Dresden Stollen Festival
The Dresden Giant Stollen
The Dresden Giant Stollen is not only of phenomenal size and weight, but also a highly elaborate piece of art. For many weeks, between 1993 and 1994, Prof. Kurt Merker was calculating, drafting, and modeling in an old factory shed in the Berholt-Brecht-Avenue in order to realize the idea of the Stollen-Festival-inventor Peter Mutscheller and to present a Giant Stollen at the 1st Dresden Stollen Festival. The oversize Christmas cake is an exact proportional enlargement of the typical Dresden four-pound stollen. The famous wagon that traditionally carries the Giant Stollen through the streets of Dresden`s city has been designed by Prof. Kurt Merker, too. Carpenters from Dresden-Weißig have done their best to realize Merker’s plan.
The model for the Giant Stollen of the recent Dresden Stollen Festivals is the one which was baked by the royal master baker Zacharias in 1730. More than 60 "basin knights" baked the cake for six hours in an oven which had been solely built for this purpose. It was handed over to August the Strong during the Zeithain amusement camp (Zeithainer Lustlager). At that time the Stollen was 1.8 tons in weight, 18 cubits in length, 8 cubits in width and 30 cm thick.
Of course, the Giant Stollen of 1730 has nothing to do anymore with the one of present times. The processing and ingredients differ significantly from that of the past. The stollen of 1730 was more of a white bread than the cake as we know it today. And also the consumption is said to have been rather problematic because the baking in an oven caused an extremely hard crust and a very soft inside. However, it seems as if the royal court had savored the cake at that time. At least, that is what historical sources say. Today, the Dresden Giant Stollen does not differ from the genuine normal-size Dresden Stollen: identical ingredients and an unmistakable flavor are the trademarks of the cake. Of course, the production of the Giant Stollen has to meet severe quality demands of the Stollenschutzverband („Trade Protection Society Dresden Stollen“).
But how is the Dresden Giant Stollen made? It consists of many single plates (Stollen plates) which are joined by means of butter and sugar. Every year, in November, more than 60 ovens are burning for three weeks in order to bake the stollen plates. About 370 handmade plates, each 11 kilos in weight, have to be produced according to secret recipes of the respective bakers until they are joined together directly on the huge stollen wagon on the weekend before the festivity. In the same way as in a jigsaw puzzle, bakers and pastry-chefs join the single plates to form an overall piece of art and a dainty weighing three tons. The hard work takes about six hours. Helpful tools are stencils and building constructions by Prof. Kurt Merker. Finally, the Stollen gets its well-known layer of icing sugar. After the completition of the Super-Stollen, the Stollen wagon is festively decorated.
Towards the end of the festival, about 30 bakers and pastry chefs - most of them are trainees and journeymen - cut the Giant Stollen into portions each weighing 500 grams. The portions are sold to the visitors in exchange for the so called Stollenthaler (one Stollenthaler costs five Euros; one portion for one Stollenthaler). The whole procedure takes about three hours.
Up to now, the pensioner Prof. Kurt Merker has helped to build up the Giant Stollen and has participated in every Dresden Stollen Festival. For that reason, Dresden`s bakers and pastry-chefs have lovingly nicknamed him the "Stollen professor".
Statistics and Records:
With the world`s biggest stollen of the 1st Dresden Stollen Festival, Dresden`s bakers and pastry-cooks achieved an entry in the Guiness Book of Records. At that time, the giant Christmas cake weighed 2,720 kilos. In the meantime, the record of 1994 has been beaten several times. The stollen of the 7th Dresden Stollen Festival, exactly 4,200 kilos in weight, holds the record.
The measurements of the worldl's biggest Stollen:
Length: 4.75 meters
Previous Giant Stollens:
Ingredients of the world’s biggest Stollen (rounded figures):
1,500 kilos wheaten flour