Inspired by my resurgent memories of Bonfire Night last week and because I felt I couldn’t leave my recent column’s story without a recipe to get a taste of the Weckmänner, I set out to make some of my own. I’ve hunted down a recipe on the internet that reminded me of the simple ingredients list I remembered from my kidnergarten days and “translated” it to something that is a little easier to get hold of here in England.
Ingredients: Makes 6-8
250ml lukewarm milk
1 packet of fast acting dried yeast
600g strong white bread flour
100g butter, melted and cooled
100g caster sugar
zest of one lemon
handfull of raisins
1 egg and splash of milk to brush the dough
Mix the yeast into the lukewarm milk and let it stand for a minute. Meanwhile weigh up the 600g of flour. Make a well in the middle and pour the milk yeast mixture into it. Cover the surface of the milk with a sprinkle of the flour and some of the sugar, about half a tablespoon. Without mixing, cover the bowl and let it all sit for 15min in a warm place.
After 15min add the butter, remaining sugar, eggs and lemon zest and knead until you’ve got a smooth dough. Preferably use a kitchen machine with a dough hook and let it do the mixing for you.
Re-cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place for at least 30min.
Once the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and give it another knead with your hands. Dust it regularly with flour if you find it too sticky. Then lay the dough out in a swiss roll shape and cut it into equal pieces. Now each piece needs to be formed into a little man shape. Take a piece and roll it flat into a thick oval disc. Make two small horizontal cuts about 1/3 from the top of the oval, Take the top tips and fold them under the dough to form the head. Then using two fingers push the dough a little further in where the cuts are to create a neck. Next make two cuts halfway down the oval, cutting about 2cm in and upwards. This will be the arms of the Weckmann. Finally, one vertical cut about 2cm at the bottom of the oval disc to seperate the legs. Push two raisins into the head for the eyes and three down the body for the buttons. Repeat this for all dough pieces and then place your Weckmänner on a baking tray. Cover and let them rise for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the oven to 200degree. When the Weckmänner have risen, brush them with the egg and milk mixture before baking them in the oven for 15-20min. They are ready when golden on the top.
Eat them fresh from the tray with a slather of butter, dip them in your chilli for a sweet savoury surprise or simply enjoy with jam for your next breakfast.
Read Oh&H: The Taste of Memories for the full story on my love for Weckmänner.