Weekend cooking: Stollen

My 24 days of Christmas

Stollen In my last weekend cooking post someone mentioned "Stollen" in the comments. Reason enough for me to talk about this traditional Christmas cake a little more.

The first time Stollen was officially mentioned was in 1329 as a Christmas gift for a bishop. However, at the time, they were meant for the Christian advent fasting and therefore only consisted of water, yeast and oil. Probably not very enticing!

At the end of the 15th century the pope sent a "butter letter" which allowed to use butter for Stollen, in return people had to pay a monetary fine which was used for the construction of the Freiburg cathedral. A Saxon baker had later the idea to improve the Stollen with richer ingredients, like for example candied fruit. Dresdner Stollen label

The most famous Stollen is the "Dresdner Stollen" from the city of Dresden. Just like with "Nürnberger  Lebkuchen" "Dresdner Stollen" is a protected designation of origin. It has to contain at least 50% butter and 65% raisins (referring to the amount of flour). Stollen used to be called "Striezel" in Dresden, and this is what gave the name to the famous Christmas market in Dresden, the "Striezelmarkt". In 1730 August the Strong had a Stollen baked that weighed 1.800 kg and was divided into 24.000 pieces. This event is the origin of the annual "Stollenfest" at the Striezelmarkt.

Nowadays a lot of bakeries bake their own version of Stollen. Each tastes a little different and varies in ingredients. Some bakers add marzipan, almonds, poppy, nuts, quark, chocolate or they leave out the fruit. Instead of soaking the raisins in rum, they soak them in champagne or wine. There is no limit to the creativity of German bakers.

Now, if you would like to try to make your own Stollen, I have found a Stollen recipe online that sounds rather nice. It is a marzipan Stollen, my favourite kind. I can’t vouch for the recipe though, as I would never make a Stollen myself. Going to the next bakery and buying one is just so easy!

Images: Stollen by su-lin at flickr, label by sludgegulper at flickr.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

15 Comments Write a comment

  1. Marzipan stollen is my favorite too! For years there was a marzipan store near us that had stollens at Christmas. I would always buy at least two – one for immediate consumption and one to freeze. Sadly, this lovely family business closed several years ago and I haven’t had a good stollen since 🙁

    Your story about the “butter letter” made me smile.
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  2. Before Uniflame or Judith say anything: stollen (or stol) is something Dutch too 🙂 We can buy it around Easter and Christmas time. Perhaps it is a German influence, don’t know really. The recipe you linked seems really do-able, I might just attempt that! Although I’d much rather try a special one, with chocolate, quark or nuts in it… those are unfortunately not sold in the Dutch supermarkets or bakeries…

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    • I didn’t know Stollen (or stol) was also a Dutch treat. I have never had one with chocolate, somehow chocolate and Stollen don’t go together in my mind. Nuts not so much either, but definitely almonds.

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    • Dawn, Stollen is the typical coffee and cake thing, but of course, it can be eaten any time during the day. It even makes a sweet lunch if staff food at work is inedible…:)

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