The Leaven

Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a women took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."

To every householder the working of leaven or yeast in a pan of dough is fraught with interest, because it is a primal factor in breadmaking. The meal or flour may be altered in kind or in quantity: some cooks use milk, some water, some butter, some lard, but all must use leaven; for without the leaven the bread would not rise, and it would be hard, heavy, and unpalatable. In Jesus' time every housewife knew how to make bread; and in choosing this simple picture he likened the kingdom of heaven to something all could understand. In the old days the leaven was often saved from one bread-making to another. That is, a bowl of the sweet dough was taken out and saved for the next baking. But it had to be used while it was still sweet, and could not be laid upon a shelf for a more convenient time. Mothers gave a bowl of it to their daughters when the latter started housekeeping; but it had to be watched and kept at just the right temperature in order to "work." It was often an important part of the conversation among women.

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