St. Martins day is celebrated throughout Germany on 11. November to commemorate Martin of Tours. The celebrations are typically carried out by the Kindergartens and the children prepare by making their own lanterns. On the evening of the 11. November the children take their lanterns and walk through the streets of their hometowns as part of a St. Martins procession. Often the procession is led by a horseback rider who represents St. Martin himself. During the procession the children sing traditional St Martins songs and afterwards there is often a large bonfire and party held in the kindergarten. The children receive the traditional St. Martins baked goods, which, vary regionally and include the Weckmann or Stutenkerl, or typically in south Germany is a St Martins Goose given. Whatever form they take, these baked items are always made from a slightly sweetened yeast dough and very simply decorated with just raisins for eyes and shirt buttons.
So as my 3 year old son is busy at his kindergarten making his lantern and learning all the songs I am busying myself with the baking the Weckmann which will be given out to the children of our kindergarden.
I have just used a simple sweet yeast dough and a very straightforward procedure to make my own St. Martins Weckmann. This recipe can easily be scaled up to feed the entire Kindergarden!
St. Martins Weckmann Recipe
for approx. 12 large men
500g all purpose flour
1 picnh salz
7g dried yeast
250ml warm milk
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and bring together by hand. Knead briefly in the bowl until a nice soft dough is formed. Then tip onto your work surface and knead for a further 3-4 minutes until nice and elastic.
- Form the dough into tight ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto your floured work surfae and roll out to a thickness of about 1 cm. use a large man shaped cutter to cut out your Weckmann, re-roll the leftover dough to get as many Weckmann from your dough as possible. Place the cut out men on a baking sheet that you have lined with baking paper.
- Leave to re-rise at room temperature for approx. 30 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees C
- Egg wash each of the Weckmann and press in Raisins for eyes and if you want shirt buttons.
- Back at 175 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on a wire wrack, take to your local St.martins celebration and hand out to all the delighted children!