There are a lot of traditional German foods that only turn up around Christmas. One of the best is Stollen.
This sweet cake-like loaf, contains dried fruits and is covered in a thick layer of icing sugar. It’s made with yeast, water and flour, and different kinds of zest, such as orange and citrus, as well as raisins, almonds and a mix of different spices.
The bread is slathered with melted, unsalted butter, and rolled in sugar as soon as it comes out of the oven, resulting in a moist loaf that keeps exceptionally well. Some Stollen have a marzipan rope in the middle – a nasty surprise for those who hate marzipan!
A tasty Christmas treat
Stollen started out as a rather boring Christmas bread back in the 1400’s. Advent was a time for fasting, so bakers weren’t allowed to use butter, only oil. Back then Stollen was rather tasteless and hard.
The story goes that a Saxon Prince wrote to the Pope to ask if his bakers could use butter instead of oil – apparently oil had to be made from turnips and was expensive and hard to come by in Saxony.
Five popes died before the matter was addressed, but eventually the law was changed and Stollen became todays popular, delicious Christmas treat.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Christmas countdown – there’s a give-away coming up!