In many parts of Germany the Weckman season starts with St. Martin’s Day. What is a “Weckman” you may ask? It’s a figure that is made out of yeast bread with raisin eyes and a smile and/or a clay pipe. Bakeries make them starting around St. Martin’s Day on Nov 11 until Saint Nicholas Day on the Dec 6th. It’s a lovely tradition that is missed so much!
This sweet bread speciality has many names which depend on the region where it is originated.
Southern Germany/Austria: Krampus
Switzerland: Grittibänz or Grättimaa
West Rhineland/Ruhrgebiet: Puhmann or Stutenkerl
Eifel: Märtesmann or Piefeklos
The dough is good for 15 sweet buns, 15 raisins buns, 8 Weckmen or 1 sweet braided bread (Zopf).
500 g flour, all purpose, wheat
60 g butter
60 g sugar
7 g salt
35 g fresh yeast (see below) or 1 package active dry yeast
200 ml milk
1 egg yolk for glazing
– Place flour into a bowl, add warm milk and mix in yeast, mix a bit with flour then let raise for 15 min.
– Add other ingredients and knead until dough is smooth and not sticky.Form to a ball.
– Let dough ball raise for another 20 minutes, covered and at a warm place.
– Knead again on a baking board and form the Weckmen: Use raisins for the eyes and buttons, place them on a baking tray layered with baking paper, let sit for another 20-30 min.
– Beat egg yolk and with a baking brush, brush it all over the dough, the Weckmen or whatever you are baking.
– Preheat oven to 220 C or 350 F and bake for 10-40 minutes (time is depending on what kind of bread you are making).
– If you want to bake raisins buns mix about 120 g raisins to the dough.
Make the dough the night before. Place dough buns on a baking tray and keep in the fridge, cover it with a moist kitchen cloth. Bake in the morning and enjoy them fresh for breakfast.
– Use the dough as base for a prune or apple cake that will be baked on a deep baking tray.