Grittibänz (or soft buttery bread)

Today is the 6th of December.

We all know what this means, don’t we?


Samichlaus is here. ‘Samichlaus’ is the Swiss version of St. Nicholas and usually stops by every Swiss house (usually only houses with children in it though 😉 ) bearing gifts for the good kids and his helper ‘Schmutzli’ is handing out sticks for beating for the naughty kids. However, these days even the sticks have chocolate attached to it. It’s all very modern now and don’t worry, the sticks are just symbolic.

But traditionally ‘Samichlaus’ wouldn’t bear gifts such as toys, money or bikes. He would bring nuts, mandarins, apples and of course later chocolate in a straw bag. We would sometimes leave our shoes outside, when I was a child, and the next morning they would be filled with these treats. It was such a nice tradition.

But, he ho, I forgot one very special treat for ‘Samichlaus’ day and that is the Grittibänz. A wonderful buttery, fluffy bread, that is best when dunked in a hot chocolate or eaten with a chocolate bar pushed inside the bread. Deeelliiccciious!


Grittibänz for Samichlaus

  • Servings: 4 little men
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

500g flour (in Switzerland you can buy special ‘Zopfmehl but it works with any)
1.5 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. sugar
20g fresh yeast, crumbled
60g butter, soft
3dl milk, lukewarm

1 egg, beaten

1. Weigh the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and mix together.
2. Add the lukewarm milk and soft butter to the bowl.
3. Knead into a soft and smooth dough for about 10 minutes.
4. Leave it to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours (the dough needs to double in size).

I usually leave a with warm water sprinkled kitchen towel on to of the bowl. It helps the rise.

1. Once the dough has risen, divide it into 4 portions.
2. To form them little men, roll the dough into a cylinder and cut arms and legs with a sharp knife.
3. Then decorate it to your liking. You could even use sultanas or nuts to ‘draw’ a face.
4. Brush the 4 parts with the beaten egg.

Bake in the preheated oven at 180° for about 25 minutes.


The only thing that is now missing is the right weather to the into the Christmas spirit. It has been cold here for the past few days, but snow isn’t showing its face yet. I don’t know about you, but without snow, I just find it very hard to get into any Christmas spirit. So fingers crossed, that it will fall here soon.