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How to Make 1st of August Buns

It's coming up soon: the Swiss national holiday 1st of August. Fire works, picnics, brunches, speeches by politicians and warm summer weather will hopefully all be part of this fun holiday this year.

Origins of 1st of August Celebrations in Switzerland

Traditionally, the 1st of August celebrations in Switzerland commemorate the founding of the original Swiss federation by the "original cantons" (= Urkantone) Uri, Schwyz, Nidwalden and Obwalden in the first half of August 1291. Note that there are only three Urkantone since Nidwalden and Obwalden are the two halves of one canton called Unterwalden. 

However, this date does not mark Swiss independence but rather the start of a the several century long formation of the Swiss nation. In fact, it was made a national holiday in as late as 1891 more than six centuries after the fact.

1st of August Bun 

How 1st of August is celebrated today

Although it is nice to remember the beginnings of Switzerland and to think of some of the legends surrounding them like William Tell or the Oath at the Rütli, 1st of August is nowadays mainly a fun day off with lots of good food and fireworks. Although in the last few hot and dry summers, fireworks were generally off limits due to the fire hazard.

One of the typical ingredients of a Swiss 1st of August celebration is the 1st of August Bun. The soft sweetish bread appears on almost every table that day - bought or home made.  They are tasty and great with cold meat, cheese or jam and taste best when coming straight from your oven (as is the case with most baked stuff). I found this recipe for 1st of August buns and thought I'd share it with you. Just in case you want to try your hand at some Swiss baking.

Recipe for 1st of August Buns (for 4 people)

  • 1/2 kilo white flour
  • salt
  • 25 grams of yeast (can be bought in cubes at the super)
  • 60 grams of butter
  • 2,5 deciliter of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 small paper Swiss flags for decoration :)

  1. Pour flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and mix with your hand. Form a well in the flour.
  2. Warm milk in small pan (do not boil!) and add butter and yeast to it. 
  3. Pour milk into the flour and mix with your hand until the dough is smooth (it's gonna be less messy if you only use one).
  4. Put dough on a clean surface and knead well (i.e. until it is soft and elastic and doesn't stick to your hands anymore). You might have to add a bit of flour if it's too moist.
  5. Put dough into a bowl and cover with a towel. Leave it at a warm place until it has risen to double its size. 
  6. Heat the oven to 200 C
  7. Form 4 small buns and cut the top slightly with two straight lines forming a cross (imagine cutting a circle into 4 even parts with two cuts). This is gonna give the buns their typical 1st of August Bun shape. 
  8. Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. If the buns sound hollow when you tap their bottom they are ready.
  9. Add the Swiss flags and serve!

En Guete - enjoy your meal!



  1. Nice, thank you for sharing! :)

    I also heard it was quite traditionnal to go for a brunch in a farm (have a look at in case you're interested). I will try on Wednesday and will make a report on my blog. :)

    Have a good national day and thank you for this very nice blog, really like it! :)


  2. Actually, there were only three, since there were also only three men swearing the oath. Namely, Walter Fürst from Uri, Werner Stauffacher from Schwyz and Arnold von Melchtal from Unterwalden, at least as far as the myth goes. Those days, the term canton was not even yet in use, these were just three different sites. But fact is: Ob- and Nidwalden are the two halfs of the canton Unterwalden!


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