Stollen is a German specialty and is often associated with the city of Dresden. My late Aunt Greta would always bake stollen at Christmas to recall the holiday traditions of her German heritage. She taught me how to make stollen and passed along her original recipe, which can be found here. My results are improving. It’s nice to evoke her memory with a thick, buttery slice of stollen on Christmas morning.
Commercially-baked Panettone from Italy is a fixture in the department store food halls this time of year. Panettone means “great big bread loaf” and my first homemade attempt yielded respectable results. I used the panettone recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, although there are plenty of versions to be found online. Sam at My Carolina Kitchen also offers some interesting tales on the origins of panettone.
In my research, I was intrigued to learn that panettone keeps so well that some households in Milan reserve a quarter of the loaf to be eaten on February 3rd which is the feast of San Biagio, a saint who watches over those with ear aches and sore throats. The panettone is supposed to prevent winter maladies. Truth be told, I don’t think we’ll have any left by February, so I’ll have to rely on my flu shot!
Wishing you a merry day, Peace on Earth and an abundance of fresh bread!
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