Today is Lammas (or Lughnasadh if you prefer the Celtic version of the name), the first of the three harvest festivals and the Sabbats that honor them. The word Lammas is believed to be derived from the "loaf mass," the old European celebration where bread from the first wheat harvested was baked into loaves of fresh bread. The name Lughnasadh comes from the Celtic god of light, fire and the sun: Lugh. Because the light is now beginning to fade, this holiday marks the day of his demise. This isn't at all a sad thing, however, as his sacrifice reaps the bounty of the coming harvests.
Grain is the most important aspect of this holiday and baking bread is a tradition. Today I baked two loaves of a light yeast-free bread as I'm unfortunately allergic to yeast. I made them plain this year, but sometimes I add fresh herbs or chopped and dried fruits. This is an easy-to-make recipe, quicker than yeast bread, but richer and denser than a typical loafcake type bread.
YEAST FREE BREAD makes one loaf
3 cups organic white flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 slightly beaten jumbo-sized egg
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) organic butter, melted
2 cups dried chopped fruit, optional
fresh crumbled or chopped dried herbs to taste, optional
In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients together. If adding dried fruit or herbs, add now to the dry ingredients. Combine milk, egg and butter in a separate bowl. Pour over flour mixture and mix just until moistened and well-combined. Do not beat with a mixer, this must be done by hand to ensure the batter stays light and is not overworked. Turn batter into a greased and lightly floured 9 1/2 x 5 1/2" loaf pan. Bake at 350f degrees for about one hour. Remove from the oven when golden and a smooth bladed knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool and remove from pan to continue cooling.
Enjoy the grain harvest this Lammas with this lovely (and quick) loaf of bread.