The story of stollen

What food traditions are honored by your family during this holiday season?  For my husband and his family, Nana’s cornbread stuffing is the ‘must-have’ dish with Thanksgiving turkey.  My family ate traditional fare of turkey with white bread dressing for Thanksgiving.  My mother’s allergy to turkey meant that she also baked a chicken or duck for her meal.  One of my fondest memories about visiting mom’s parents is stollen, a sweet yeast bread with German origins.  In this post, I digress from the telling of individual stories to share our family recipe and a few stories.


What’s left of the most recent stollen at our house

As mentioned, stollen is a sweet yeast bread with German origins.  It is made with dried fruits, nuts and spices. How to pronounce “stollen”

Here’s the RECIPE:   CHRISTMAS STOLLEN_one page

My maternal great-great grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany. Valentine Maurer and Maria Metzger were from Baden in southwest Germany. Ludwig Klee claimed Prussia in north east Germany as his homeland.  The ancestry of Anna Wolfe, Ludwig’s wife, is either Dutch or Prussian.  So, we honor those German traditions and food.

I remember that Gram always had stollen when we visited. Sometimes she bought the stollen from a commercial bakery,  Entenmann’s.  Entenmann’s  baked goods are available at many retail grocery chains. If you have never tried any of their cakes and desserts, you are really missing something wonderful! Sometimes the stollen came from the local bakery where great-aunt Viola worked.

My sister found the original recipe years ago. Both of us tweaked the recipe a little to produce this version. I make this stollen the week before Thanksgiving. We eat it Thanksgiving morning while watching parades on TV.  For the next several weeks, snack time often includes a small piece of stollen.  I often make a second recipe in December.


Use real butter, not margarine.  I use unsalted butter.  I cannot say how it would turn out if you use soft butter from tubs or salted butter.

Nuts:  I use pecans. Almonds or walnuts give a slightly different flavor.

Raisins:  We like golden raisins but regular black raisins work well, too. I haven’t tried the recipe with cranraisins.

I don’t have a counter-top mixer. I do all of the mixing and kneading by hand.  Quality should be the same if you use a counter-top mixer for kneading the bread dough.  Continue to mix in fruits and nuts by hand.

One recipe makes two stollen cakes. Wrap one in plastic wrap and aluminum; place in the freezer. Keeps in freezer for months.

Warm a piece in microwave for 10-15 seconds then put some butter on it. The butter just melts into the bread.



I put the recipe at the beginning of my post.  Why?  Personal preference. I am annoyed by  food posts that show multiple pictures of a dish with lots of text before you ever get to the recipe.  I don’t mind reading a short introduction.  Then, I want to read the recipe!  If I am interested, then I will read the rest of the post.  I guess it’s a marketing ploy similar to a salesperson telling you all about a product without telling you the price.

What I learned:  different ways to pronounce ‘stollen’.

What helped:  years of experience making this sweet yeast bread for my family.

What didn’t help:  nothing.

TO-DO:   I made one batch last week for my family. Make another batch after Thanksgiving for in-laws.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Ida Bedell Maurer, age 28, succumbs to Spanish Flu

This year represents the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu epidemic.  We usually think that victims of influenza are more likely to be very young or very old. However, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was different. “It [Spanish flu] seemed to target the young and healthy, being particularly deadly to 20 to 35-year-olds.” [1]   Ida E. Bedell Maurer, age 28, became one of those victims.


(Image: from the National Museum of Health and Medicine) – Pandemic Influenza: The Inside Story. Nicholls H, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/2/2006, e50

Ida E. Bedell was born in October 1890 to William H. Bedell and Mary Ida Decker.[2]  By 1900, her parents moved to Huntington Station, Suffolk county, New York. [3]   The family of her future husband moved to Huntington Station from Brooklyn between 1900 and 1910. [4], [5]    The two families possibly knew each other.  In July 1916, Ida E. Bedell married Herman Charles Maurer, son of Herman Maurer and Anna Klee in Huntington Station, Suffolk county, New York.  The Huntington Long Islander newspaper carried the wedding announcement [6]:

Maurer - Bedell Marriage

Following their marriage, “Mr and Mrs Herman Maurer left on the afternoon train for Bridgeport, Conn., where they will reside. The groom hold a responsible position in that city.”   Herman’s ‘responsible position’ was that of a carpenter for the Remington Arms Company. [7] ,[8] .  The young couple’s future seems bright.

