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Nazareth bakery takes part in time-honored tradition

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 03 2014 05:15:18 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 03 2014 06:26:04 PM CST

Bakers are busy preparing for the popular Fastnacht Day, which is Tuesday.

NAZARETH, Pa. -

Bakers are busy preparing for the popular Fastnacht Day, which is Tuesday.

There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes in kitchens before customers come in to pick up the tasty treats.

"This is one of our biggest days of the year, if not biggest - Fastnacht Day," said Stephen Riccelli at Schubert's Bakery in Nazareth.

"We try to get a system going where we don't stop," he explained.

Riccelli said they are preparing to sell thousands of fastnachts on Fat Tuesday.

"Thousands and thousands, eight, nine, ten thousand donuts, sure," he said.

Fastnacht Day is a German tradition celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday. It was a way to get rid of things like sugar and lard before fasting during Lent.

"Fastnachts have evolved out of the old tradition of the mashed potato-style, heavy, dense donut," said Riccelli. "It's very similar to a beignet. It's a flat donut, it comes out of the dough press in a certain shape."

"There's a secret ingredient in it that I can't reveal of course," he added.

Riccelli and others in the bakery are planning to work through the night before doors open to customers at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

"Since we're the only bakery here in Nazareth, it's become kind of a love affair for 41 years," he said.

Schubert's Bakery is also getting ready for some national attention. It will be featured on a Food Network show called Save My Bakery April 2. For now, though, all the attention is focused on the fastnachts.