The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

St. Nicholas Bread aka Mannele R U familiar with it?

tabasco's picture

St. Nicholas Bread aka Mannele R U familiar with it?


St. Nicholas Bread (aka Mannele) for the holiday season is on my list for fun holiday traditions to celebrate and I just realized this popular saint's feast day is fast approaching on December 6. 

But I know very little about the recipes, how to form the breads, or their cultural significance, and yet I think they are so cute and a fun tradition to celebrate~~so I'm wondering if any TFLers bake them or know of good pictures or blogs on the internet which show how they are made (and where to buy the little pipes that are often used to decorate his figure). 

I found the 'St. Nicholas' website that shows a few pictures and recipes and I remember a wonderful bakery in San Francisco that used to sell these figural breads around this time but that's about all I've found out.

If possible, I would like to hear about personal experiences baking the breads or if your family had them and how they used in celebration or within the family.

Thanks so much.  J.



Jw's picture

J, St. Nicholas is very big here in Holland, I am sure we are getting any specific bread.

Google on "Sinterklaas" "sinterklaas chocolade" "sinterklaas speculaas" and "pepernoten" with the image option on. Should give you an impression.

I would not call speculaas bread. we never baked this stuff, we get it in the store... sorry.


tabasco's picture

Thanks, Jw, for your links.  Now, a year later, I am just now finding your response when I googled today for clues on how to form a St. Nicholas bread. 

Last year (2010) I did bake speculaas cookies you mentioned for the feast of St. Nicholas using special molds and cutters and the family loved them.  I even pasted some 'St. Nicholas cookie papers' on the top of some of them.  I wish I had taken a photo.

Today I am going to bake the shaped bread of Sinterclaus/St. Nicholas in the german tradition (I'm not sure which part of Germany, maybe Bavaria?).  I wish I had a little pipe to put in his mouth for an authentic version. 

You mentioned buying your cookies in 'the store' and I have to mention that I found the best Speculaas cookies at our Aldi's Market.  Right now they have 3 kinds for the holidays: spiced, almond, and butter versions.  I never expected to find such tasty cookies in a discount grocery but I guess the company is European so we benefit from that! So much for my attempts at them!

Thanks again for your tips.  Cheers!    j.