Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Grattimänner Bread men

These bread men are called Grättimanner in the Basel region of Switzerland.  They are traditionally sold or made around the beginning of December.

In Switzerland Santa comes on 6th December and if the child has been good he is normally given a small sack filled with nuts, mandarins, chocolate and often a Grättimanner.

Basically these are sweet zopf style breads shaped into men.  Some are covered in sugar pearls, and some have a chocolate stick under their arm.  They are all yummy.

This is a bread dough, so there is rising time needed here, so if you're making this with small children it may be best to make the dough yourself the night before, leave it to rise overnight and let the kids just do the shaping, decorating and brushing part in the morning.


500g Zopf flour (white bread flour)
1tsp salt
75g Sugar
100g Butter (at room temp)
3dl/300ml Milk
1 sachet dried yeast (7g)

(makes 4 men)

In a big bowl sift together the flour and salt.

Warm the milk a little (just lukewarm) and put the sugar and yeast in it, mix it up and leave for a few minutes to get frothy.

Make a well in the flour and then add in the butter, then the yeast mixture and bring it all together to make a soft dough.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for at least 10minutes (put the timer on - this is longer than you think!)

Put the dough back in the bowl and cover it.  Leave it to rise for 2-3 hours at room temp or somewhere warm (like the drying room if you have one).  If you want to you can make it the night before and leave it in the fridge - and it will rise overnight.  It needs to double in size.

After it's nicely risen, take it out of the bowl and split the dough into 4 pieces.

Shape each piece into a man, or an animal (hedgehogs or mice work well too), or whatever shape your creative assistants wish, decorate with raisin eyes and sugar pearls if you have some.  Put on a greased baking sheet and brush with egg or milk

Bake in a pre-heated over at 200 deg C for about 30 minutes.

Matthew decided he was going to make a gratti pizza instead of a man.
Since first having this recipe I have a new convection oven.  So I need to play about with cooking them.  This year I cut down the cooking time to 20minutes but next time I might cut down the temp so they don't brown so much.  They also grow in the oven so give them space on the baking tray.  However they turned out the three kids making them soon polished them off.

If you don't have the sugar pearls you could ice it once it is cooked for this and other things you can do with the dough have a look at baking a Christmas wreath by Make and Takes  Think we might be trying a bread wreath or Christmas tree tomorrow.


  1. These turned out so cute! Thanks for sharing. :) I found this post at the Kids co-op. I would love it if you shared a post at my new link-up:


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