A popular sweet treat eaten on and around St. Martin's Day (November 11th) is the traditional Weckmann, a sweet bread roll shaped into a gingerbread man form with raisin eyes and a white clay pipe in his mouth. The Weckmann can be purchased in the majority of German bakeries in regions where St. Martin's Day is celebrated or can be made at home. Here's a recipe to make your own Weckmann.*Serves: 10
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sweet butter
3 tablespoon (1/6 cup) shortening
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons real vanilla extract
1 grated lemon peel
1 bag rapid yeast (1/4 ounce)
3 tablespoon warm water
4 whole eggs
6 2/3 cups flour
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water for glazing
Mix yeast with warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Combine milk, butter, shortening, and sugar, in a saucepan and heat gently then set aside to cool. Place flour in a large bowl, make a well in the middle of the flour and pour yeast mixture into the well, cover and let rise for 20 minutes. Add milk mixture to flour and mix all the ingredients together. Knead into a ball, dust with flour and let rise for 45 minutes.
Roll dough and divide into 10 pieces to form into gingerbread men shaped Weckmänner. Place the Weckmänner on a large baking sheet covered with baking or wax paper, making sure to leave enough room between each shape. Let rise for a further 20 to 45 minutes.
Brush with egg and water mixture, decorate with raisins and dried cranberries for the eyes and buttons*
Bake at 325 to 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.
*Note: A traditional Weckmann in Germany would have a clay pipe in his mouth. Unfortunately we are unable to locate a U.S. source for these clay pipes. Please contact us if you know of a source to share with our readers.Recipe and photos courtesy of Iris Richardson at Iris Richardson Photography