We now celebrate the “coming out” of a silly ground hog on February 2. However, from ancient times, this has always been a serious celebration of return of the Sun and warmth. Farmers returned to the fields for early clearing and women aired the homes from the winter stuffiness.
The Celts honored the goddess Brigid, who would later be St. Bridget, the goddess of the light and of farm animals. At this time of year grains were still relatively plentiful. Many of the dishes honoring this day between the winter solstice, the darkest day, and Autumnal Equinox, when the Sun returns, emphasized oats. If you want to honor the day, try this Brigid’s Oat Bread.
1 cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup honey or agave
3 tablespoons butter, softened
¾ cups oatmeal, don’t use instant oatmeal
½ cup milk
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried fruit – optional
1/8 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Lay parchment paper on an 8 inch baking sheet – and then grease the parchment paper with butter.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and honey and mix well. Stir in the butter and oats and stir until all of the oats are moistened. Stir in each egg separately and then add the milk. Stir in the raisins and fruit (if adding).
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 1 -2 minutes until not sticky. You can add some more flour if it is sticky – but not too much.
Form the dough into an 8-inch round and place on the baking sheet. Score a deep cross on top of the bread – but don’t cut all the way through the loaf.
Bake 20 -25 minutes – until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.