Lammas Loaf

Lammas (also called Lughnasadh) is a Sabbat which celebrated the first harvest, that is the corn harvest. By now, the fields are glowing because of the golden grain that is covering them and they seem to remind us of the brightness of the Sun in a way. But, colder days are gaining on us and it is necessary to gather all the grain (and other fruits of the land) in order to survive. It is because of this that bread is one of the most common meals for this time of year, so the recipe I give to you is rather fitting!

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 (two thirds) cup warm water
  • 6 spoons honey (or a bit more if you like)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 (a third - a half) cup softened up butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 2 cups bread mix with seeds
  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1/4 (a quarter) cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup wheat cereal (the simplest and least sweetened kind you can get)
Note: I had to modify the recipe I found quite a bit since most of the ingredients aren't shipped to Croatia, but I found nice substitutes, as you can see. Also, you will need quite a lot more than 2 cups of each flour since the dough you get from this quantity of ingredients will still be quite soft and sticky. You will have to add some of each flour to the mix as you go on to make the dough drier and harder. 

How to Prepare:

Note: I recommend you knead the dough with your hands all the time because it will turn out softer and "puffier" this way, or simply but, just better.
  1. Mix the honey into the warm water (and stir until the honey dissolves) and then add the yeast. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled and until it turns foamy (as would normally happen with yeast).
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients (both flours, wheat germ, wheat cereal and salt).
  3. Add butter to the dry mixture and mix it in.
  4. Add milk and the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and mix it all together until it is all compact. You will need to add more flour so alternate between adding two handfuls of the bread mix with seeds and one handful of corn flour until the dough is dry and has stopped being sticky. If you use too much corn flour, the bread tends to be too heavy so this is why I used more bread mix (although you can still expect the bread to be quite filling).
  5. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for an hour (it should double in size during this period).
  6. Knead and punch the dough (the more you knead, the better it will be) until you get a "pancake" about a centimeter or two thick (depending on how thick you want your bread to be).
  7. Cut the "pancake" into strips about a centimeter to two wide (never mind that they aren't equal in length, that's the point). Fold the top of each strip and form it into a ball/tear so you get something resembling a cotton swab (but with only one cotton side). Leave three strips aside and use them to make a braid.
  8. Put some baking paper on a shallow tin baking pan and first lay down the longest strips side by side taking care to leave as little room as possible between them). Lay the shorter strips over /around the longer ones. Be creative and let your imagination go wild. This bread is supposed to resemble a wheat bundle, so it should be uneven and free, one strip should go over another and so on.
  9. Take the dough braid you made and cover the "wheat bundle" with it. Connect it to the bundle from under it (remember, the braid is purely decorative and won't really hold the bundle together, but it should look like it is).
  10. Use a pair of scissors to snip the wheat heads (the ones you formed into balls/tears) in the middle and on the sides so they can resemble wheat as much as possible.
  11. Now leave the ready yeast to rise for another half an hour.
  12. Heat up your oven to 175°C and bake for 45 minutes. I had to bake my bread for 35 minutes because my oven is a bit stronger, but you will be the best judge of when the bread is ready.
My impressions of this bread is that the honey gives it that special something and this is what makes it go great with a bit of butter while it's still warm. You can expect the "wheat heads" to be a bit crunchier, but the rest of the bread will be very soft. I really hope that you will be equally happy with your results as I was with mine. :)

Bon appetit and happy Lammas! Yours,
Witch's Cat

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