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FRESH and Festive: Stollen

A German Christmas tradition, this sweet yeast bread is packed with raisins, currants, citrus and tart cherries. Usually eaten during the Christmas season, this scrumptious treat may also contain almonds and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon.  Stollen was designed to symbolize the infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and is very similar to Italian pannetone.

The original Stollen of the 1400s was not the delicious masterpiece that you will now find.   Because it was traditionally baked during the Christian Advent season, a season of fasting, it only contained flour, yeast, water and oil.  Butter and spices were banned from the bakery due to church restrictions.  Luckily, in the 1650s, a hero by the name of Prince Ernst von Sachsen successfully petitioned Pope Urban VIII to lift the restrictions on the use of butter during Advent. The restrictions were lifted only in Dresden, at the request of the bakers, and thus began a baking tradition that continues to this day.

Rum, fruit, citrus, nuts, spices and butter all mingle together to create a flavorful Christmas bread that has been lovingly prepared for centuries. It may be topped with powdered sugar icing, marzipan, or cinnamon and sugar coating.

Come and try FRESH Stollen this season.

Freshie Faves: New to FRESH – French Batard

A popular favorite from France, the French Batard Bread is now being offer at FRESH. With a crispy, crunchy crust and a slightly chewy center, the French Batard is a delicious and versatile bread.

As you know, FRESH uses only the finest ingredients in all of our bakery items. Our authentic German deck ovens are specifically designed to bake all of our artisian selections.

The French Batard can be sliced vertically and toasted with various toppings such as compound butters, the most popular being garlic butter. It can also be sliced horizontally for sandwiches, big or small. Day old French bread can be used in recipes such as croutons and bread puddings. Made fresh DAILY, the French Batard is sure to be hit for your family and friends. Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Croutons – Either slices (great for soups) or cubes. If you want to season them, heat up some olive oil (which you can cut with a neutral oil, like grapeseed or safflower and add some sliced garlic cloves. After they turn gold, remove from heat, remove the garlic and toss in herbs of your choice (dried or fresh). Brush or toss the bread with the flavored oil and place on a baking sheet in a preheated 350° F oven until they start to brown. Let cool completely before use.
  • Bread pudding – Tear batard into bite sized chunks and use in your favorite bread pudding recipe.
  • Fondue – Cube batard and serve with one of our packaged fondues or make your own from our huge selection of cheeses from all over the world!
  • Panzanella – This is a great summertime salad and is so easy to make! Cube the batard, toss with diced fresh tomatoes, herbs of your choice, 1 chopped clove of garlic & some extra virgin olive oil. You can also add other favorite veggies like cucumber, olives, bell pepper or even summer squash.
  • French bread pizza – Hollow out the inside part of the Batard and fill with tomato sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Open faced meatball sandwich – Slice the bread and spread on some garlic butter and tomato sauce. Cut some FRESH meatballs in half and lay over the sauce. Top with more sauce and some sliced FRESH mozzarella. Sprinkle with grated parmesan. Bake at 375° F for 15 minutes.
  • Pain Perdu (aka French toast) – Slice your bread into thick slices. Dip into egg and milk mixture (I add a little sugar and cinnamon and orange or lemon rind). Pan fry in butter until golden brown. Keep warm in oven until all the slices are finished. Serve warm with raspberry or strawberry jam, or just sprinkled with sugar.