The tradition of Lebkuchen dates back to the Middle Ages, to the year 1395 to be precise.
This is the first time a Lebkuchen baker, a so called Lebküchner, was mentioned in a document in Nuremberg. In the 17th century Nuremberg’s Lebküchners agreed on a purity law for their products which still applies to Nuremberg Oblaten Lebkuchen to this day. The term Nuremberg Lebkuchen is famous all around the world and has been protected by law as a designation of origin.  This means that only Lebkuchen that are produced within Nuremberg’s city limits are allowed to bear this name or can have designs that represent Nuremberg.



The exact composition of the Lebkuchen dough has of course always been a well kept secret by the Lebküchner.  The basic ingredients however have never changed:
eggs, flour and honey, hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds. Candied orange and lemon peel, marzipan and – critical to the taste of the Lebkuchen – the spices:
anise, ginger, coriander, cloves, allspice, mace, cardamom and cinnamon.

 




Oblaten-Lebkuchen


For these Lebkuchen, the dough is spread on oblates which are then dried and baked. Their dough contains at least 7% oil seeds, at least half of which are almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts. They contain no added fat.

 



Delicate Oblaten-Lebkuchen


These are Oblaten Lebkuchen whose dough contains a minimum of 12.5% almonds and/or nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts). Alternatively a further 14% oil seeds can be used, half of which are almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts. They contain no added fat.




Premium Elisen-Lebkuchen


They are the “Rolls Royce” of Oblaten Lebkuchen – an absolute highlight! They were named after a Lebküchner's daughter and have been the masterpieces of the Lebkuchen guild since 1808. The dough must contain at least 25% almonds and / or hazelnuts and / or walnuts. No other oil seeds are used. They may contain a maximum of 10% cereal flour or 7.5% starch or a corresponding mixture of these products. They contain no added fat.




White Lebkuchen


A special delicacy! The term has its origins in the light color of the dough. White Lebkuchen dough contains 15% egg and / or the according amount of egg / milk protein based products and a maximum of 40% flour and / or starch. They come as squares and have no sugar coating or filling. Almonds as well as candied lemon and orange peel can be used as a decoration. 


Brown Lebkuchen

These kinds of Lebkuchen are formed, spread or cut of dough but are not baked on an oblate surface. They contain 100 parts of cereal flour products and / or starch, at least 50 parts of sugar or sugars. They are produced both, with or without oil seeds.

 
Kaiserlein
In 1487, Emperor Frederick III held a Reichstag in Nuremberg and decided to invite all children to the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg. Almost four thousand children received Lebkuchen that showed an image of the emperor.



Dominoes
Bite-sized Lebkuchen cubes with chocolate coating. They consist of several layers of brown Lebkuchen and one or more layers of marzipan, jelly or persipan.


 

Tips for Storing your Lebkuchen

Unlike crunchy Christmas cookies, Lebkuchen are supposed to be soft and succulent – for as long as possible.
Since Oblaten Lebkuchen are made without any chemical preservatives they are best stored in their protective packaging in a cool place at 16 – 18 degrees Celsius with 65% air humidity. All opened packs should be resealed carefully. 


A trick from grandmother's kitchen to keep Lebkuchen fresh for longer:

Just put half an apple into your Lebkuchen tin.
You may also use the zest of untreated lemons or oranges. They will provide humidity as well as some additional flavor.
Please make sure to replace the apples or zests with new ones at least every other day to avoid mold formation.


“Grey" chocolate on Lebkuchen doesn’t mean it has “gone off”. Even a short period of heat during transportation can make the chocolate go slightly “grey” on its surface. This discoloration affects neither quality nor taste.