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German Bread
Black Forest Cherry Cake from German-Speaking Europe

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Stollen, A German Christmas Cake

dresdner stollenStollen is a traditional German cake. The first Stollen dates back to the early 1400s.

It is usually eaten at Christmas time and is then called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. It has a loaf shape that is supposed to represent the Christ child wrapped in swaddling clothes. Similar to fruitcake, it contains candied fruit (orange and/or lemon peel) or dried fruit (e.g. dark and/or golden raisins, cranberries, cherries), nuts (e.g. almonds), and spices (e.g. cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg). Marzipan is sometimes added. After it is baked, it is usually sprinkled with powdered sugar. A Stollen traditionally weighs about 2 kg. Finding a recipe for Stollen on the Internet is very easy. Just google Stollen. Many of the recipes you will find are bilingual. We have one below (in German and English) for you, but you can try different ones.

The best known Stollen is the Dresdner Stollen. A select group of bakers in Dresden produce this "official" Stollen and identify their product with a special seal that depicts King Augustus II the Strong. Every year, on the second Saturday before the second Sunday in Advent, a festival takes place in Dresden. A Stollen is placed in a carriage and parades through the streets of Dresden until it arrives at the Christmas market. Here it is cut into pieces and given to the crowd.

Dresdner Christstollen (Dresden Christmas Bread)

stollen_dresdner_boxZutaten (Teig)
1 Vanilleschote
1 kg Mehl
100 g Hefe
400 ml Milch
100 g Zucker
2 Eier
abgeriebene Schale einer Zitrone
1 Teelöffel Salz
400 g Butter
200 g Mehl
350 g Rosinen
100 g gehüllte Mandeln
50 g Zitronat
100 g Orangeat
5 cl Rum

Zutaten (Dekoration)
150 g Butter
1 Vanilleschote
100 g Zucker

1. Rosinen, Mandeln, Zitronat, Orangeat in Rum einlegen, ziehen lassen. Aus 1 kg Mehl, 150 ml Milch, 1 Prise Zucker und Hefe einen Vorteig rühren. Gehen lassen. Zucker mit Mark der Vanilleschote mischen. Hälfte des Vanillezuckers, restliche Milch, Eier, Zitronenschale und Salz zum Teig geben, verkneten. 30 Minuten gehen lassen. Butter mit 200 g Mehl verkneten, unter den Hefeteig arbeiten, 15 Minuten gehen lassen.

2. Zwei Rollen (30 cm lang) formen, zum Stollen einschlagen. Auf ein gefettetes Blech geben, eine Stunde gehen lassen. Bei 200 Grad C ca. eine Stunde backen. Mit zerlassener Butter bestreichen, mit Vanillezucker bestreuen.

ENGLISH: Dresden Christmas Bread

dresden_stollenIngredients (dough):
One vanilla bean
1 kg flour
100 g yeast [or 2 teaspoons activated yeast]
400 ml milk
100 g sugar
2 eggs, grated peel of one lemon
1 teaspoon salt
400 g butter
200 g flour
350 g raisins
100 g shelled almonds
50 g candied lemon peel
100 g candied orange peel
5 cl rum.

Ingredients (icing):
150 g butter
1 vanilla bean
100 g sugar.

1. Soak the raisins, almonds, candied lemon and orange peel in the rum. Mix a pre-dough out of 1 kg flour, 150 ml milk, a pinch of salt and yeast. Let rise. Mix the sugar with the pulp from the vanilla bean. Mix half of the vanilla sugar, the rest of the milk, eggs, lemon peel and salt into a dough and knead. Let rise for 30 minutes. Knead butter into 200 g flour and work into the yeast dough. Let rise for 15 minutes.

2. Form 2 rolls (30 cm long) and pound into stollen loaves. Place on a greased baking sheet, let rise for one hour. Bake at 200° C for about an hour. Coat with melted butter, sprinkle with vanilla sugar.

Picture Credits:
1-Photo by knusperj, Wiki Commons
2-Photo by Gürgi, Wiki Commons
3-Photo by Passionate about baking

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German Bread

Trivia question: Who eats more bread in a year, the French or the Germans?

(photo from the website of the German Embassy in the U.S.)

My immediate response would be "the French" as I tend to associate bread more with the French than the Germans. However, according to a very interesting article in the July 3rd issue of the German Embassy’s newsletter, The Week in Germany, the average German eats 87 kilos (192 pounds) in bread and rolls every year while the average Frenchman eats 55 only kilos (121 pounds) of bread annually.

This article states that the Germans are eating more and more bread every year and that many kinds of delicious bread are available. Read the article.
You might be interested in subscribing to this weekly e-newsletter, which is full of valuable information about German culture. To subscribe, Click here.
If you would like to try making a loaf or two of delicious German bread, go to this website for recipes.
Guten Appetit!

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Black Forest Cherry Cake from German-Speaking Europe


For many travelers to German-speaking Europe , memories of happy hours spent in cafes linger long after they return home. Austria , Germany , and Switzerland are famous for their variety of desserts and coffee drinks.

David Witkosky invites us to join him at a small outdoor café in Bavaria (see below). He is studying a pastry menu and he is getting ready to order a piece of Black Forest Cherry Cake.
As we chat, he will give us a glimpse into the confectioners' world of regional tradition, culinary culture, and calories with a description of the Black Forest Cherry Cake, a successful marriage of two German specialties-high quality chocolate and sour cherries. David Witkosky, Ph.D., is the Coordinator of the Master of Liberal Arts Program and Associate Professor, German and International Studies, at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama.


