Mantepeirden and Klaaskoeken
Belgian Mantepeirden, "man on a horse", breads were most popular for St. Martin's Day, though they are lovely for St. Nicholas, too. When made as a figure with a miter, they are Klaaskoeken, for Sinterklaas in Belgium. They are unusual as they are a yeast bread cut out with cutters. They may also be made using a template, cutting around it with a knife (patterns below).
These breads have other names in other regions: Klaaspeirden, Mikkemannen, or Buikman in Limburg and Brabant; as Stoeteman, Wekkeman, Weckman, Weggekèl, Sevensman, Piepespringer, Stutenkerl, or Hefekerl, depending on the region in Germany; as Männele in Alsace, France; and as Boxemännchen in Luxembourg.
Any basic sweet roll dough may be used—such as dough to roll out to make cinnamon rolls. The recipe below may be doubled or triples.
- 1 package instant or rapid rise dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- ¼ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
- ¾ cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup shortening or softened butter
- 3-½ to 3-¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash
- Pearl sugar for crosses, if desired
- Place water in mixer bowl. Either disolve yeast in water or mix yeast in with dry ingredients, using just the first 2 cups of flour.
- Add milk, egg, shortening, 2 cups of flour, sugar, and salt.
- Mix with flat beater for 3 minutes at level 2.
- Change to dough hook and mix at level 2, adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
- Knead at level 2 for 5 minutes, adding flour as needed.
- Round up in greased bowl, bringing greased side up, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down and let rise again until almost double, about 30 minutes.
- Roll out on floured surface or pastry cloth to 1/2-inch thick.
- Cut with cutters or use template to cut around.
- Place figures on baking sheet.
- Brush tops with egg and milk mixture and let rise until light, about 20 minutes.
- Bake in 400° oven 12 minutes or until nicely browned; cool on wire rack.
- Makes four 8-9-inch Mantepeirden.
To make a template, print patterns below on heavy paper and cut out.
Adapted from Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1961, page 108, and