#53: New Years Traditions: Hogmany
More New Years Traditions at Pie Cottage plus a bread recipe
And here we are…the last day of 2021…and oh how I look forward to the clean slate of a brand new year as so many of us do.
Yesterday, I received a text message from a dear baking friend. As she finished cleaning up after a baking session, she told me of the sense of peace she felt simply due to the comfort of making pie. I know that feeling well. The small ritual of placing an empty bowl on to a cleared counter and taking a few breaths before I begin centers me. I celebrate good times and, like so many during these now nearly two years, the challenging times, with bread, scones and muffins, cookies, cakes, and pies, too.
Today, I will make a version of bread from a recipe in the copy of The Joy of Cooking that my mom gave me in 1972 on my nineteenth birthday—fifty years ago. It’s still one of the best breads I know and I’ll give a version of how I make it at the end. But, first let me tell you about a few more of our New Year’s traditions.
Chose one person to be the First Foot.
Assemble gifts for the First Foot to bring into the house. These generally include small items that represent the wishes for the new year.
A piece of coal, or in my case a piece of firewood for a warm hearth.
Bread and salt for all in the house to be fed.
A coin for financial prosperity.
And a drink (commonly whiskey) to represent good cheer.
Send the First Foot outside before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The First Foot knocks on the door after midnight. Three knocks are traditional, but they can knock however they please.
Open the door for the First Foot.
The First Foot steps over the threshold saying “A Happy New Year and Good Tidings to you and yours.”
The First Foot hands the gifts to the keeper of the household and accepts a drink (typically whiskey) from them to toast with them. This is symbolic of accepting blessings and “inviting good luck to stay.”
On New Years Day
Put a new penny in your pocket and those of your children for wealth in the New Year.
Change all your passwords.
Make a pot of black eyed peas and greens, traditionally called Hoppin’ John, and serve with cornbread. Folklore says the combination of eating peas and greens will bring luck and money in the upcoming year.
Here are a few others that have been shared with me.
In Italy wear red underpants (although some say pink) and eat lentils for good luck.
Eat long grain rice for long life. I think this is a very good one right now!
Whole Grain Bread Plus
(adapted from The Joy of Cooking1)
This bread can easily be made in a stand mixer with excellent results.
Makes 3 loaves
Place the following ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer and dissolve with a fork or whisk:
1/2 cup 85F water
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
Let stand for about 10 minutes for the yeast to bloom.
Add the following ingredients to the bowl and mix around a bit with a fork or whisk:
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup melted butter or neutral flavored oil (sunflower, safflower, canola etc)
2 cups lukewarm water
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
Fit the dough hook on to the stand mixer and “knead” on low for 15 minutes.
Pour a generous tablespoon of oil into a second bowl.
Scrape out the dough into the bowl. Turn the dough over and move it around in the bowl so that all surfaces of dough and bowl are well coated with oil.
Put a damp towel on top and let dough rise until double.
Punch down the dough and then turn it out on to a flat surface and knead a few times.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces.
Grease loaf pans well with oil, non-stick spray, or line them with greased parchment paper.
Form three loaves and place one in each of the greased loaf pans.
Cover with damp cloth and let rise until nearly to the top of the pans.
Place filled pans in a cold oven—yes, you read that right— and turn the oven to 400F and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn the oven to 375F and bake for 25 minutes more.
Remove the bread from the pans.
Place loaves on a wire rack to cool and cover with a damp cloth.
(The damp cloth will give a softer crust.)
Note: To get the bread out of a greased pan, take a blunt knife and carefully go around the edges trying not to break the crust. Then bang the the metal pan sharply on the counter. If it doesn’t come out, you might also try placing the hot pan into a lasagna pan filled with cold water for 5 minutes or so which will help to loosen the bottom of the crust. Then invert the pan and bang the pan again.
Healthy and Happy New Year to All!
Rombauer, Irma S. and Marion Rombauer Becker. Joy of Cooking. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1971.