Ezekiel's Bread

The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book by Don Colbert, M.D.

Since I talked about What Would Jesus Eat last week and happen to own the companion cook book I thought I would foray briefly into food blog territory for this week’s post. The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book began with a brief introduction in which Colbert listed ten steps to help his readers change from their “typical American way of eating to a Mediterranean way of eating” (ix). Many of the steps were similar to advice offered in What Would Jesus Eat. These included eliminating processed food, using olive oil in place of other oils and fats, avoiding fried foods, limiting meat intake and exercising regularly. Colbert altered his advice on wine in the cook book version and suggested that his readers enjoy a glass of wine per day (in What Would Jesus Eat he recommended wine substitutes). Colbert also added a prescription to “make dining and experience you enjoy with others” (x). Enticed by the two hundred pages of recipes that followed I decided to make Ezekiel’s Bread, the only recipe that also appeared in What Would Jesus Eat. And, in keeping with Colbert’s ideal of dining as an experience, I brought a loaf of Ezekiel’s Bread to share with my book club.

The recipe for this bread is based on a story from the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a prophet in the time of the Babylonian exile who responded to many of God’s requests in order to convey messages to the exiled Israelites. Colbert explained that in one such instance “God said to Ezekiel, ‘Also take for yourself wheat, barely, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt [rye]; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself’ (Ezekiel 4:9)” (85). Ezekiel was commanded to eat this bread every day for a year, and Colbert noted that it is a “complete-protein mixture” with its combination of wheat and beans.

Although the recipe for Ezekiel’s Bread appears in both What Would Jesus Eat and in The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book, the recipes are different. When I saw the recipe in What Would Jesus Eat, I was interested but intimidated. The recipe in What Would Jesus Eat called for the use of a flour mill which I do not own and I am not quite an expert enough baker to get around this missing tool (the recipe can be found on pages 86-87). Luckily, the cook book version called for pre-ground barley, soy, millet and rye flour instead of the raw ingredients. I halved the recipe because the original makes 4 loaves of Ezekiel’s Bread which seemed unnecessary (and I only have two loaf pans) but the full recipe appears below in case you feel inspired to feed the multitudes. This is a dense and satisfying bread. I served this with butter and honey at book club and enjoyed a piece at home with raspberry jam. Both versions were excellent.

 Ezekiel’s Bread

From The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book, Page 59.

Yield: 4 Loaves

4 envelopes dry yeast

1 tbsp honey

1 cup warm water

8 cups whole wheat flour

4 cups barley flour

2 cups soy flour

½ cup millet flour

¼ cup rye flour

1 cup mashed cooked lentils

4 to 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ to ¾ cup honey

4 cups water

1 tbsp Celtic Salt

  1. Stir the yeast and 1 tbsp honey into the 1 cup warm water and let stand for 10 min.
  2. Place the whole wheat flour, barley flour, soy flour, millet flour, and rye flour in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Combine the lentils, olive oil, the ½ to ¾ cup honey, and ½ cup of the water in a blender, process until smooth.
  4. Combine the lentil mixture and the remaining 3 ½ cups water in a large bowl; stir until well mixed.
  5. Stir in 2 cups of the flour mixture.
  6. Stir in the yeast mixture.
  7. Add the salt and the remaining flour mixture.
  8. Knead until smooth on a floured board.
  9. Place in an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk [about an hour].
  10.  Knead again.
  11. Divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a large loaf. Place in greased loaf pans.
  12. Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk [about an hour]
  13. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until bread tests done.Ezekiel's Bread with Raspberry Jam

What Would Jesus Eat? The Ultimate Program for Eating Well, Feeling Great, and Living Longer by Don Colbert, M.D. (2002)

When I was in high school WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets were all the rage. I never witnessed any Jesus-based decision making on account of those colorful bracelets but I am excited to report that this week’s faith-based diet program is Jesus-based decision making in action. What Would Jesus Eat? is a comprehensive diet program based on what Jesus ate that also explains why contemporary Americans would do well to follow his example. Don Colbert, a board certified physician, combined his medical knowledge with his faith in this well organized and persuasive book.

The diets I covered previously were all based mainly on the dietary prescriptions of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Colbert’s diet is a slight twist on that formula. In What Would Jesus Eat? Colbert shared the same dietary prescriptions from Leviticus and Deuteronomy but he did so because Jesus would have adhered to those dietary prescriptions as a first century Judean. Colbert emphasized the benefits of eating as Jesus did: “The medical and scientific facts confirm it. If we eat as Jesus ate, we will be healthier. He is our role model for good habits in eating, exercising, and living a healthy, balanced life” (x). Colbert urged his readers to question what they eat and avoid foods that Jesus would not have eaten. Colbert made it clear that much of what Americans eat today, especially highly processed foods, would not have been part of Jesus’ diet. Colbert even suggested that “if dietary laws of the Bible were being issued by God today, there would be a ‘thou shalt not’ attached to processed foods high in sugar, hydrogenated fat, salt or additives” (7).

So what would Jesus eat? Each chapter of Colbert’s book detailed one aspect of Jesus’ diet and ended with a summary of how readers can adopt Jesus’ diet in their lives. Readers are encouraged to eat a lot of whole grains and whole grain breads, beans and vegetables. Colbert encouraged consumption of fresh fish (with fins and scales in accordance with Leviticus) and cautioned against overconsumption of meat. He suggested that readers eat only free-range, organic-fed and kosher meat, chicken and eggs and urged them to do so sparingly. Colbert noted that Jesus drank a lot of water and some red wine but Colbert recommended a red-wine substitute instead of the real thing. Colbert informed his readers that for dessert Jesus ate fruit, nuts and honey. Colbert, a realistic man of the twenty-first century, also allowed for more indulgent sweet treats but only on special occasions. Finally, Colbert reminded his readers that Jesus’ ministry involved a great deal of walking, perhaps ten to twelve miles a day. Colbert suggested that his readers also strive to get ample exercise on a daily basis. Colbert ended the book with a wealth of resources including a BMI (body mass index) chart, a Mediterranean diet food pyramid, a pantry set-up plan, a daily eating plan and a week’s worth of menus. Colbert also wrote a companion cookbook (The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book) in order to ensure that his readers could truly eat as Jesus ate.