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Day 2 of French regional Christmas specialities: Bredeles of Alsace

Bredeles are a Christmas staple of eastern France but many people do not wait for the festive season to bake them

Bredeles are a must-eat in Alsace during Christmas Pic: Dar1930 / Shutterstock

Every day from December 1-12, The Connexion will be sharing a French regional Christmas speciality. Today we look at bredeles from the Alsace region.

What is a bredele?

Bredeles are sugary biscuits from eastern France - Moselle, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin - that are traditionally baked during the Christmas season.

While French people and dictionaries will show ‘bredele’, the biscuits are called bredala in Haut-Rhin and bredle in Strasbourg. All of the terms derive from the German ‘Winachtsbredele’, which means ‘small Christmas biscuits’.

French people also know them as petits sablés or petits sablés alsaciens. Alsatian people also call them petits gâteaux de Noël in French.

They are a staple of the region at Christmas and could be considered as to Alsatians what raclette is to Savoyards (from Savoie).

Bredeles can be baked starting the first Sunday of Advent, as the tradition goes - but many Alsatian people start baking them earlier. Sometimes much earlier, as this short radio clip from France Bleu Lorraine Nord reports.

Journalists ran a radio segment about an ongoing debate within Alsatian people after someone posted a comment on a Facebook group as to when is the best time to start baking bredele.

How do you bake them?

Weigh 250 grams of flour into a large bowl and add the 125 grams of sugar in a small ‘well’ in the middle. Include 125 grams of butter, cut in large chunks.

Mix everything together with your hands until the mixture comes together into a ball. Put it into the fridge for anywhere from two hours to two days, depending on when you want to make the biscuits. 

Then roll the mixture out within two lengths of greaseproof paper and shape your bredele as you wish, using decorative designs or biscuit cutters. 

Brush the biscuits with egg yolk or yolk mixed with milk. You can also add icing sugar and lemon.
Finally, bake your bredele in the oven for five to ten minutes at 180C.

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