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Christmas in Germany is all about delicious baked goods, as far as I’m concerned. Perfect Christmas cookies, marzipan, truffles and, of course, German Christmas Stollen.
In recent years, Stollen has become famous all over the world. This delicious Christmas treat is simple to bake at home and makes a fabulous Christmas gift.
Try also my Quick and Easy Stollen Bites
I’m old enough to remember the time when stollen was not only a rare presence at Christmas dinners, but few people even knew what it was.
That seems to be in the past now. In the last decade or so, it has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity, becoming one of the most sought-after winter , almost as tightly associated with the season as gingerbread cookies and peppermint candy.
The article below will break down where this seminal German treat came from, why it is associated with Christmas, and the road it took before becoming what it is today.
Prep: 1-1/2 hours + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling
2 loaves (14 slices each)
My family and friends agree that the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without this traditional stollen. —Valeria Mauik, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
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- In a large bowl, soak raisins, fruit and currants in apple juice for 1 hour; drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add the eggs, zest and extract; beat until smooth. Stir in the almond, fruit mixture and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Dust with confectioners’ sugar or combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over loaves.
1 slice: 214 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 155mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 2g fiber), 4g protein.
This classic recipe for Dresden Stollen is a buttery German festive favorite, packed with dried fruit and citrus zest before being dusted liberally with confectioners sugar.
Since 1474, Dresden Christmas Stollen has been a favorite advent season treat. A buttery, moist and heavy cake-like fruit bread made simply with yeast, dried fruits and the zests of citrus. Liberally dusted with confectioners sugar, it’s a tradition all of its own.
Especially in Dresden, Germany where they have an official website dedicated to this buttery deliciousness.
As they point out, each Christmas Stollen (originally called Striezel) is unique. With centuries of recipes passed from one family to the next, stollens vary from generation to generation.
History of the Dresden Stollen
The Dresdner Christstollen is a piece of cultural history.
It’s been said Dresden Stollen “was baked for the first time at the Council of Trent in 1545, and was made with flour, yeast, oil, and water.” Then Saxon Prince Ernst decided the bread was hard and tasteless, due to the oil used in the bread. Writing to the Pope for permission to use butter, the resulting recipe delivered a moist and buttery bread that survived the centuries to find its way to Christmas tables today.
For a taste of how authentic Dresdner Stollen is made, this bakery video will give you a flavor of how stollen is made in large quantities and ideas on shaping the bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this stollen recipe a cake or a bread?
Stollen is a yeasted sweet bread, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it is a cake due to the amount of sugar and ingredients that are commonly found in a classic fruit cake.
How long does stollen last?
When the dried fruit is soaked in rum or brandy, Stollen is a long-lasting yeast bread that gets better with age. If you keep it well wrapped and in a cool, dark place it should last a couple of months, which is perfect as that just about covers the entire holiday period!
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- package active dry yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
- I like raisins, golden raisins, cranberries, and currants
- zest of one orange
- chopped blanched almonds or pecans, walnuts
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Put the dried fruit in a bowl with 1/4 cup of orange juice and let soak while heating the milk. You can substitute rum or brandy for the soaking liquid if you wish, which would help preserve the stollen for longer.
- In a saucepan, add milk, 1/2 cup butter, granulated sugar, and salt; warm until the butter is almost melted. Let the milk cool to lukewarm before stirring in the yeast. It’s important the milk is just warm and not hot. Otherwise, it will kill the yeast. Let sit for 15 minutes, or until frothy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add 2 cups flour, cardamom, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Once the yeast has activated, pour the butter/yeast mixture into the flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat on low for 30 seconds; scrape the bowl. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring in as much of the remaining 2 cups of flour as you can.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and on a lightly floured surface, knead in the soaked fruit, orange zest, and almonds.
- Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into equal halves; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden. If you want to use an instant-read thermometer, the bread should reach 190°F. Remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a rack for cooling.
- While still warm, brush the stollen with melted butter and dredge in granulated sugar. Let cool and then dust liberally with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Christmas Stollen, German Stollen, Stollen
This traditional German stollen bread is the perfect treat for the holidays! It’s a delicious sweet bread filled with cranberries, raisins, candied citrus, and a luscious almond filling.
I love German food and trying to recreate it at home! A few more recipes you’ll have to try out: pork schnitzel, German oven pancakes, and this German potato salad! (It’s one of my favorite sides!)
German Christmas Fruit Loaf (Christstollen)
This holiday season, swap out your traditional fruit cake for this tasty German version! Translated, “stollen” means fruit loaf. These are eaten all year round, but in December they’re called Christstollen. Stollen bread is soft with the perfect chew. Similar to a fruit cake, it’s also loaded with cranberries, raisins, and candied citrus for delicious fruity flavor!
What really makes stollen good, though, is its tasty almond filling. I use almond paste in this recipe, but it’s also commonly made with marzipan! Stollen is the perfect combination of flavors and textures. It’s sweet, nutty, and fruity! You’ve got to give this delicious German pastry a try for Christmas. It may just become a new family tradition!
