Stollen is a bread-like cake traditionally made in
Stollen is a light airy fruitcake made with yeast, water and flour, and usually dried citrus peel (called "Zitronad(e)), dried fruit, almonds, and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon; the dough is quite low in sugar. The finished cake is sprinkled with icing sugar. The traditional weight is 2 kg, but smaller sizes are now available.
The old name Striezel was from strüzel or stroczel, "awaken" (Old Prussian: troskeilis), which came to mean "loaf of bread". The shape of the cake was originally meant to represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, and was one of a number of baked goods created to represent aspects of the Crucifixion: the pretzel represented Jesus' bonds, and the (holeless) doughnut (Pfannkuchen) represented the sponge given to Jesus on the cross. However, the Stollen reminded
When Stollen was first baked, the ingredients were very different. The Advent season was a time of fasting, and bakers were not allowed to use butter, only oil, so the cake was tasteless and hard. In 1647, Prince Elector Ernst and his brother Duke Albrecht decided to remedy this by writing to the then Pope, Pope Innocent X. They explained that Saxon bakers needed to use butter as oil was so expensive and hard to come by, and had to be made from turnips, which was unhealthy. The Pope granted the use of butter without having to pay a fine - but only for the Prince-Elector and his family and household. In 1691 others were also permitted to use butter, but with the condition of having to pay annually 1/20th of a gold Gulden to support the building of the Freiberg Cathedral. The ban on butter was removed when
Over the centuries the cake changed from being a simple, fairly tasteless "bread" to a sweeter cake with richer ingredients such as marzipan, although the traditional Stollen is not as sweet as the copies made around the world.
Today the cake is available in many parts of the world. The true Dresden Stollen, however, is produced in the city and distinguished by a special seal depicting the city's famous king, August the Strong. This "official" Stollen is produced by only 150 bakers.
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