1 Aug 2014

Lughnasadh Bread

Today I had a visit from two small grandchildren and we decided to bake bread for Lughnasadh, which is today. I told them that it's the start of the season of harvest and autumn, and people will be busy cutting wheat for bread, barley and early fruit, such as plums. This is why we make bread to celebrate and give thanks for our food. 

This bread is based on Roman Marching Bread and is best made with spelt, but we used a mixture of flours as I didn't have much spelt left. I explained that the Romans came to our land long ago, so they are our ancestors. They used to march a long way on foot because they didn't have cars then - so this bread came in very handy for hungry soldiers!

I showed the children how to roll out three sausages and make their own small ball of dough into a plait. This is for the goddess as maiden, mother and crone. You can see some plaits we made in the photo, and a small cob loaf too. We baked them all on a big flat baking tray, greased with olive oil.

The children enjoyed the bread still warm from the oven with a thick dollop of butter, nothing else. They said it was very very nice. and they wolfed down a lot of it. They took the rest of their small plaits home to share, along with a posy of flowers for Mummy.

Here's the recipe:

400grams spelt or wholemeal flour, or a combination
100grams white flour (you can use all wholemeal if you prefer, but the white makes it lighter)
1 tsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon of honey, or malt extract, or black treacle
400 ml warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix it all up in a bowl, and then turn out onto a clean, floured work surface and knead well, adding a little more flour as necessary until it stops being sticky.

Leave to rise for 25 minutes to half and hour or so, in a warm place. (This recipe does not need `knocking back' - you only knead it once.)

Bake at 200C (180 fan oven) for about 20-25 minutes for buns, or 25-30 for the small cob loaf. Bread is done when it is nicely brown and sounds hollow when you tap it underneath.