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Saturday, October 08, 2005

nice weekend

it was a good week- starting to get work done and out of my post-qualifyer slump! I have been knitting baby blankets and also have done some squares for a campus sponsered shipment to afghans for Afghans. Nice to get some little things done.

Last night was an AWESOME Decemberists show in Philly and my mom comes to vsit tomorrow! We will hopefully get some painting done and get the house more in order.

Today I am making a foray into the world of baking. I was a little worried about the rising situation but a little warmth made my bread go a long way! Of course in our house, I substitue chocolate chips for raisins and cherries for candied fruits (black forest is still German right?!?) Below is the history of Stollen...which I have to go put in the oven!

Long before the Romans occupied parts of Germany, special breads were prepared for the winter solstice that were rich in dried or preserved fruit. Historians have traced Christollen, Christ's stollen back to about the year 1400 in Dresden, Germany. The first stollen consisted of only flour, oats, and water, as required by church doctrine, but without butter and milk, it was quite tasteless. Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht requested of the Pope that the ban on butter and milk during the Advent season be lifted. His Eminence replied in what is known as the famous "butter letter", that milk and butter could be used to be bake stollen with a clear conscience and God's blessing for a small fee. Originally stollen was called Striezel or Struzel, which referred to a braided shape-a large oval folded in half with tapered ends-is said to represent the Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothing. Around 1560, it became custom that the bakers of Dresden give their king, the ruler of Saxony, two 36-pound stollens as a Christmas gift. It took eight master bakers and eight journeymen to carry the bread to the palace safely. This custom was continued for almost two hundred years. In 1730, Augustus the Strong, the electoral prince of Saxony and the King of Poland, asked the Baker's Guild of Dresden to bake a giant stollen for the farewell dinner of the Zeithain "campement." The 1.8-ton stollen was a true showpiece and fed over 24,000 guests. To commemorate this event, a Stollenfest is held each December in Dresden. The bread for the present-day Stollenfest weighs 2 tons and measures approximately 4 yards long. Each year, the stollen is paraded through the market square, then sliced and sold to the public, with the proceeds supporting local charities. Although there is a basic recipe for making the original Dresden Christollen, each master baker, each village and each home has its own secret recipe passed down from one generation to the next. There are probably as many recipes for stollen as there are home bakers.


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