Last year, on the feast of St. Brigid, my family enjoyed the delicious St. Brigid's Bread found in the archives. Another option for her feast day is this authentic Irish recipe for St. Brigid's Oaten Bread, from Travel Ireland at About.com:
"Saint Brigid was known to travel the countryside, blessing households as she went ... accompanied by a white cow with red ears. You should make her feel welcome, just in case she passes by - placing bread and fresh butter on the outside windowsill, together with corn for the cow, usually does the trick. Also remember to lay out some rushes for her. These are to kneel on while blessing the household.
One was also advised to make fresh butter for Saint Brigid’s Day , maybe not a practical idea in modern times. You might, however, be willing to prepare a special dinner for Saint Brigid’s Eve. And remember that Saint Brigid’s Day was also a day for those who have to give food to those who haven‘t.
In many regions a special oat bread was baked for Saint Brigid’s Day - Saint Brigid’s Bread. [You’ll find the recipe below] – but remember that ideally this should have been blessed by a priest and then shared."
I made a loaf of this bread yesterday and it didn't last long! Next time I think I better double the recipe.
St. Brigid's Oaten Bread
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, in small pieces
3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal (old fashioned)
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a baking sheet.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add butter bits and cut in with knife until mixture is crumbly. Add oats and mix well.
Beat the egg with the buttermilk in a separate bowl.
Make a "well" in the dry ingredients, then pour in the egg mixture and mix all with a fork until the crumbs hold together. Form the dough into a ball and knead (on a floured surface, about 20-25 times). Add flour if the mass is still too sticky to work with.
Form the doughball into 8-inch round and transfer it to the baking sheet.
Score a deep cross into the bread but do not cut through.
Bake for fifteeen to twenty minutes, or until medium brown and a tester comes out clean.
If you have children, don't forget to pull out a picture book (The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare, Brigid's Cloak with the study guide in Catholic Mosaic, or Saint Brigid and the Cows) to read to them. While listening to her story, they can color Charlotte's beautiful St. Brigid Coloring Page while you enjoy a warm cup of Irish Tea. At least that is what our family will be doing on her feast day this week!
St. Brigid of Ireland, Pray for Us!