The Weckmann - Man of the Holiday Season

Weckmänner Enlarge image The Weckmann is a popular treat for either St. Martin’s Day or St. Nicholas Day. (© dpa - Fotoreport) Formed out of sweet yeast dough, this man goes by many names in Germany— Weckmann, Nikolaus, Stutenkerl, among others—and is a popular treat for either St. Martin’s Day on November 11, or St. Nicholas Day on December 6. For the traditional Weckmann, the dough is shaped by hand into the form of a man, and raisins and/or nuts are used for eyes and buttons. In Germany, a clay pipe is often added, but this detail is hard to find in the United States.

The following recipe comes from the website germanfoods.org and is used with permission.

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

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 men. Place the men 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.

© www.germanfoods.org

Weckmann Recipe

Girl with homemade lantern in Hamburg

Celebrating St. Martin's Day on November 11

St. Martin's Day © picture-alliance/ dpa

Children with colorful, handmade lanterns promenade through the streets, cheerfully singing songs they learned by heart and hoping to catch a glimpse of the man in the medieval soldier’s uniform. Learn more about the celebration of St. Martin.

The Legend of Saint Nicholas

Nicholas in training

A man with a long white beard, a bishop’s miter, and a thick red cape comes knocking on the door at some houses every December 6. Other children wake to find their shoes have been filled with treats. Who is this international man of mystery?