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Grittibänz is a Swiss tradition of making bread in the shape of a man to celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. In my family we do it using a traditional zopf dough. This zopf bread recipe is a recipe my mom has been making for years and it is delicious. This is such a cute thing to do every year, last year my mom made the dough and my sister and I formed them. It was a ton of fun.


3 1/8 cups all purpose flour *see notes

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp instant yeast

1 1/2 cups milk, lukewarm

1/4 cup canola oil, lukewarm

1 egg

8 rasins, garnish

1 egg

Servings: 4

In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Heat milk and oil until lukewarm temperature, either in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. You do not want it hot, ensure you do not overheat. Stir yeast into milk and oil mixture. With a fork beat egg in a small container. With a fork gradually mix yeast mixture and egg into flour & salt. Mix until dough forms a ball. Knead for 8 minutes. Cover with a warm damp towel and let rise for 2 hours.

Once dough has risen separate dough into 4 parts plus set aside a little ball for optional hats, noses or scarfs. See photos below for how to form.

Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375˙F.

Once dough has rested in the fridge for one hour. Beat egg in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg. Place raisins on as either eyes or buttons, this is an optional step but looks so cute! Bake for 25 minutes or until nice and golden colour.

Fully cool on a wire rack and enjoy!


This recipe is originally double the size (makes 2 zopf loaves) but I wanted to do a slightly smaller batch for this one. When adding in the flour start with 3 cups of flour. You will need to add about 1/8-1/4 cup of flour while forming into a ball. The dough will be slightly sticky but able to form into a ball.

Helpful to make with a dough mixer, especially to help with kneading. Not necessary though. I made mine without one!

Makes 4 decent sized Grittibänz, you could also do 6 smaller ones if that is what you prefer.

And yes, my family is Swiss!

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