Grittibänz – the sweet breadman

Grittibänz is a typical yeast pastry, made from a somewhat sweeter plait dough

This sweet breadman is baked during the Advent season on St. Nicholas Day. It is especially well known in Switzerland and Germany. But in Germany, it is rather called “Weckmann” or “Klausenmann”.

Where the name comes from, I do not know exactly

But apparently, it’s called that because the breadman is standing with spread legs.

Gritte/grätte means to spread/grate in some Swiss dialects. But it also means “old frail man”.

Of course, Gritti women can also be baked.






This slightly sweet dough roll tastes good in any shape


Fantasy can be given free rein.

Classically the breadman consists of a rather thick belly, two evenly spread legs, and stretched arms.





What should not be missing at all are the button eyes made of raisins and raisin or almond buttons on the belly.





A nose is formed directly from the dough, the mouth is either made with a raisin or cut with scissors.

A hairstyle is not absolutely necessary but can also be cut with scissors.





As decoration, you can form a scarf or a hat with dough. A tobacco pipe is also often seen.






If you brush it with egg yolk or some milk before baking, it will shine beautifully once cooked






You can bake this pastry wonderfully with your children

They usually love to form their own little boys and girls.


My children always had very individual ideas about how a Grittibänz should look like. So sometimes there were some very untypical ones!





But they tasted anyway!


Together with mandarins and peanuts, they make a wonderful St. Nicholas snack.



breadman with mandarins



Here is the recipe for 4 small “Grittibänze”:



Grittibänz - the bread man

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Restin time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs
Course bread
Cuisine German, Swiss
Servings 4 bread man


  • 500 g flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 20 g yeast: corresponds to 1 packet of dry yeast or ½ fresh yeast cube
  • 75 g butter
  • Approx. 3 dl milk


  • Put flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl.
  • Heat milk and butter together in a pan until the butter has melted (do not heat above 36 °C) then add to the remaining ingredients and mix/knead until smooth.
  • Leave to rise for about one hour. The dough should double in size.
    Grittibänz Teigpasta per omino
  • Form the dough figure
    bread man
  • Brush it with milk or egg to get a shiny surface.
    omino di pasta dolce
  • Put it in the cold oven and bake at 200°C for about 30 minutes. (depending on the size of the grittibänz)


It is baked through if you tap it and it sounds "hollow".
Keyword bread man, Grittibänz

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