Stollen Bread is Back!

December 2, 2012
Jason in Bakery

Jason, Artisan Baker

I can’t believe Christmas is already upon us! It can be hectic trying to figure out what to get for your awesome neighbors or what to bring to your Christmas parties. May I suggest Harmons Stollen Bread? Stollen is a fruitcake type of bread with an almond filling. It started back in the 15th century (some say it was even earlier than that) in Dresden, Germany. It was made at Christmas time and was originally made without butter or milk. Oil was used instead because there was a ban on the use of butter in baked goods. After the ban was lifted bakers started putting their own spin on the recipe. At Harmons it is made from scratch and we of course use butter as well as candied fruit and almond filling. I have had some Stollen recipes that were a bit too dense and dry for me, but ours is moist and very flavorful. Stollen Bread will be available from now through December!

2 Responses to “Stollen Bread is Back!”


    Posted by STEF | December 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm
  • We are by no means an authority on Catholic religion so any reference and use of the word ban follows other descriptions and information available about Stollen bread.

    “In the 15th century, in medieval Saxony (in central Germany, north of Bavaria and south of Brandenburg), the Prince Elector Ernst (1441 – 1486) and his brother Duke Albrecht (1443–1500) decided to remedy this by writing to the Pope in Rome. The Saxon bakers needed to use butter, as oil in Saxony was expensive, hard to come by, and had to be made from turnips, although we now know this was a healthy option. Pope Nicholas V (1397–1455), in 1450 denied the first appeal. Five popes died until finally, Pope Innocent VIII, (1432–1492) in 1490 sent a letter to the Prince, known as the “Butter-Letter” which granted the use of butter (without having to pay a fine) – but only for the Prince-Elector and his family and household. 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 Freiburg Minster. The ban on butter was removed when Saxony became Protestant.” (

    “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 bake stollen with a clear conscience and God’s blessing for a small fee.” (

    “The early Stollen was not very flavorful as butter and milk were forbidden to bake with during the Lenten season. In 1647 two Electors Kurfürst Ernst and his brother Albrecht tired of the taste decided to petition the pope, asking him to strike down the butter ban. The ban was finally lifted.” (

    “It was not easy to produce good Stollen from just flour and water, since the Catholic church had banned the use of milk and butter in the cake. In 1647 Kurfürst Ernst and his brother Albrecht decided to petition the pope, asking him to strike down the butter ban. History does not tell us whether the bakers included a Stollen with their request, but the pope received it favourably, and sent out a “butter letter” allowing milk and butter to be used in Stollen with his blessing, on the condition that a just and reasonable tax be paid.” (,_History_and_Tradition)

    Posted by Harmons1 | December 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm