Stollen or Christstollen
German stollen bread is a beloved Christmas tradition that has been around for almost 700 years. It is a type of sweet bread that has nuts and candied fruits inside. Its international cousins would be panettone in Italy, keks in Poland and julekake in Norway. Today we got several versions of it, some include marzipan, quark or a lot of butter! Stollen is dusted with powdered sugar and it is said that this is a reminder of the snow covered hills and mountains in Germany.
Stollen making started in Dresden, and it wasn’t always as delicious as it is today; up until the 15th century the use of butter and milk during lent (A fasting season in the Christian tradition) was banned by the catholic church. This ban was lifted when the pope wrote the Butterbrief (the butter letter) thus a tasty version of Christstollen was introduced to the public!
In the year 1730 King August ll commissioned a 1.8 ton heavy stollen. A special oven was created to bake it and it was cut with a 5 1/4 foot-long knife. That was for an event to celebrate the strength of the Saxon army. King August sure was a big Stollen fan!
The word Stollen is a reference to a boundary of a city. Some say that it references the entrance to a mine shaft and it is molded after a mine tunnel, to reflect the industry at the time. Religious symbolism comes in the form of bread as it is used to symbolize the body of christ.
Bread culture is a big deal in Germany so it is only natural that there is also special christmas bread!