The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lebkuchen Recipes

CountryBoy's picture

Lebkuchen Recipes

Hi Folks, my local store has at long last gotten in the ingredients for making the Stollen recipe that Harry has shared with us.  I will be making it within the next 2 weeks.

At the risk of sounding greedy, does anyone have any reliable Lebkuchen recipes?  For those not familiar with Lebkuchen please see what Wikipedia says on the matter..

Lebkuchen is a traditional German Christmas baking good, somewhat like soft gingerbread, which was probably invented by Medieval monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century. Lebkuchen bakers were recorded as early as 1296 in Ulm, and 1395 in Nuremberg, the latter being the most famous exporter today, known as Nürnberger Lebkuchen (Nuremberg Lebkuchen).

Historically, and due to ingredients, Lebkuchen is also known as honey cake (Honigkuchen, de:Honigkuchen) or pepper cake (Pfefferkuchen, de:Pfefferkuchen). Sometimes Lebkuchen is packaged in richly decorated nostalgic tins and boxes which have become collectors' items. Lebkuchen range in taste from spicy to sweet and come in a variety of shapes with round being the most common. The ingredients usually include honey, spices and nuts, almonds or candied fruit. Salt of Hartshorn and Potash are often used for raising the dough. Lebkuchen dough is usually placed on a thin wafer base called Oblate. This was an idea of the monks who used communion wafers to prevent the dough from sticking. Honey cakes were also worn as a talisman in battle or as protection against evil spirits. Folk etymology often associates it with Leben (life), Leib (body) or Leibspeise (favorite food).

Many people in Germany seem to think that eating it is a good cure for winter depression.

I love that last line.  Just think of it, eat Lebkuchen for mental health.  I love it.  8-) 


JERSK's picture

   There's a lebkuchen recipe in Joy of Cooking. I remember making it as a kid. You're supposed to let the cookies age a little. Impossible for a kid to comprehend. It hgas a variation that calls for carbonate of ammonia(instead of baking soda) if you want a crisper cooking.

browndog's picture

There's a recipe in King Arthur's 200th Anniversary Cookbook, also I have one from an old United States Regional Cookbook for Braune Lebkuchen. Can't say if either is reliable. I'll copy the older one for the sake of interest:

Braune Lebkuchen

2/3 c honey

1 c sugar

1/3 c butter

1 egg

1/3 c water

1/2 tsp salt

4 c sifted cake flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

2/3 c chopped nuts

1/3 c chopped citron

Boil honey, sugar and butter together for 5 minutes. Cool. Beat egg and add to water. Mix and sift flour, soda, salt and spices, and add alternately with liquid ingredients to honey mixture. Add nuts and citron last. Chill. If the dough is allowed to ripen several days before rolling out, the flavor and texture of the cookies are improved. Roll about 1/4" thick, cut in fancy shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Ice with colored icing or a sugar glaze. To make a sugar glaze, dilute confectioner's sugar with water to make it the consistency of thin cream.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


That's clever. Let the cookies age before you bake them. Keeps the kiddies at bay... 

CountryBoy's picture

Thanks for your help on this.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

This mixture of spices is added instead of just cinnamon and cloves.  

Equal parts (use a 1/2 teaspoon)

  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • cloves
  • cardamon
  • nutmeg

Traditional Lebkuchen is made with rye flour.   :)   Adding rye bread altus or cake crumbs will add some lightness to the cookie.   :)