This post is one that I've been meaning to do… for a year! 

But then - you know how it is - once December had begun, I got busy!

So this year… ta-daaaaa! 

Little Swiss yeast men, called Grittibänze!

But then - you know how it is - in our tiny country, every region is proud of their own dialect and their own names for the same thing. So the folks in the Zurich area where I live call them Grittibänze. Drive an hour and you'll get to Basel where they are called Grättimänner. Cross the border a couple of miles away, the German neighbors say those are Weckmänner or  Stutenkerle, the Alsatians Männeli, and our French speaking fellow Swiss bake their Bonhommes.

And just as many names that are out there - at least the same amount of recipes exist. Some almost double the measurements for butter, others mix in sugar, experiment with curd as an ingredient, etc.

I say save the sugar for the cookies! Here is the recipe that I use:

Grittibänze Recipe

4 cups flour - all purpose flour is fine, if you can find anything finer ground, even better
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup whole milk, warm
8 teaspoons liquid yeast or equivalent dry yeast

Mix, knead well, cover with a cloth and let rise for 60 - 90 minutes.

Form little guys ("freestyle" or roll out your dough and use a gingerbread man cookie cutter) and  decorate with chocolate chips, nuts, raisins,…

Let rise for another 30 minutes, coat with egg yolk or egg wash.

Bake at 350°F for 20 - 25 minutes

This is how nice the dough looks after rising for at least an hour

Shape as best as you can

The rising process may pop out your little guys' eyeballs…
Just squeeze them back in ;-)

My cute little helper in 2013

My cute little helper in 2014

It drives me crazy how they turn out sometimes.

So I use the cookie cutting method

Less is more ;-)

Once the Holidays are over, you can use the same recipe and shape braids. It's a very typical and yummy Swiss breakfast pastry. There is even a recipe on (she forgot to mention that the dough needs to rise until doubled in size before shaping)

A word to the braiding… there are people out there who use 6 or even 8 strands!! I am challenged enough with 2, but you'll be fine ;-) Otherwise you may watch this video. Some Swiss (Bernese) guys camping and baking in Alaska!

Did you catch that technique? Here's another one, closer up:

And if you don't want to do the braiding… just use cake loaf pans, works fine, too:

There's not many things smelling nicer than freshly baked Zopf. Cinnamon rolls, maybe. But that's it!

Give it a try, will ya? Let me know how it turned out!