Thursday, June 12, 2014

L is for Lammas

L is for Lammas

At Lammas, the goddess is the Grain Mother, the Corn Mother.   John Barleycorn meets his end.  He is cut down, milled, baked into bread and made into alcohol, consumed, and reborn from the earth in seed form the following year.  This is the first harvest, a time to reap what we have sown.   Farmers and hedgewitches are rewarded with the fruits of their labor, and the hopes and dreams that we have ‘planted’ are starting to come to fruition. 

Throughout Europe, the first and last cuttings of grain held special significance.  The first cutting was milled and baked into bread to be shared among members of the community.  In this way, the life-sustaining powers of grain/bread could be given to all. 

As a kitchen witch, this idea appeals to me.  I enjoy feeding people, and I feel especially called to donate to food banks during the harvest holidays. This first harvest holiday gives me the opportunity to dig my paws into some bread dough.  It's in this way that I feel most connected to the harvest because I do not grow or mill grain myself.  

When I bake bread, I really get into it.  I love to infuse the food with my intent - harmony, love, peace, prosperity, etc.  Music helps me raise energy, so I sometimes have my boyfriend drum as I knead.  

I chant:
Hoof and horn,
Hoof and horn,
All that dies shall be reborn
Vine and grain, 
Vine and grain,
All that falls shall rise again

Sometimes I shape the dough into rough sun or person shapes.  Two of my favorites to make during this time of year are rye bread and corn bread. The latter doesn't have to be kneaded because it's a batter, but corn is appropriate to the day. 

For a Lammas table, some local beer and wine accompany loaves of fresh-baked bread.  To make a complete meal, add some hearty beef stew and a nice green salad that utilizes as much fresh, local produce as you can get. 

Rye Bread (Hodgson's Mill recipe) 

This recipe yields two loaves, or perhaps one giant bread dude. 

2 cups warm water
2 envelopes yeast
1/4 c brown sugar

Bloom the yeast in the warm water with the sugar for 10 minutes, until frothy. 

In a mixing bowl, add:

Yeast mixture
1/4 c molasses
3 1/2 c rye flour
1 T caraway seeds
2 t salt
1/4 c melted butter
3 T cocoa powder

Gradually add 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups bread flour, one cup at a time, to make a soft dough. 

Knead (and chant!) for 10-12 minutes. 

Put dough in an oiled bowl and allow it to rise for an hour until doubled in size.  

Divide dough in half and gently work out the air bubbles.  Shape into loaves. 

Allow the loaves to rise another hour until doubled again.  Slash the tops.  

Preheat oven to 400 F and bake for 25-28 minutes.  


3/4 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tablespoon (T). baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (t. ) salt
1 cup milk (1 1/4 for buttermilk)
1 egg
2 T. melted shortening

Mix ingredients and pour into greased baking pan (I use a cast iron skillet). 
Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

You could grill some corn on the cob and add a cup of kernels to this as well.  Delicious.  

Decorate the table with greenery, late summer flowers, corn and sheaves of grain if you can get them.   Orange, yellow, and purple candles illuminate the scene.  

1 comment:

Amie Ravenson said...

Wow, I haven't made bread in a long time, but your post inspired me to! Thanks for sharing your recipes. :-)