There’s no Swiss childhood without Weggli. These small, soft white bread buns are equally popular among Swiss adults and kids. Thanks to its softness and slightly sweet taste, for many Swiss babies the Weggli is the first bread they encounter once they are allowed to feed themselves. The Weggli is also a famous rescuer for parents of cranky or hungry toddlers in supermarkets – in that case quite often the Weggli is, rather illegally, eaten straight off the shelf. The Swiss are generally honest people though and the bread roll is being paid for at the till even if it’s resting in the toddler’s tummy already.
The most popular ways to eat a Weggli are the Weggli und Schoggistängeli (Weggli and chocolate stick) or as a sandwich with butter, pickles and either ham, salami, Lyon sausage or egg-mayonnaise. There’s also a cute Weggli and chocolate stick craft for birthday school snacks.
It doesn’t end there though, the Weggli is so ingrained in Swiss culture that there are even sayings about it. For example ‘De Foifer und s Weggli ha’ (translation: to have both the coin that buys the bread roll and the bread roll itself). Which means ‘to have it all’ – we use this expression if someone is extremely lucky or if someone wants it all but it’s not possible. You can find more Swiss food expressions here.
Recipe for 12 Weggli
- 500g plain flour
- 320g (= 300ml or 1.5 cups) milk, lukewarm
- 10g (or about 3.5 tsp) instant dry yeast or 30 fresh yeast
- 55g butter, soft
- 12g salt
- 8g sugar
- 1 egg (do not add the egg to the dough, it’s for later)
Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well so the yeast is not directly next to the salt.
Add the soft butter in small pieces. Add milk.
Mix everything into a soft dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes in a kitchen machine or 15 minutes by hand. The dough is kneaded enough when it passes the ‘window test’: if you stretch the dough it doesn’t break until you can look through like a window (see photo).
Form a ball, but it back into the bowl and cover the bowl with a lid or tea towel. Let it rest until it’s doubled in size. This will take around 40-60 minutes or more if it’s cold in your kitchen, or less if it’s very warm.
Then take the dough out of the bowl, press the air out and cut it into 12 equal pieces. You can either weigh each piece (75g) or just shape the dough into a roll and cut it into 12 equally large pieces.
Shape every piece into a ball. Place the balls on a baking tray covered in baking parchment. Cover the tray with a tea towel or put it into a plastic bag if you happen to have such a big bag. Let the buns prove for another 30 minutes. Then press a small stick into each bun. You can press it down quite hard until the baking parchment shimmers through the dough.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (430 degrees F).
Crack the egg, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar and whisk the mixture. Brush the buns with the egg wash.
Bake the buns for 12-15 minutes until they look golden brown. These buns are best eaten on the same day or next.