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163 To Make Nürnberger lebkuchen

This is an excerpt from Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin
(Germany, 16th century - V. Armstrong, trans.)
The original source can be found at David Friedman's website

163 To make Nürnberger Lebkuchen. Take one quart of honey, put it into a large pan, skim it well and let it boil a good while. Put one and a half pounds of sugar into it and stir it continually with a wooden spatula and let it cook for a while, as long as one cooks an egg, pour it hot into a quarter pound of flour, stir it around slowly and put the described spices in the dough, stir it around slowly and not too long; take one and a half ounces of cinnamon sticks, one and a half ounces of nutmeg, three fourths of an ounce of cloves, three ounces of ginger, a pinch of mace, and chop or grind each one separately so that they are not too small, the cinnamon sticks, especially, should be coarsely ground. And when you have put the spices in the dough, then let the dough set for as long as one needs to hard boil eggs. Dip the hands in flour and take a small heap of dough, make balls out of it, weigh them so that one is as heavy as the others, roll them out with a rolling pin, and spread them out smoothly by hand, the smoother the prettier. After that dip the mold in rose water and open it up. Take four ounces of dough for one Lebkuchen. Be careful and get no flour in the molds or else they will be no good, but on the board you can put flour so that they do not stick to it. Let them set overnight. And when you take them to the baker, then see to it that you have another board that is thoroughly sprinkled with flour, so that it is very thickly covered. Put the board with its covering of flour into the oven so that the board is completely heated, the hotter the better. Take it out afterwards and lay the Lebkuchen on top, so that none touches the other, put them in the oven, let them bake and look after them frequently. At first they will become soft as fat. If you take hold of them you can feel it well. And when they become entirely dry, then take them out and turn the board around, so that the front part goes into the back of the oven. Let it remain a short while, then take it out. Take a small broom, brush the flour cleanly away from the underside of the Lebkuchen and lay the Lebkuchen, in the mean time, on the other board, until you have brushed off the Lebkuchen, one after the other, so that there is no more flour on the bottoms. Afterwards sweep the flour very cleanly from off the board. Lay the Lebkuchen on top of it again, so that the bottom is turned to the top. Take a bath sponge, dip it in rose water, squeeze it out again, wash the flour from the bottoms of the Lebkuchen. Be careful that you do not leave any water on the board, then they would stick to it. Afterwards put the board with the Lebkuchen again in the oven, until the bottoms rise nicely and become hard, then take the board out again. See to it that two or three [people] are by the board, who can quickly turn the Lebkuchen over, or else they will stick. Afterwards take rose water and wash them on top with it as you have done on the underside. Put them in the oven again, let them become dry, carry them home and move them around on the board, so that they do not stick. And when they have completely cooled, then lay them eight or ten, one upon the other, wrap them in paper and store them in a dry place, see that no draft comes therein, then they remain crisp.


Other versions of this recipe:

To make a large Nürnberger Lebkuchen (Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin)

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