Christmas preparations part 2
Christmas Stollen also known as Strietzel in Germany have a long and interesting history, dating back to the early 1300’s.
Stollen has become a huge symbolism in the Christmas celebrations in Germany throughout the ages and the oldest Christmas market in the German town of Dresden, the Strietzel market is named after this sweet loaf of Holiday bread.
It is believed that Stollen originated in the mining community of Dresden and the entrance of a mine shaft was called a Stollen, the rounded top of the entrance resembled the rounded edges of the bread, hence the name.
Later the name ‘ChristStollen’ was introduced and became the symbol of the infant Jesus wrapped in a blanket, resembling the shape of the bread.
Historians believe that Stollen originated as a result of a contest offered by the bishop of Nauruburg in the year 1327.
First mentioning of Stollen dates however back to 1474 in the accounts of a Christian hospital in the German town of Dresden and was referred to as a cake for the fasting period, those days Stollen was a simple bread made with oats, flour and water, baked in huge sizes of 30 Lbs.
Butter and milk were forbidden ingredients to bake with during the Lenten season, and it took until 1647, when two electors, tired of the boring bread, decided to ask the Pope to strike down the butter/milk ban. Finally the Pope lifted the ban and Stollen became what they are now.
How to make Stollen
Stollen is a cake like yeast bread made with candied fruits, spice and lemon zest, almond paste or marzipan is added to the center of the bread before folding and functions as filling.
Folding the bread is done in a special way which gives the bread a kind of ‘humpback’ after baking. To finish, the bread is brushed with sugar syrup or egg wash and dusted with icing sugar.
Click the link below to watch how it should be done.
Stollen is symbolically associated to the town of Dresden and a special seal is awarded by the Stollen Protection Association of Dresden to bakers producing authentic handmade Dresden Stollen.
Stollen is a lovely tasting bread, as it is, or spread with some butter as it is often served. The recipe below is perfect freezable, allow cooling after baking and vacuum the loaf, keep the bread in your freezer and slowly defrost in the vacuum bag in your refrigerator a day before use.
You can make this original Stollen recipe a month or so in advance
3 ½ cups all- purpose flour
½ cup caster sugar
¼ lb softened butter
1 pkt dry yeast
3 large eggs
¼ tsp mace
1 tsp salt
Grated rind of one lemon
¾ cup luke warm milk
1 cup chopped candied fruit with currants and golden raisins
1 cup brandy or rum
Almond paste for filling (recipe below)
½ cup shaved roasted almonds to decorate the outside (optional)
½ beaten egg for glaze
½ cup icing sugar, for dusting.
Soak the candied fruit, raisins and currants in the brandy or rum overnight.
Note: If you like to use almond paste as a filling, feel free to use a store bought product. If you cannot find it in your neighborhood try this recipe:
1 cup icing sugar
2 ½ cup ground almonds
Zest of half a lemon
1 large egg
Place the sugar with the almonds in a food processor and pulse to combine.
Add the lemon zest with the egg and let it run until it forms itself into a paste.
Remove the paste from the food processor, transfer to a vacuum bag, vacuum and store in the refrigerator. You can use the paste after an hour, but it keeps for weeks, vacuumed and refrigerated.
Follow these links to find your vacuum sealer:
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn