Daily Archives: January 23, 2014

B is for Baking – Pagan Blog Project 2014

It’s been a good two weeks since I last made bread, at least it feels that way. Right now, I’ve got a new batch of bread dough rising on my kitchen counter, so fluffy that it’s pushing the lid (an old denby plate of my wife’s) off the blue bowl to take a look around.
(I love quick-rising yeast – it’s exactly the same as every other kind of baking yeast, but it’s a much finer powder, so it works a little more quickly. Apparently).
I’m looking at an almond cake recipe and wondering if I can’t add a hint of cocoa and some vanilla-nutmeg pear butter to the mix (maybe in lieu of the orange zest and some of the sugar/eggs?) in order to make a slightly dense coffee cake type dessert loaf for my upcoming Imbolg ritual.
Something like:
1 C ground almonds
1/4 C cocoa
3/4 C icing sugar
3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/4 C pear butter

1) Beat the egg whites with the cocoa until stiff.
2) In a second bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and pear butter together, then add the ground almonds, still beating.
3) Gently fold in the egg whites, a little at a time, until well-incorporated.
4) Pour batter into a well-greased cake pan (of 5C loaf-pan?) and:
5) Bake at 325F for 45 minutes, give or take. (Just keep an eye on it. When it smells done, give it the fork test. It might take less time to bake, or it might take up to an hour. I have no idea as I haven’t tested this recipe. Yet).
6) When it passes the Fork Test, remove from oven and allow to cool.
7) Serve with Preserves (chocolate cherry spread OR pears in syrup will both work well) and/or whipped cream, and ENJOY. 😀
Baking keeps me grounded. Beking keeps me centered. Other people do tree meditations or cast circles, but I make food. It’s part of why Friday (usually) isn’t just “offering day”, it’s also baking day, fancy dinner day, and candle-making day. Returning to these tasks that are simple and fruitful and creative all at once, touching them with some degree of mindfulness (if I can even call it that) feels like re-finding my own sense of balance.
I’ve got a big conference coming up the week after next, I’m nervous as all-get-out, and more than a little bit stressed about it, and so what am I doing? Making a cake. And bread. If I’m not careful, I’ll wind up doing some kind of pot pie for dinner tonight, just to keep the oven on a little longer.
So it goes.
It’s funny. Lammas/Lughnassadh is officially the festival of grain (around here, that means sweet corn on the cob, for the short, short time that it’s in season), but I see an awful lot of people making “Bride’s Bread” braided egg-bread with nest-spaced for little glass tealight or votive holders built into it, for Imbolg. If Beltane and Samhain are feasts of the Otherworld, then are Imbolg and Lammas feasts for the living? Feasts for the staff of life?
Things to think about.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.