The usual schedule is as follows:
1st week of the month: Linda Young
2nd week of the month: Valerie Pflueger
3rd week of the month: Marnye Sacoolas
4th week of the month: Michele Auldridge
Alternate/ 5th week:
“Baking is an art. That means, just because you followed the recipe doesn't mean the bread always comes out the way you intended. Just like singing or painting icons, it takes some practice and still there will be mistakes. Go easy on yourself as you learn.
Don't pour holy water in the dough or make long prayers in front of your first loaf, since you will more than likely be feeding it to the birds or wishing you could put jam on it as you eat your mistakes. You are not in the 5th century, so you don't bake bread daily. If you do bake every day, then your prosphora probably comes out pretty reliable. For those of us in this century, it takes years to acquire the skill...and still we have problems. After all, yeast is a living creature.
Most of all, enjoy learning! It is the Christian calling to grow in the life with God, and so try to grow as a baker and continue developing your skills all your life. Learn from your mistakes, glorify God for your successes and never cease to relish the feel of well-kneaded dough!” (quote taken from prosphora.org)
LOTS of interesting facts and info about Holy Bread: www.prosphora.org Please note: this site is no longer active, but still is very informative!
A link explaining why Holy Bread must be made without sugar or whole wheat flour: http://www.prosphora.org/page4.html
The Monks Spiridon and Nikodim, Prosphora-Makers of Pechersk (XII), for 30 years fulfilled their obedience -- they baked prosphora. The Monk Spiridon came to the monastery during the time of the hegumen Pimen (1132-1141), already no longer young a man. The ascetic combined his work with unceasing prayer and the singing of psalms.
Ss. Peter & Paul requires 5 loaves each Sunday, so use this recipe for the 4 loaves, then make one more (larger) loaf. (please note: there is no sugar in Holy Bread)
For 4 small loaves:
Combine in large bowl:
3 cups very warm water
2 pkg dry yeast or 4-1/2 teas yeast
Add, mixing well until very smooth, (300 strokes or use mix master):
4 cups BREAD FLOUR
1-1/2 teas salt
Add until ready to knead:
approx. 3+/- cups BREAD FLOUR (add just enough flour to work dough, it will be soft)
--Knead 10 minutes (or use mixmaster for ~20 minutes).
--Form dough into four smooth balls, place in pans. (can put on baking sheet, or use individual 9" cake pans). Remember, no grease on pans. If necessary, you can use pure bees wax or line pans with foil.
--Cover, let rise 30 minutes.
--Sprinkle top very lightly with flour, press seal in very firmly. Pierce for bubbles as needed.
--Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for ~40 minutes. Remove from baking sheet or pans. Allow to cool on rack (do not let bread cool in pans!). Use soft brush to brush off excess flour from loaves. (consider getting yourself a small brush dedicated to only using on the holy bread)
For 1 larger loaf: (use same method as above except form into one loaf, bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes)
1-1/2 cups very warm water
1 pkg dry yeast or 2-1/4 teas yeast
4 cups BREAD FLOUR
3/4 teas salt
The square piece in the center is the piece that will be changed into the Body of Christ; it is called the Lamb of God. It has the letter ICXC NIKA. It means Jesus Christ Conquers
See the large triangular piece? This represents the Virgin Mary
See the nine smaller triangles? These pieces commemorate the angels, prophets, apostles and saints of the church.
During a service before liturgy starts, the priest breaks the bread and the seal and prays for the different people represented by the seal; the Theotokos, the prophets, angels… The priest also prays for all those living whose names have been submitted to him. Then he prays for all those who have passed away whose names have been submitted to him. Even if they are Orthodox Christians or not.