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+ servings
Mannala (or Männele)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Mannala, a variety of small brioche shaped like little men is a traditional recipe available in Alsace for Saint Nicolas holiday.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Alsatian, French, Vegetarian
Servings: 16 brioches
Author: Vera Abitbol
  • cups flour
  • 8 tablespoons butter , cold
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • cup milk , warm
  • 2 eggs
  • Chocolate chips
To brush on mannalas
  • 1 egg yolk diluted in a little milk
  1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast with ½ cup (100ml) of milk and sugar.

  2. Add egg and beat well.
  3. Add the remaining milk and mix. Set aside for 2 minutes.
  4. In the bowl of the food processor, combine flour and baking soda.
  5. Stir in the diced butter with your fingertips.
  6. Make a well in the flour and add the milk, sugar and egg mixture.
  7. Knead on low speed until reaching a dough that does not stick.
  8. Moderately increase the speed, add the salt and knead for 8 minutes.
  9. The dough should not stick to the edges of the container. Add a few tablespoons of flour if necessary.
  10. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1h30.
  11. Place the dough on a floured surface and work a few minutes.
  12. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  13. Divide the dough in pieces of about 3 oz (90g).

  14. Cut a quarter of each piece of dough into a ball to form the head.
  15. Then shape the rest of each piece of dough into a cylinder and place on the baking sheet. Lightly flatten.
    shaping mannala
  16. Using a sharp knife, cut the legs and arms of the mannala.
  17. Place the head of the mannala above its shoulders and place 2 chocolate chips for the eyes and one for the mouth.
  18. Place no more than 8 mannalas per baking sheet.
  19. Cover the mannalas with a slightly damp cloth and let raise in a warm place, free from drafts, again for 30 minutes.
  20. Preheat convection oven to 430F/220C.

  21. Brush mannalas with the egg yolk and milk mixture.
  22. Place in the oven and reduce oven temperature to 390F/200C.

  23. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  24. The mannalas should be golden brown.