Go behind the scenes at the Pennsylvania Bakery during Fastnacht day 2021


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which for some people means it’s time to load up on Fastnachts.

You heard that right, it’s Fastnacht day, and Dresdon Rohrer, a baker at the Pennsylvania Bakery, explains what goes into the making of this delicious Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.

“It takes a team, it really does. There’s no one guy who does it,” says Rohrer. “It probably takes two or three guys to round them out, pound them out for the frying and the glazing.”

Fastnacht Day began as a German tradition. Many people temporarily stopped eating foods like butter, sugar and lard for Lent. So the day before Ash Wednesday (the start of the Christian holiday Lent) they would use up those ingredients by making fastnacht.

The Pennsylvania Dutch tradition has since evolved to resemble something close to a doughnut – but not these Fastnachts.

“Our Fastnachts are made with potato flour. Some Fastnachts are made with baking powder,” said Rohrer. “We do the potato doughnut. That seems to be pretty popular in this area, especially the Central Pennsylvania area.”

Rohrer and his team of bakers say they have been hard at work filling dozens of orders.

“If we’re talking in dozens, I think it’s safe to say a couple thousand dozen,” added Rohrer. “We do powder sugar, we do just plain cinnamon sugar, granulated sugar and glaze which is very popular.”

If you don’t want to miss out on this Central Pennsylvania tradition, click here for a list of Fastnachts retailers.

Is your business or organization selling Fastnacht? Fill out this form to be added to abc27’s list.

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