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Grittibänz or Weckmann

Mildly sweet and adorable Christmas season human shaped decorated breads from Swwitzerland/ Germany flavoured with orange zest.
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Course breads
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 4 Grittibänz or Weckmann


For the Dough :

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange optional
  • 3/4 cup milk at room temperature
  • 75 gm unsalted butter soft at room temperature

For Glazing and Decoration :

  • Cream or milk
  • Raisins
  • Pearl sugar
  • Almonds halved


  • Put all the ingredients into the bowl of your kneading machine except the milk and butter. Mix well. Then add the milk and mix. Add the butter and knead until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough. Add a little more milk or flour, as required to achieve this consistency. You can also knead by hand.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl, turning it round to coat completely. Cover loosely and let it rise till double in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
  • Gently knead to de-gas the dough. Divide it into 5 equal portions. This is for 4 Grittibänz or Weckmann and the fifth portion is for the decorations. Each Grittibänz will be about 7 to 8-inches long.
  • Please watch the videos before proceeding with the shaping. Roll each of the 4 portions into a log. Somewhere between 1/4th and 1/3rd distance from one end of the log, use your little finger while rolling to form a depression which will be the neck of the figure. The log should have a head and body now. Do this with all four logs.
  • Work with one log at a time and refrigerate the others if you have a warm kitchen. Using a scraper, cut the body into legs and arms. Use pieces from the fifth ball of dough to fashion hats, scarves, hair for the women, belts, arm and leg bands, etc. Use raisins for the eyes and buttons. Just ensure that the raisins are pushed in well. Also make sure that the ends of scarves, ties, etc are well tucked under the figure or they will come loose during baking.
  • Once shaped and decorated, place on parchment lined baking sheets and return to the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes. When ready to bake, brush with a mixture of cream and milk (1:1). You can use egg wash also. Use halved almonds and pearl sugar for decoration. Press down lightly. They will stick on the cream brushed dough better. Decorate as you please.
  • Bake at 190C (375F) for about 20 minutes till done and golden brown in colour. Cool on a rack.