Crone in Corrogue: Wild Wisdom of the Elder Years

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Bake Your Lunasa Loaf for Peace

In Ireland we have already had a chilly intimation of autumn. Last weekend was spent at a Bards By the Hearth event, since the weather was too abysmal for going out, even to walk John's lovely Tree Labyrinth. But being so close to Lammas, and since it was a Bring and Share event, I made my standard soda bread. It is technically a Northern Irish 'wheaten' loaf, except I make it with spelt. Like so many in Ireland, if I can't get organic wheat flour or buy an artisan loaf in a Farmer's Market, my gut pleads with me to stick with spelt.  Even one of the owner's of Ireland's big bread companies has just announced that he is gluten intolerant.

But I digress from Lunasa. You need to celebrate the harvest and baking bread is the best way I know.  It seems cheating if you resort to the bread machine, which I often do during busy weeks to make sure that I have a decent loaf in the house. Baking yeast bread can be tricky and takes time and patience to get the knack. But Irish soda bread is a sinch.  Our ancestors made it on an open fire. Indeed, a Belcoo woman still goes up to her ancestral cottage to make her 'fadge' (as thy call it in Fermanagh) on the open hearth, just as women down the centuries have done. It tastes better according to Margaret.

A Glenties woman, Breezy Kelly, loves making her own loaf just as she was taught by her mother.  I have tasted her bread and it is truly soul food in every sense. (Her colcannon is mighty, too.) Last summer, so saddened by all the violence and conflict in the world, she decided to start dedicating her bread baking to peace.  She asked friends over Facebook to start doing so, too. Then a Bake Bread for Peace Community was founded on Facebook.

If you are at all daunted about baking a loaf for Lunasagh or Lammas, let Breezy walk you through the steps on the YouTube tutorial below. She doesn't say how hot the oven should be in this video but aim for 200C and you should be right. You can use wholemeal (wholewheat) flour, but I suggest that you use organic for the reasons noted above. Or use spelt flour. Or a combination of flours. You will just have to feel your way to the amount of buttermilk to use. 

You will know when it is done when it gives a satisfying 'tump' tone when you tap the bottom. If you are very anxious about it the first time, put a skewer or knife into the center to make sure it comes out clean. Then it is done! Eat it up within two days. Not that it will last too long. It's nice hot with melted butter, toasted with jam,  or buttered on the side of your plate.

Lace your Lammas or Lunasa loaf with intentions for peace building at home and abroad. May we all harvest the peace that drops slowly but surely. If you develop a bread baking habit then 24th October is Bake Bread for Peace day. Join in with those rising intentions.


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Tagged in: bread Lammas Lunasa peace
Bee Smith has enjoyed a long relationship with SageWoman as a contributor, columnist and blogger. She lives in the Republic of Ireland, teaches creative writing and is a member of the Irish Art Council's Writers in Prisons panel. She is the author of "Brigid's Way: Celtic Reflections on the Divine Feminine."    


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