Thursday, October 16, 2014

Soles of St. Hedwig

St Hedwig, known as St. Jadwiga in Poland, was a 13th century duchess of Silesia and is a historic patroness of Poland.  Her feast day is October 16. On this feast day, in that region, there is a bread called Hedwigsohlen (Shoe Soles of St. Hedwig) that was historically distributed to the poor of Trebnitz, the location of the Cistercian abbey which her husband founded and she later entered. The biography at Catholic Culture website states St. Hedwig led a life of piety and solicitude for the sick and poor, including their religious education. She lived a life of poverty and humility, despite her prominent position. Every day, even in winter, she would walk barefooted, so her feet were in bad shape. A story tells us her husband sent her a pair of shoes, insisting that she not be without them — so she kept them under her arm. The shoe soles, depicted in the bread shape, remind us of her generosity to the poor, and the fact that she sacrificed her own comfortable shoes when walking. 


For dough 
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 lemon
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg 

For topping 
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 egg yolk

Mix half of the milk with a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let stand until frothy. Grate the peel of half of the lemon. Mix this and all the other dough ingredients with the yeast mixture to make a smooth dough. It may be necessary to add extra flour or liquid so the dough is pliable. 

Let dough rest for 45 minutes. Cut the dough into 10 small balls and pieces and form each into the shape of the sole of a shoe.  The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Put the "soles" onto a greased baking sheet,  let rise and rest for about 20 minutes. 

Bake the bread in preheated oven at 400 ° F (200 ° C) for 20 minutes until golden brown. Five minutes before the end of baking time, brush the top of each "sole" with the mixture of sour cream and egg yolk. Sprinkle with sugar and return to oven for last 5 minutes.

This recipe is from Cooking with the Saints by Ernest Schuegraf. Any bread dough recipe could be used and shaped into the sole shape.  In fact, you could use pre-prepared dough or even biscuit or cookie dough as those can easily be cut in the desired shape - and retain the shape well. Lots of possibilities for "sole" food in memory of St. Hedwig. 

St. Hedwig, Pray for us!

Pin It


  1. Your Polish Pottery is a beautiful addition to a lovely photo! Thanks for the wonderful cooking ideas.

    1. Thanks. I was hoping someone would notice. I love Polish pottery and thought it was fitting for the Polish tradition posts.

  2. What a fun treat! They look delicious.

  3. Thanks and hope you try them. Sorry for posting on the feast date instead of in advance, but it was all I could manage this week.

  4. Love these, Mary! Thank you for posting!

  5. St. Jadwiga is such an honored saint in Poland! She was the first and only woman to ever hold the title "King" when ruling her kingdom. She is buried in the Royal Cathedral in her own vault. There is a cobble stone in Krakow, where I live, that has been fastened to the side of a Church. This cobble has the imprint of a foot that is said to be the footprint of St. Jadwiga who knelt in front of the Crucifix outside the church and when she arose her sole left an imprint in the concrete, such was her fervor and devotion to Christ. Just some fun acts I thought you would like to know!

  6. I love the story of this unconventional and creative woman! She was a dedicated mother and wife, a builder of monasteries and hospitals, an incredible examples to others in her work for those with less, and probably the most astonishing, a peacemaker, riding onto battlefields to negotiate! I will bake her bread today in her honor!