A Green Witch’s Herb Bread
This is a bread recipe I have grown so familiar with that it’s taken up root in my bones. If you’ve got a good relationship with the bread and can hear when it’s springy and when it needs to be kneaded, you can forego the measuring cups too. This will make a honeyed brown bread, perfect for Mabon (as it incorporates wheat, honey, and the hearth), or it can be formed into circular loaves with the Solar Cross cut into them for other witchy occasions.
1 packet yeast
4 cups half white, half whole wheat flour
Several tablespoons honey
1 bottle dark beer (like a porter) - must be room temperature. Trust me on this one.
1 egg, beaten
Herbs of your choice
Put yeast and honey in a bowl and add the beer. Stir gently and allow to rest til foamy (about 5 to 10 minutes, longer if needed). Add pinch of salt and beaten egg. Mix in flour gradually, using a wooden spoon if you can, until the dough forms one cohesive mass.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it! Use short, rapid strokes in cross directions, folding the dough over in half every other time or so. Work your intent deep into the dough at this time, and incorporate any herbs you wish to add (for Mabon: Use rosemary, crumbled walnuts, and rhubarb). Fully cover the dough in plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise for at least an hour. Return, and punch down the dough, re-wrapping it and letting it rise another hour or two. Form the dough into two equal loaves (you can form a pan shape out of oven-safe tinfoil if you need), cut a design into the top to allow for splitting, lightly dust with flour, and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Let cool for at least another 15 minutes before cutting to serve! I’ve had nothing but excellent results with this bread, and even when it looks like the crust has been burnt to all hell, it has usually done no such thing and the springy and fluffy insides make all the time worth it. Plus, the herbs can be substituted seasonally for each feast day and celebration!