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!
- 500 grams flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 TBS sugar
- 60 grams butter soft
- 20 grams fresh yeast
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.
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
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
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.
paint on egg wash before baking. (egg yolk and a bit of milk)
Bake @ 200 degrees Celsius until golden brown (about 15 minutes)