Dark Mother Bread with Spiced Apple Butter

>These are technically Pagan recipes but they really could be enjoyed by anyone. We eat these things at Mabon, which is the fall equinox, typically between September 20 and 23. I don’t see any reason why they could not be enjoyed throughout the fall season all the way through Samhain (Halloween) to Yule (December 19-22). Breads are very comforting and these ingredients are very reflective of the fall season. Nothing says fall more than a jar of apple butter!

Please refer to this blog for information about Mabon in general: http://jessicajewettonline.blogspot.com/2011/09/mabon-sabbat-of-fall-equinox.html

Dark Mother Bread

At Mabon, we celebrate the goddess in her aspect as the crone, or the Dark Mother. She is Demeter, she is Hecate, she is the wise old woman wielding a scythe rather than a basket of blooming flowers. This honey wheat blend is a delicious way to celebrate the end of the harvest and say farewell to the fertile months of summer. Serve warm with herbed oils for dipping, or with a big scoop of Apple Butter.

Make this either in your bread machine, or by kneading it by hand.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


    2 C. warm water
    1 Tbs. active dry yeast
    1/3 C. honey
    3 C. whole wheat flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 C. vegetable oil
    2 Tbs. butter
    4 C. all purpose baking flour


Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add honey and mix well.

Stir in the whole wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil, and butter and mix until a stiff dough has formed. Gradually work the all-purpose flour into the mix, one cup at a time.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, and knead for about fifteen minutes. When it reaches the point where it’s sort of elastic, shape it into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl. Cover with a warm, damp cloth, and allow to sit and rise until it’s doubled in size — usually about 45 minutes.

Punch the dough down and cut in half, so you can make two loaves of bread. Place each half in a greased loaf pan, and allow to rise. Once the dough has risen an inch or two above the top of the loaf pan, pop them in the oven. Bake at 375 for half an hour, or until golden brown at the top.

When you remove the loaves from the oven, allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before removing from the pan. If you like, brush some melted butter over the top of the hot loaves, to add a pretty golden glaze to them.

Note – If you’re doing this in a bread machine, remember, the recipes makes two loaves. Halve everything if you’re allowing the machine to do the mixing. If you hand mix it, you can still drop the single-loaf balls of dough into the machine to bake.

Spiced Apple Butter

This apple butter can be cooked on the stovetop or in a slower oven. Makes about 6 pints.


    5 pounds, juicy tart apples, about 12 to 15
    1 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
    2 1/2 cups sugar, approximately, or to taste
    3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Core and peel apples; cut into eighths. Put apple wedges and cider in a heavy enameled kettle over medium heat. Cook ontil soft, stirring to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. When cooled enough to handle, put apple mixture through a sieve or food mill. Add 1/4 cup white or brown sugar for each cup of apple pulp.

Return apple mixture to the kettle and stir in spices. Bring to a gentle boil; cook until sugar is melted.

You can follow directions for cooking the apple butter on the stovetop or in the oven. The stovetop apple butter should be watched very closely and stirred constantly to prevent scorching. The oven method is less apt to scorch, but might develop a caramelized skin, which can be removed.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixure has a sheen and mounds slightly on a spoon. Watch carefully and keep stirring to prevent scorching.

Or, put kettle in a 300° oven and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until mixure has a sheen and mounds slightly on a spoon.

A jelly thermometer will be just under 220° when it is ready. (sea level)

Spoon apple butter into clean hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace for 1/2-pint jars or 1/2-inch of headspace for 1-pint jars. Following jar manufacturer’s instructions, place seals and rings on jars, taking care to keep rims clean with a damp clean cloth. Adjust seals and process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars and adjust rings to seal if necessary.

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