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Swiss Grittibänzen

A Grittibänz from Samichlaus

What St. Nicholas brings in Switzerland

Today is St Nicholas’ Day which means St. Nicholas fills our boots with little gifts.

In Switzerland, St. Nicholas is called Samichlaus and he brought us a traditional Grittibänz. This is a yeast pastry in the shape of a man. The classic Grittibänz comes with a clay pipe and sultana eyes. If that’s too boring for you, you can start a small project and bake some yourself. There are no limits to creativity: there are Grittibänz with Christmas hats, gloves and scarves, with fancy hairstyles, jackets or coats and, of course, Grittibänz women must not be missing. Have you got the urge to bake some too? Then you can find a simple recipe here:



Ingredients for 4 pieces:

  • 1 cube of yeast (42 g)
  • 200 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 375 g flour
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 50 g butter, soft
  • 1 egg
  • Raisins and almond sticks for decoration


Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Knead into a smooth dough with the flour, sugar, salt and butter.

Cover and let the dough rise twice at room temperature (approx. 30 minutes to 1 hour).

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Knead dough lightly, divide into 4 portions, shape each into a roll, cut off about 1/5 for hair and decorations. Cut head, arms and legs. Glue decorations with a little water. Place Grittibänzen on a baking tray lined with baking paper and let rise for another 15 – 20 minutes.

Beat the egg, brush the Grittibänzen with it, decorate with raisins and almonds, pressing them well into the dough.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

En Gute!


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