Sharing joy and good cheer with Peace Bread
LCO, December 2020
Every year, Lighthouse Center Bakery (LCB) and Lighthouse Center Oregon (LCO) offer the Peace Bread Charity to welcome the holiday season. This charity project began in 2007 as a small holiday initiative to share joy and good cheer through caring and sharing. Firstly, we invite people to order and purchase Peace Bread to give to another person, be it someone they know or don’t know. In addition, we bake and donate at least one additional loaf of Peace Bread for every three loaves ordered. Lighthouse Center Bakery makes no profit from this endeavor. Rather, this initiative is an act of charity to spread goodwill in the true spirit of the season.
In this annual collaboration, Lighthouse Center Bakery coordinates the charity and bakes the bread. Meanwhile, Lighthouse Center Oregon volunteers assist with making the Peace Bread bags, bagging the freshly baked loaves, and delivering Peace Bread as donations to soup kitchens in Sutherlin and Roseburg in Oregon.
Preparing the wood fired oven for Peace Bread
The Peace Bread is baked in the wood fired brick oven. This artisanal method requires careful planning, preparation, and patience. After each day’s baking is done in the afternoon, we toss local firewood into the wood oven firebox. As the wood burns, a control center outside the oven monitors the temperature of the hearth, the air inside the oven, its side walls, and lower cladding. Thereafter, we let the heat permeate and stabilize throughout the oven overnight.
Early the next morning, the air in the oven has settled to a steady temperature. Careful calculations to correctly gauge the amount of wood to burn, have yielded the desired temperature for baking the Peace Bread. We sweep out the oven with a 12-foot long brush and then it’s ready to start baking!
Baking Artisanal Peace Bread
Each day, we bake four to five loads of bread using the residual heat in the oven. As each load bakes, the oven temperature gradually decreases. Therefore, our bakers load items that need less and less heat as the baking progresses through the day.
Many natural factors come into play when baking in a wood-fired brick oven. Unlike convection or gas ovens, bakers cannot preheat the wood oven again to the temperature needed before putting in the next batch of bread. Baking on a brick hearth relies on layers upon layers of natural insulation to hold the heat. Bakers are guided by experience and an artisanal touch and always have to be ready to adjust to the varying dough conditions. This time honored traditional way can produce unique and beautiful loaves of bread with a crispy hearth baked crust and a soft, open crumb.
Peace Bread Charity 2020
This year, LCO and LCB scaled down the Peace Bread Charity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We offered Peace Bread on December 2nd, 9th, and 16th and received a very active and enthusiastic response. People ordered a total of 300 loaves of Peace Bread. In return, we baked and distributed 270 more loaves between St. Francis Community Kitchen in Sutherlin, Oregon and Roseburg Rescue Mission in Roseburg, Oregon.
For Peace Bread Charity 2020, we made and donated at least one additional loaf for every three loaves of bread ordered
It is always a joy to assist with this project. We hope each loaf brings happiness to the receiver and the giver, just as the card on each loaf of Peace Bread says:
Peace Bread is a simple but tasty, wholesome wheat bread, meant to be given to others in the true spirit of the season. You can give it to anyone you like, maybe a neighbor, or a co-worker, or even someone you don’t know who passes you on the street. We hope this little effort can bring joy and good cheer into the heart of the one receiving and the one giving.