The Dresden Stollen or German Christmas bread goes by many different names: Stollen, Dresden Stollen, Strutzel, Striezel, Stutenbrot, or Christstollen. This traditional German Christmas cake, is a colorful collection of nuts, raisins, currants, candied orange, lemon peel, plus traditional spices of Christmas such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, mace or cloves, brandy or rum and lots of butter.
Legend says that the Stollen (pronounced like ‘stolen’), in its typical shape with the white layer of icing or powdered sugar, symbolized the swaddled Christ Child.
Stollen is thought to have originated in Dresden, Germany in the 1400s. However, at that time the Catholic Church, as part of the fasting rules in preparation for Christmas, forbade the use of butter milk during Advent. Thus, the Stollen of the middle ages was a somewhat tasteless pastry.
In 1650 Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht appealed to the Pope to rescind the so-called “butter ban” in effect at the time. The Holy Father eventually gave in to their entreaties and declared (in what came to be known as the “Bufferbrief”) that milk and butter could indeed be used in baking the stollen – this could be done with a “clear conscience and with God’s blessing,” after making the “appropriate penance”. This historic decision began a time-honored tradition where Stollen-bakers delivered one or two Christmas Stollen each year with a total weight of 36 pounds to the king of Saxony for the holy celebration. Eight master bakers and eight apprentices carried it in a procession to the castle. In 1730 “August the Strong”, elector Lord of Saxony, commanded the bakery gild of Dresden to make a huge Stollen with a weight of 1.8 tons! To commemorate that event, a similar Stollen is baked every year at the annual Dresden Stollen Festival on the Saturday before the Second Advent.
At Importico’s we prepare our Stollen in the same time-honored tradition as the original Dresden bakers. Ours is loaded with glazed candied fruit, raisins, cherries, walnuts, fresh butter, our secret ingredient … apricot jam (shhh!), and a generous helping of love,… all encapsulated in a delicious cake covered with a generous coating of powdered sugar.
If you’re looking for a truly delicious Christmas treat that stands the test of time, Stollen is all that and more.
Importico’s Bakery Cafe
3800 SE Dixie Highway
Stuart, FL 34997
Downtown Fort Pierce
134 S Indian River Drive
Fort Pierce, FL 34950
“Your Local Artisan Bakery”
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Sources: Dresden Stollen Bakers, What’s Cooking America