ORIGIN OF BAUMKUCHEN
Stories about its birth
As early as the Middle Ages there were loaves in which the dough was wrapped around a skewer and baked over an open fire. These are kind of the precursors of today’s twist bread.
The first Baumkuchen are attributed by some historians to the Hungarians, and by others to the Greeks. The first known preserved recipe in the world comes from an Italian cookbook from the year 1426. The oldest surviving German-language recipe dates back to 1450, when Baumkuchen was a popular wedding pastry among the Patricians in Nuremberg and Frankfurt am Main. The dough was laid in layers in a ring shape around a rotating wooden roller. It was first described as a “Baumkuchen” in 1682 in the cookbook of the personal physician of Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg.
In the 16th century, the production method changed. The dough was now no longer sheathed in layers, but attached to the roller as a whole piece with cords. The cords caused indentations which led to the rings which are typical to this day. A century later, the skill then came closer to the current form of manufacturing by applying a thin liquid dough layer by layer on a rotating roller.
The individual rings were now created by removing the dough with a wooden comb. Despite the elaborate production, Baumkuchen was mainly baked in the home. It was during this time that the first forms of finishing were also documented, for example with a glaze made of sugar and rose water.
As early as the 18th century, Baumkuchen was produced in the German-speaking world in its current recipe: with butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and flour. At that time, it was usually sprinkled with grated chocolate or coated with couverture. Around 1800, Baumkuchen became a matter for the confectioners. As a result, Berlin was considered the first capital of Baumkuchen. In the process, Berlin developed a pull which led to satellite bakeries in Dresden, Cottbus, Szczecin and Salzwedel from the second half of the 19th century. To this day, Cottbus and Salzwedel in particular have maintained their reputation as Baumkuchen suppliers of supra-regional importance.