A Loaf for Lammas

Posted 1 August 2012 by

In the Northern Hemisphere, it is Lammas Day today – 1st August. Lammas (“loaf mass”) is an ancient celebration of the first harvest. It is one of several holidays celebrated by Neo-Pagans as part of the Wheel of the Year; Lammas falls between Midsummer and the Autumn Equinox. It’s also known as Lughnasadh. The festival celebrates the first harvest of wheat and loaves of bread used to be brought to church to be blessed.

a plaited bread for Lammas Day

I couldn’t find any particular recipe appropriate for Lammas bread – it seems any bread will do. I have seen some amazing harvest breads baked in the shape of a sheaf of corn, some complete with a little harvest mouse. I might try that one day, but for now, a simple bread plait (braid) will do nicely.

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)

  • 750 g strong white bread flour
  • 3 tsp dried active yeast
  • 450 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp salt

Mix the honey with the water. If using dried active yeast, stir into the water and leave for 10 minutes to get a bit frothy. Mix the salt into the flour, and rub in the butter. Form a well, and pour in the yeast mixture. Bring the dough mixture together and tip out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Leave, covered, to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

Knock back the dough and divide into two (the amount of dough makes 2 loaves). For each half of the dough, divide into three equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long sausage.

three strands of bread dough, ready to be plaited.

Plait (braid) the strands of dough together, to form a loaf.

Leave the loaf to rise again until roughly doubled in size. If you want the top to have a glazed appearance, brush it with an egg wash. Decorate with seeds of your choice eg. poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Bake at about 210° C (410° F) for about 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Repeat for the second loaf, and enjoy!

I will be submitting this recipe to Wild Yeast’s Yeast Spotting.

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2 Responses to A Loaf for Lammas

  1. Dawn says:

    I just braided a pair of these up for our Lammas ceremony and celebration! Decorated with homegrown, dried lavender and poppy seeds!

    Thanks for the recipe.

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