior to baking.

The thing is, I have no connection to this parish. They purport to use this bread for Mass (of course). I would feel awkward in saying something about it since I just stumbled upon the page while humming around. However, I feel this is very serious. What would you do? Labyrinths, odd breads, oh my!

Crisco is oil, right?

Communion bread must be of wheat flour and water only. And in the Eastern churches, leavening too, I fancy. Redemptionis Sacramentum no. 48:
The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament.
I have occasionally wondered how it is that the requirement for “recently made” bread, see C.I.C. can 924 § 2, is so ignored that some would rather use wafers shipped across the country that have sat in a sacristy cupboard for a month than simple freshly made bread.

First, we do use salt in the East.

Second, even though I make our prosphora at home, I still make enough that they are put in a freezer for a long time prior to use. Leavened bread spoils quickly unless you freeze it. Then they keep indefinitely.


I always find this so strange, the bread Jesus ate and distributed at the Last Supper would probably have had wheat in it, but not much. When did this wheat-only recipe get decided, I wonder?

Tradition. Was there any bread back in the day that wasn’t made from wheat?

And often salt. Many (if not most) prosphora recipes call for it. Unleavened Armenian nashkar does not.

On the practical side, salt controls the leavening. I’ve tried prosphora without salt and the bread literally has a mind of its own.

Not exactly. It’s a solidified vegetable shortening. Very much, in both consistency and use, like lard, for which it is often substituted in pie crusts, etc.

Man, what about crumbs?

Why do this instead of buying hosts?

Yes, actually. Remember the barley loaves mentioned in the Gospels?

Interesting. I don’t even use parchment paper because I’m afraid it would contaminate the bread. I’d just dust the baking pan with flour so the bread won’t stick.

Yes, that’s a general problem with home-baked loaves, particular when whole-wheat flour is involved. This particular recipe uses a 50-50 ration of whole-wheat, which is a lot. I’m not sure (and I’ve no intention of trying the recipe to find out), but the use of carbonated water may help with the texture.

Good point. How about the bread Abraham sacrificed?

I’m all for parishioners making the bread. The bread should come from the community as part of the offering. As the community gathers together, so should the offerings come from them.

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