Nothing else is known about their life in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In October, 1918, Ida Bedell Maurer, age 28, died from influenza. [9]  Her husband, Herman, was also hospitalized with ‘the disease’.  There is no mention of children.

Bedell_Ida_mMaurer_death notice_crop

Following Ida’s death, Herman returned to Suffolk county, New York where he continued to work as a carpenter.  [10]  In 1922, Herman married Elizabeth Bailer [11] . They became the parents of two children – Herman E. Maurer, who died in World War II, and Grace Maurer. I wish I knew more of their story.

Websites with additional information:

Spanish Flu, posted 11 September 2018:

“The Deadly Virus: The influenza epidemic of 1918″, no date:



I have thought about writing this piece for several months.  My husband and I both have ancestors who died between 1917 and 1919.  I can confirm deaths due to the flu for some. Death certificates and/or other death records for some people remain undiscovered; those stories are for other posts. Both young and old persons from our families died during this time.

What I learned:  That the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 was more likely to affect younger people than the very old or very young.   Ida Bedell Maurer was just one of those younger persons.

What helped:  access to multiple record sources.  Research on this family has been virtually complete for several months.

What didn’t help:  personal family issues and a slight delay in being able to write and post this blog.  Online, I found a picture of a young woman in bridal clothes who may have been a victim of the 1918-1919 Spanish flu. I could not find any identification. If I posted that picture here, people might think that the picture is of Ida. I would not want any mis-identification.

To-Do:  Search for pictures of Herman and/or Ida in their teens or 20s.  I have pictures of Herman as a baby and, in his 60s with his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Bailer.


[1] “1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic”,  ThoughtCo, Humanities, History and Culture,  No date,   :  Accessed 5 November 2018.

[2] “New York and Vicinity United Methodist Church Records,1775 -1949”,  database; marriage record for William H. Bedell and Mary Ida Decker, 30 June 1880,  Ancestry (   :  accessed 4 November 2018),  citing  Methodist Episcopal Church Records in New York City and vicinity, Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library; New York, New York.

[3] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Suffolk county, New York, population schedule, Huntington Station,  ED, p. 2 (ink pen), p. 79A (stamp), dwelling 21, family 21, William H. Beddell, head; digital images, Ancestry (  : accessed & printed 5 Novmber 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration,  Washington, D.C.. microfilm publication T623.

[4] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 21, enumeration district (ED) 331, p. 3B (penned), dwelling 13, family 63, Herman Maurer head; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed, downloaded, printed 8 October 2010); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1058.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Suffolk County, New York, pop. sch., Huntington, enumeration district (ED) 1367, p. 2B (ink pen), Family #26, Herman Maurer (head); digital images, ( : accessed, viewed, downloaded 31 January 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T624, roll 1083.

[6] “Maurer-Bedell,” Huntington [New York]  Long Islander,  Friday, 21 July 1916; PDF (cited by JamesCummings18, online family tree (

[7] “Connecticut, Military Census, 1917,” database and images, Ancestry (   : accessed & printed, 4 November 2018; citing Connecticut Military Census of 1917; Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut State Library.

[8] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital image, Ancestry ( : viewed, downloaded, printed 25 July 2016), entry for Herman Charles Maurer, age 23; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918: citing Selective Service System, National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; dated 5 Jun 1917.

[9]  “Mrs. Ida Maurer”, death notice, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, 15 October 1918, page 10, column 3; (   : Accessed & printed 1 February  2018.

[10] 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Suffolk County, population schedule, Brookhaven, enumeration district (ED) 94, p. 4B, dwelling 78, family 94, line 93, Herman C. Maurer, boarder; digital images, Find My Past (  :  : accessed, downloaded 3 February 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D. C. microfilm publication T625_1268.

[11] United States, Marriage Transcription for Herman Maurer and Elizabeth Bailer, 12 Feb 1922.  Find My Past (     :   accessed & printed 3 Feb 2018); Civil Marriage & Divorce records. Original data from New York City Municipal Archives, New York, New York. Borough: Brooklyn.