Rising time: 4 hours
Baking time: 45 minutes
Oven temperature: 190° C (375° F)
History and Tradition
There are several varieties of Stollen, including one that looks like a big filled crêpe. It is actually a cake, studded with candied fruit that has been soaked in rum, filled with almond cream and folded over to contain the filling. This particular shape symbolizes the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.
The bakers of Dresden created this recipe, a subtle blend of spices, candied lemon and orange peel, rum-flavoured raisins and kirsch.
A short history of Christstollen
It was at the Sarodnick bakery in Dresden that we learned all about Christstollen, a tradition that goes far back in time: in fact, it was mentioned as early as 1330 in Naumburg an der Saale, where Stollen was made by the bakers' guild with episcopal privilege. There is also a record of Stollen in Dresden in 1400, but it was not until a century later that the tradition became widespread. "Christ's Christmas breads" were sold at the market in Striezel, the oldest German Christmas market. It is recorded that in 1560 two Stollen weighing almost 18 kilograms were presented to the lord of the manor, each one transported by 8 bakers, including 4 master-bakers. This custom survived for many years.
It was August the Powerful who ordered the biggest Stollen of all time in 1730. It weighed 1.8 tonnes and was made by the bakers' guild on the occasion of the Zeithainer Lustlager attended by 24,000 guests.
It was not easy to produce good Stollen from just flour and water, since the Catholic church had banned the use of milk and butter in the cake. In 1647 Kurfürst Ernst and his brother Albrecht decided to petition the pope, asking him to strike down the butter ban. History does not tell us whether the bakers included a Stollen with their request, but the pope received it favourably, and sent out a "butter letter" allowing milk and butter to be used in Stollen with his blessing, on the condition that a just and reasonable tax be paid.
In Stollenbäecker's kitchens
We also discovered at Stollenbäecker in Mendig-Obermendig:
Almond and Walnut Stollen
Stollen can be kept for a long time if well wrapped and stored in a slightly humid, cool place (10-15° C / 50-60° F) - some cellars, for example, or in the basket in the lower part of the refrigerator. It will not last in an overly warm location.
Though true Stollen is bought in bakeries, we are providing a simplified recipe so you can make Stollen at home. You can also replace or omit certain ingredients to make one of the variations described above.
- Combine the fruit, peel and zest with the rum to macerate;
- place the butter, milk and sugar in a small saucepan; heat gently until the sugar is dissolved;
- in a bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, yeast and cardamom;
- make a well in the centre; pour the melted butter mixture and the eggs into the well; knead all the ingredients together for 5 minutes to form a smooth, supple dough; if the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour; add in the macerated fruit, peel, zest and almonds;
- cover with greased paper and leave to rise for 3 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume;
- knead again on a floured surface; roll out into a 25 cm (10") square;
- spread the marzipan over the centre; fold each side over to form a rectangle;
- turn over and place on a buttered baking sheet; cover with greased paper and let rise again for one hour or until doubled in volume;
- place into a preheated 190° C (375° F) oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned and produces a hollow sound when the bottom is rapped;
- remove from the oven; brush with melted butter; sprinkle with icing sugar.
With the special collaboration of
Kütschers Backstube, Molkereistraße 8
56743 Mendig-Obermendig, Germany
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