Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lughnasadh Blueberry Sourdough Waffles

Blueberry Sourdough Waffles accompanied by lovely humanely-raised pork breakfast links 
and a stack of books from a recent trip to the recycling center

Lammas, Lughnasa, Lughnasadh--whatever you call it* or however you spell it, August 1st is a super-awesome holiday. It's what is referred to as a "first fruits" festival, meaning it kicks off the beginning of the harvest. In some parts of the Britain and Ireland, it's referred to as "Bilberry Day" and marks the first day of bilberry season. I don't have any bilberries, but I do have their American cousin, the blueberry. To incorporate both the wheat harvest aspect of Lughnasadh and Bilberry Day, I've made Blueberry Sourdough Waffles. Yummy yummy yummy.

I talked about the origins of the term "Lammas" this time last year, so in this post, I'll talk about Lughnasadh. The name comes from the Irish god Lugh. His grandfather was Balor, a tyrant ruling Tory Island. There was a prophecy that if Balor's only daughter, Eithne, gave birth to a son, he would kill his grandfather. So, Balor locked Eithne in a tower so she couldn't meet any men. However, she somehow managed to meet with Cian (who was evidently good at climbing) and eventually gave birth to Lugh. To say Balor was unhappy would be an understatement. He executed Cian and put Eithne and Lugh out on a boat to fend (or not) for themselves.

Unluckily for Balor, Eithne and Lugh didn't die out on the open sea. They were rescued by a smith who made a great spear for the boy and then Lugh was fostered out to the sea god Manannán Mac Lir, who taught Lugh many skills leading to Lugh's title of ildánach ("many gifted"). Next, Lugh was sent to foster with the Queen of Fir Bolg, Tailtiu, who died clearing Ireland's central plain so it could be put under cultivation. Lugh instituted an assembly in her honor that occurred every year sometime in late July or early August.

To read more about Lugh and Lughnasadh and other first-fruits myths and traditions, check out Lughnasa by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason.

*Both "Lughnasa" and "Lughnasadh" are pronounced loo-nahs-uh. 

Blueberry Sourdough Waffles

1 cup unfed sourdough starter* (your "discard" cup)
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sucanat or rapadura sugar
8 ounces sifted sprouted-wheat flour (or 2 cups all-purpose flour)

Sponge mixture
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup blueberries

At least 8 hours before you plan to cook your waffles, start the sponge. Place the cup of starter into a large mixing bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Add the sugar and then stir in the flour. Cover and rest at room temperature for at least eight hours.

To make the waffle batter stir the melted butter into the rested sponge mixture. In a separate mixing bowl, break up the eggs with a fork or whisk and add the salt, baking soda and spices. Stir into the batter. Finally, fold in the blueberries and cook on a preheated and greased waffle iron (check the instructions for your particular machine).

This recipe made 5 full sheets of waffles in my waffle iron. The serving in the photo is 1 sheet. To keep them warm while they cook, place waffles on a plate in your oven on the lowest heat. Waffles can be frozen and reheated.

Adapted from "Classic Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes" from King Arthur Flour.


About the ingredients:
  • My sourdough starter is from King Arthur Flour. I feed it with their all-purpose flour.
  • The buttermilk I use is from Kalona Supernaturals and is from grass-fed cows. It's also 2% instead of skim. Frequently I substitute milk soured with vinegar or some thinned-out yogurt. I used buttermilk in this recipe.
  • Flour should be sifted before it's weighed. I use a sprouted flour which has larger bits of bran that are easier to sift out. There's quite a bit of debate in the "real food" community about preparing grains. I tend to believe that, since they had sieves, our preindustrial ancestors would have sifted their flour. Unsifted stone-ground flour gives everything a "sawdust" texture. Plus, I read somewhere that the Romans sifted their wheat flour seven times through progressively finer sieves. I imagine a stoneground white flour would be a close approximation to the flour of wealthy Romans. Anyway, the sprouted-wheat flour I used is from To Your Health
  • Butter is pasture butter and is salted.
  • Eggs are free-range.
  • Spices are organic; nutmeg is freshly-grated.
  • Blueberries are organic.
*If fed starter is what you've got, that's perfectly fine. It's just not required for the starter to be proofed.


  1. Yay! It's august first! Just a month away from September :)
    This is another interesting post, these waffles look delicious, make me want to break out the waffle iron.
    Stay cool up there in kansas!~

    1. I'm hoping we'll have a nice September. Fingers crossed! If not, it's now only two months until October.

  2. Mmmm...these look delicious! Andy just made us a nice blueberry crumble. I'm digging the summer berries right now.

    1. Blueberry crumble sounds amazing. The thought of it is making my mouth water!

  3. When I saw the title to this post I thought of Dancing at Lughnasa, Brian Friel's play. What a delicious combo for waffles. Love.

    1. I've yet to see the play or the film version; I'm always afraid it will be too depressing! Probably need to get around to seeing it, though. I've heard it's really good.

  4. Oh my those waffles look divine, look the backstory so fascinating xx

  5. And you made me hungry yet again, that pic of the Blueberry Sourdough Waffles and Sausage links looks sinfully delicious!

    Nice piece on Lughnasa as well, thanks Lauren!

  6. Happy August 1st! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I'm not always in the mood to bake bread during the summer and look for more ways to use my starter. Blueberry waffles are perfect. And, as always, you shared an interesting story. Plus, how fun to say "bilberry"...I don't think I've encountered a real one.

    1. I've definitely never been face-to-face with a bilberry--lots of blueberries, though!

  7. This makes me wish I had the patience to put it all together. If my desire to eat it was all that mattered, I would be all over it. Since it actually takes work, I'm afraid I will just have to look at the lovely picture.

    I do like the Agatha Christie book you have in the pile. But I would love to know who the author of the bottom book is.

    1. The last book is Licensed for Murder by John Rhode, written in 1958. I just started it this week!

  8. Oh how I wish I had a waffle iron! They look scrummy. I live in Englamd and I have never seen a Bilberry either!

  9. That is a pretty cool story, and these blueberry waffles look amazing!

  10. There are few things that can't be improved by adding blueberries. Ha! Waffles are one of them. I don't have a waffle iron so I tend towards blueberry pancakes or frozen (gasp!) blueberry waffles onto which I sprinkle fresh blueberries. There's never too much of a good thing with blueberries. Love 'em.

    This looks like a great recipe, Lauren. Scrumptious photo, too.

    1. I'm sure this recipe would work for pancakes. I've never tried it because I don't have a griddle.

  11. Enjoyed your post - didn't think about making waffles with the sourdough! Looks yummy!

  12. Stunning. And I love the now knowing about the seven-siftings of Roman flour.

  13. Oh my mouth is watering for those waffles. Thanks for the great story and the recipe. Yum!

  14. Oh, this looks like the BEST way to start the weekend...fantasic waffles, sausage and a stack of books :)

  15. Miam !
    Best regards from Paris,


  16. The waffles look sensational - I am sorely tempted to buy a waffle iron so that I can make them.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.