The exact origin of this cake is unknown, but historians believe it originated in the Black Forest region, the Schwarzwald, located in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The Black Forest consists of hills covered with birch and pine and runs along 100 miles of southwest Germany's border with France . The forest is famous for its quaint villages, spas, hiking trails, and ski slopes. Famous towns and cities in the Schwarzwald include Freudenstadt, Baden-Baden , and Freiburg . Since the time of the German Romantics in the nineteenth century, this area has been associated with magic and folklore, and its craftsmen exhibit great skill in woodcarving, glassblowing, and the making of jewelry and clocks. Many people believe that Josef Keller, a confectioner from Radolfszell, created the Black Forest Cherry Cake. According to some accounts, he began serving it to café guests in Bad Godesberg, near Bonn , in 1915.

See recipe in ENGLISH or GERMAN.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

125 g Butter
250 g feiner Zucker
2 Eier, leicht geschlagen
2 Tropfen Vanillearoma
165 g Mehl + 1/2 TL Backpulver, gesiebt
1 TL Natron
60 g Kakao
185 ml Buttermilch

60 ml Kirschwasser
750 ml Sahne, geschlagen
425 g Schattenmorellen aus dem Glas oder schwarze Kirschen, abgetropft

100 g gute Bitterschokolade
100 g Milchschokolade
Kirschen mit Stiel, zum Dekorieren

1. Backofen auf 180 Grad Celsius vorheizen. Eine Springform (20 cm) mit Öl oder zerlassener Butter einfetten. Boden und Seiten mit Backpapier auslegen.

2. Mit dem elektrischen Handrührgerät Butter und Zucker leicht und cremig schlagen. Nach und nach einzeln die Eier zugeben und jeweils gut unterrühren. Vanillearoma zufügen und gut vermischen. In eine große Schüssel füllen. Mit einem Metallöffel Mehl, Backpulver, Natron und Kakao abwechselnd mit der Buttermilch unterheben. Gut zu einem glatten Teig vermischen.

3. In der Backform verteilen, Oberfläche glattstreichen. 30-40 Minuten backen, bis ein Stäbchen, das man in die Mitte steckt, beim Herausziehen sauber bleibt. 30 Minuten in der Form ruhen lassen, dann den Kuchen herausnehmen und auf einem Kuchengitter abkühlen lassen. Wenn er kalt ist, mit einem langen Brotmesser horizontal in 3 Böden schneiden.

4. Für die Schokoraspel Schokolade 10-15 Minuten an einen warmen Ort stellen, bis sie weich, aber immer noch fest ist. Mit einem Gemüseschäler von den schmalen Seiten âLöckchenä abschaben.

5. Zum Zusammensetzen einen Boden auf einen Kuchenteller stellen und großzügig mit Kirschwasser einpinseln. Gleichmäßig mit 1/5 der geschlagenen Sahne bestreichen. Die Hälfte der Kirschen darauf verteilen. Den zweiten Boden auflegen, wiederum mit Sahne und Kirschen belegen. Den dritten Boden aufsetzen und mit Sahne bestreichen. Auch den Kuchenrand gleichmäßig mit 1/5 Sahne abdecken und mit Schokoladenlocken verzieren. Auf der Oberfläche des Kuchens rundum Sahnehäubchen aufspritzen und mit frischen oder Maraschinokirschen mit Stiel und weiteren Schokoladenlocken dekorieren.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

8 oz. plain chocolate, at room temperature
15 oz. morello cherries (sour cherries) or pitted cherries
3-4 tablespoons Kirsch (Kirschwasser)
3/4 pint double cream and 2 tablespoons top of the milk
(or 2 cups heavy whipping cream and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla)
3 chocolate sponge cakes, 9 inches in diameter
fresh cherries or maraschino cherries with stems, to decorate


  1. Using a potato peeler shave the block of chocolate into thin curls. Chill.
  2. Drain the syrup from the cherries and mix with the Kirsch.
  3. Whisk the double cream with the top of the milk until stiff. (Or whip the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks, adding 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.)
  4. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate and prick several times with a skewer. Sprinkle with half of the cherry juice, then spread with a quarter of the cream and arrange half the sour cherries on top, leaving a 1-inch margin around the sides.
  5. Place the second cake on top, sprinkle with the remaining cherry juice, spread with a quarter of the cream, and arrange the remaining sour cherries on top.
  6. Position the third cake on top and press down lightly.
  7. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cream. Press chocolate curls onto the sides of the cake and spoon some into a mound in the center. Arrange fresh cherries around the center mound of chocolate and chill for 1-2 hours before serving.



Throughout German-speaking Europe, cafes like the one shown in pic. 1 in Zurich , Switzerland , provide access to local charm, hospitality, and gastronomy.They are often centrally located and attract tourists and residents alike. The attractive café shown on pic.2 can be found in Austria .
Glance into the inviting window of a confectioner's shop and cafe in Freiburg , Germany (pic.3 ). Not only can guests order a slice of Black Forest Cherry Cake and a cup of coffee, but they can sample other German desserts, e.g., Poppyseed and Potato Cake, Rum Gugelhupf, and Hazelnut Torte.

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