Bread is the ultimate symbol of the Lammas season. After all, once the grain is harvested, it is milled and baked into bread, which is then consumed. It is the cycle of the harvest come full circle. The spirit of the grain god lives on through us in the eating of the bread. In many traditions, a loaf of special bread is baked in the shape of a man, to symbolize the god of the harvest.
You can easily make a loaf of Lammas bread by using a pre-made loaf of bread dough, found in the frozen food section in your grocery store. Certainly, you can make your own dough, but if you’re not much of a baker, this is an easy alternative. If you’d like to make your own, here’s a recipe:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups bread flour, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups milk, scalded
- 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
How to make it:
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the peanut butter and the honey to the hot milk and stir to combine. Cool milk mix until it reaches 115ºF. Stir milk mix into flour mix.
Knead for 15 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to make a smooth, elastic dough. Oil the dough’s surface, then cover with plastic or a damp towel.
Let it rise in a warm spot until double. Punch down, then shape into 2 rectangle loaves, which could be subdivided into three equal sections and braided, or you could make one large braided wreath. Sometimes these loaves are shaped into “man” shapes, or if you’re really artistic, into a sheaf of wheat.
Let rise again until doubled. Bake at 375ºF until golden; it should make a hollow sound when tapped. Yield: 1 large or 2 regular-sized loaves
Source: The Fairy Party Book