Samichlaus Bread

Samichlaus (santa) bread

sami chlaus bread

Switzerland, like many other European countries have a rich standing tradition with breads. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can be reflective of a certain holiday or season. Easter Bread, August 1 bread, Three King's Bread, and for Christmas you have the Grittibaenz (bread men or figures), and the Samichlausbrot, which is a santa's head. The Samichlausbrot is what I'm displaying today. They are made of the same dough as the zopf, only with the samibrot, each one is specially prepared. There is a trick in the shaping (as is in the Grittibaenz) but that's half the fun. Make some dough, let it rise, then call the family in to do their own personal interpretations of their own Samichlausbrot! You'll notice in our post, that each Santa has his own look...they take on their own sort of persona!

Course Snack
Cuisine Swiss
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 figures


  • 500 grams flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 60 grams butter soft
  • 20 grams fresh yeast


  1. In a small sauce pan, warm the milk and butter together until warm, not hot.  Take off the heat and add the yeast to the mixture until dissolved and well combined.  Add to dry mixture.

  2. Kneed dough by hand for about 15 minutes until dough is well combined and very soft.  Or, if using a mixer, mix for about 10 minutes until well combined

  3. Set dough aside to rise, laying a warm, wet towel over the dough.  Let rise until it's doubled in size, usually 1-2 hours

  4. Divide dough in to equal sections (about 8) and begin to form.  Use your imagination to get your desired results.  Use raisins to decorate the eyes, and a dough ball for the nose, etc. 

  5. paint on egg wash before baking.  (egg yolk and a bit of milk)

    Bake @ 200 degrees Celsius until golden brown (about 15 minutes)

  • finished bunch


Swiss Bread: Luzerner Brot

lucerne bread – Luzerner Brot or also called lucerne weggen

This is the famous lucerne bread or Luzerner Weggen.  This bread has a distinctive look, the only one in fact out of the ‘Swiss” breads that have this characteristic-the slit.  The slit is formed down the long side of the bread, I think to give the user the option of splitting it in half to maybe freeze the other half and keep it fresh, while only using the one fresh half.  I haven’t been able to find any history on this bread other than it is unique in that it’s made with the Ruchmehl (which is a wheat flour of good quality) and it’s combined with a sour-dough starter, thus the immense airy quality of this bread.  Second, it’s formed slit is not cut, but rather formed, more than likely with a wood tool for bakers, or a side of the hand, it’s not cut.  Last, to achieve this incredibly crispy crust, it’s baked at a very high temperature, thus explaining it’s darker crust exterior.  It’s a truly lovely bread that has a very special aroma.  A Canton dating back to the 700’s, thus making it’s official debut as one of the first 3 Canton’s joining the Swiss Confederacy in the 1300’s, I think this bread has more of a history than it’s revealing.  One thing is for sure, the taste, the smell, and the soft airy texture of the inside of this bread.  It’s amazing!

Thanksgiving Day Menu

We ordered & picked up our fresh bird from an all organic farm(Wendelinhof) in the neighboring town which raises turkeys. Now our meal was ready to begin.  An American tradition, dating back to the first celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621, which was attended by the two most important breeds in the new world-the demure, white European Pilgrims, and the wild, pesky Native’s.  Old meets new?  Old meets old?  Who’s to say.  It took almost 150 years more to officiate this feast by declaring it a federal holiday in 1863.  What it has evolved into following another 150 years has remained a true day of feast.  The feast dictates the day, and if you’re luck enough to celebrate with family and friends, the day is even more worthy.  I think our Thanksgiving menu has always been a mix of the original, “old meets new”.  My mother incorporated her heritage with the american way…We always had a touch of Italian in our menu-Risotto, ravioli’s, canoli, biscotti…it was always felt.  If you have a strong family heritage as well, for sure incorporate it into your holiday menu.  Sure, over the years we update our recipe options:  maybe one year will be a chestnut-stuffed bird, or maybe candied sweet potatoes, or a mashed carrot side dish-but the meal is certainly reflective of the seasonal harvest of the fall.  Carrots, shallots, onions, potatoes, cruciferous veg, pumpkins, and the main event…the bird.

I love turkey’s.  I think they are incredibly intelligent creatures and again, I feel guilt when I put one on my menu, but there is a special place in my heart for the Thanksgiving bird.  In a guilt easing approach to this yearly tradition, I try to out-source my bird from a local grower, rather than from a large super market chain.  My hopes are that he or she has lived a wonderful life, eating drinking and being merry until the month of November arrives…Believe me, the taste will be observed from a happy, well raised bird.  This year, our turkey was slaughtered on Wednesday morning, and we cooked it the next day.  The meat was so tender and juicy and she was cooked to perfection.   My steps in cooking the bird were pretty simple.  I took her out of the bag, put her on the working board and began to butter, stuff and season her up.  I followed the basic baking guide based on the weight, and she cooked for about 2 hours, and sat covered for 20 minutes.  I did not open the oven door at all during the roasting process.  Just let her sit in the wine juices and the butter while she cooked and crisped.  Very simple, if you ask me!

Menu for Thanksgiving 2017:  celebrated over the pond,  in Europe.

  • Organic Turkey (4.5kg=8.5lbs), butter rubbed and herbed
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Red caramelized onions with sliced carrots
  • Brussel sprouts cooked with chunks of organic ‘bacon’
  • Stuffing made with fresh French bread, garlic, dried apricots, celery, celery root, Italian sausage and turkey hearts
  • Served with a warm hearty red wine

Get creative, have fun, and make some memories through celebrating your heritage.


 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)Roasting Time (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds3-1/2 to 4 hours4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds4 to 4-1/2 hours5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds4-1/2 to 5 hours5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours
Cooking a turkey

Load more