The history of the Dresden type Christmas Stollen goes back to the 15th century. The Stollen was designed to symbolize the Infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.
But the original Stollen sure was not the delicious masterpiece you will be able to taste today.
The Stollen is traditional baked during the advent, a holy season of the christian church – the days of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. The advent time is also a season of fasting and according to the prevailing church doctrine a Christstollen was to be made only from flour, yeast and water and oil. Butter and spices were banned from the bakery, due church restrictions.
Another reason for the plain ingredients in this time, is sure the fact that spices was one of the most luxurious products available in the late middle ages.
Imagine, how this cake must have tasted?
One chance - history had something good in mind for our Stollen.
Around 1430 the pope Nikolaus V, was asked by Elector Ernst of Saxony and his brother in a letter (“Butterbrief”) to be allowed to use butter instead of oil for baking. This request was granted by the pope himself, but the permission had only validation for the Elector's family.
It took many many years again till others were allowed to prepare their pastry with butter, during the fasting season. This authority by Pope Innozenz VIII however, was binded under the condition to pay a twentieth part of a gold every year towards the church.
Later this ban was abandoned with the evangelisms of Saxony (Germany). Slowly, but in steady the Christstollen, became tastier and tastier.