Blogger Tanja bakes us a Weckmann for St. Martin’s Day
“Weckmänner”, “Martinsmänner”, “Stutenkerle”, “Dambeidei” or “Krampus”, that's just some of the names for the small bread men who make an appearance in Southern German bakeries around St. Martin's Day.
In North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse, you can find these little guys throughout November! They’re also popular in Switzerland and the Netherlands, but here, and elsewhere, they are called ‘Klausen’ men and are baked in December instead, for St Nicholas’ Day. But we don’t want to wait that long to taste these wonderful treats, so we’ve decided to bake our Weckmänner in celebration of St. Martin’s Day – 11th November. In honour of St. Martin, who was a bishop, the Weckmann bread figures are often decorated with a small clay pipe in their hands, which is supposed to represent the bishop’s crook.
Children especially love these sweet treats and can also help in baking their own Weckmann too. Here’s a great recipe for you which makes four, just enough to go around:
for four "men"
- 1 kg. of flour
- 2 sachets of dried yeast
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 organic lemon (attrition)
- 120 g. of butter
- 550 ml. of milk
- 2 eggs
- 40 currants or raisins
- 4 small clay pipes
Put the flour, dried yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Then scrape out the vanilla from its pod, wash the lemon and grate the skin. Add the vanilla and lemon rind to the flour mixture and, using your hands or the end of a spoon, create a small hole in the middle.Melt the butter in a small saucepan and in a separate pan gently heat the milk. Pour the melted butter and 1 egg into the hole in the flour mixture. Then add 2 tbsp. of the warm milk. Mix with the dough hook extension in a food processor, or with your hands, until you have a nice, smooth dough before leaving the dough to prove for about 40 minutes until it triples in size.Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.Knead the dough on a floured work surface and divide into 4 pieces.
Now you can sculpt and decorate your four Weckmann figures.
For each Weckmann take a piece of dough roll it out into a long shape, first form the head and then cut a slit with a knife, from the middle to around half-way up, for the legs. Then, for each separate figure you cut one slit on the left side and one on the right to form the arms. As you will see, the dough is really easy to work with, all your Weckmann needs now is a face, pipe and a nice, shiny glaze.
Separate the remaining egg and then whisk the egg yolks with the remaining milk, this is your glaze so simply paint it onto your Weckmann. Now add some decorative currants and then lightly press the clay pipes into the dough. Then bake for about 20 minutes.
Tanja is from Aschaffenburg, she writes for her blog – Frauzuckerstein.de about the enjoying the little things in life, especially baking. She has a sweet tooth, and you can find all things sweet on her blog –cakes, pastries and cookies. As a mom of two little boys she always has little helpers who are more than happy to eat her creations.