About Rochlitz Christmas Stollen
"Oh my, it smells so good... "
, So it says in a well-known Christmas carol,
and so it does when master baker Rudi Krause opens his bakery for home bakers or when he bakes for the retail store. Early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, housewives bring their baskets and bags filled with small containers, pots and bottles, containing the special ingredients of their very personal stollen recipes. That evening or the next day, the stollen are picked-up. For years this has been a tradition for many families; the homemade stollen are as much a part of the Christmas celebration as the roast goose. Today our stollen are shipped not only all over Germany but also to the USA, to Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, Australia, France, Holland and England too.
Rochlitz Christmas stollen from our traditional bakery are world famous. They are hand made using a recipe handed down from my forefathers, only the dough is machine made. The dough is baked on special metal sheets of different sizes, according to the weight of the stollen. For many generations delicious Christmas stollen have been baked on these sheets around Christmas time. Our traditional recipe has been improved over the years through experimentation and taste.
We use only the finest and purest ingredients. There is flour from local mills along with just the right amount of real creamery butter. Then comes golden raisins, orange peel, chopped almonds, sugar, salt, milk, spices, added to a typical yeast starter along with that certain "something." The result is our finest quality dough. The dough is quite heavy, which means it is rich with these many fine ingredients, promising an extraordinary taste experience. Our stollen are firm and delicious, just what you would expect from a bakery like ours.
We bake stollen several times weekly, whereby the production process - a family tradition- remains unchanged. Our slogan is:
HAND MADE- QUALITY YOU CAN TASTE!
The stollen rise during the baking process. A cut is made lengthwise before it bakes too much, so that the middle part doesn't get so brown, producing the characteristic appearance of this well known Christmas treat. After the appropriate time in the oven and a short cooling period, the stollen is coated with melted butter, which penetrates the surface and which after it cools, helps to keep it fresh. On top of the butter comes crystallized sugar and finally confectioners sugar is sifted over the whole. A stollen should not be cut immediately, but allowed to age a while to allow the flavor to develop. Some families cut the last stollen from the previous Christmas in the spring. Santa Claus doesn't always have to standing next to the stollen!
Here is a bit of the history of stollen baking in the Rochlitz region.
"The Christmas stollen is an age-old tradition for us. In many places, including Rochlitz, " Christbrot" had been available perhaps since the colonization time (The German settlement of the Rochlitz area)." By the late Middle Ages, Christbrot was already called " Christmas stollen" in the Zschillen monastery, according to Professor Pfau in his article in the Rochlitzer Chronicle, 1927, on the tradition of this popular Christmas bread, without which no Christmas would be complete for the Saxons.
A hundred years ago there were 20 bakeries in Rochlitz. Large commercial bakeries simply cannot replace the master baker and many people still swear by genuine "baker-made" stollen.
Today fewer and fewer housewives bring their own homemade stollen to be baked. But in the seven Rochlitz bakeries and confectioneries, i.e. Boerner in Dresdner Straße, Goldammer on the Topfmarkt, Krause on the Hauptstraße, Meichsner and Weiße on Clemens-Pfau Platz, Stoelzel on Bahnhofstraße and Thalmann on the Markt, thousands of stollen are baked annually according to time-tested recipes. These are bought and enjoyed by Rochlitzer over the Christmas holidays.
I am proud to have followed in the footprints of my father in learning the baking profession. For me this occupation is particularly special, for it is now in the fifth generation in our family. The most Important recipes are always passed on to the next generation, as well as the tricks of the trade and that certain "something."
To all the fans of our Rochlitz Christmas Stollen, a happy Christmas and "guten Appetit"!