What You’ll Need to Make Stollen
I’ve broken this list of ingredients up into a few different parts so it’s easier to organize. If you can’t find almond paste at your local grocery store, check out my tips section below on how to make it at home.
Fruit and Nut Mixture
- Dried Fruits: In my stollen bread I used dried cranberries and golden raisins for the perfect combination of tart and sweet.
- Candied Citrus: I used both candied orange and lemon peel. If you can’t find these in-store, use my recipe here to make them from scratch!
- Slivered Almonds: Adds a little extra nuttiness to the stollen.
- Dark Rum: Added for extra flavor.
- Milk: I always like to use whole milk for bread because the fat content makes it soft and tender. Be sure to use milk that’s warm to help activate the yeast!
- Yeast: I used active dry yeast.
- Sugar: Just regular granulated sugar works great to sweeten up the dough.
- Bread Flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, so it produces more gluten and gives your stollen more chew.
- Large Egg: Binds all of the ingredients together!
- Softened Butter: I used unsalted butter because we add salt separately.
- Vanilla: Vanilla and sweet breads go hand-in-hand! Add some in for an extra pop of flavor.
- Lemon Zest: I add lemon zest for a touch of zesty flavor.
- Salt: Keeps your stollen from tasting bland.
- Spices: No Christmas bread is complete without spice! I used cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon for the perfect holiday flavor.
- Melted Butter: Nothing compares to a little melted butter brushed on top of homemade bread!
- Powdered Sugar: Stollen is traditionally made with powdered sugar dusted on top, but you can omit this if you want your bread to be less sweet.
How to Make Almond Paste
If you can’t find almond paste or marzipan at the store, don’t worry! It’s really easy to make at home. All you need are a few simple ingredients and a food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups whole almonds, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, one egg white, and blend until you reach a paste-like consistency.
How to Make Stollen Bread
I know all the instructions may be intimidating, but making stollen is actually pretty simple! It just takes a little time and patience to get your dough right.
Preparing the Fruit and Nut Mixture
- Combine Ingredients: Prepare the fruit and nut mixture by combining dried cranberries, raisins, candied fruit peels, almonds, and rum.
- Soak in Rum: Allow the mixture to soak, stirring occasionally until you are ready to use it.
Making the Dough
- Combine: Add to the bowl 3 cups of your bread flour, egg, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Create Bread Forms: While the dough is resting, create two rectangular forms with tin foil and place them on a sheet of parchment paper, these will help the stollen bread to keep it’s shape while baking. If you have stollen bread forms you can use those.
- Shape and Fold: When dough has doubled in size, dump out onto a lightly floured surface and pound to degas. Fold in your fruit and nut mixture, straining out any excess juice beforehand. Then work the dough until the fruit and nut mixture is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Allow the dough to rest, covered in the bowl for another 10 minutes.
Adding Filling and Baking
- Add Almond Filling: Dump the dough back onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into two equal halves. Stretch each half into a rectangle and set aside. Take your almond paste and roll into a rectangle between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut the almond paste rectangle in half and place one on each rectangle of dough, slightly off to one side.
- Add Topping: Remove the loaves from the oven and brush with melted butter, once the loaves have cooled a bit, dust each one generously with powdered sugar.
Tips for Making the Best Stollen
Here are a few of my tips and tricks for making stollen! It’s really easy to customize. You’re going to love making it for the holidays!
- Use Orange Juice in Place of Rum: The alcohol in the rum you soak the fruit and nuts in will bake out, but if you are not comfortable using rum you can use orange juice as a substitute.
- Swapping Out Almond Paste for Marzipan: You can use marzipan instead of almond paste, I just prefer the almond paste personally.
How Long Does Stollen Last?
This loaf is best made the night before you intend to serve it so it has plenty of time to cool down. Enjoy within a few days. It can be stored covered at room temperature for up to a week, and in the freezer for 3 months, although I recommend eating it fresh!
- At Room Temperature: Store stollen in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 1 week!
- In the Freezer: Store stollen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- candied lemon peel
- candied orange peel
For the Dough
- Add to the bowl 3 cups of your bread flour, egg, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- While the dough is resting, create two rectangular forms with tin foil and place them on a sheet of parchment paper, these will help the stollen bread to keep it’s shape while baking. If you have stollen bread forms you can use those.
- When dough has doubled in size, dump out onto a lightly floured surface and pound to degas. Fold in your fruit and nut mixture, straining out any excess juice beforehand. Work the dough until the fruit and nut mixture is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Allow the dough to rest, covered in the bowl for another 10 minutes.
- Dump the dough back onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into two equal halves. Stretch each half into a rectangle and set aside. Take your almond paste and roll into a rectangle between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut the almond paste rectangle in half and place one on each rectangle of dough, slightly off to one side.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and brush with melted butter, once the loaves have cooled a bit, dust each one generously with powdered sugar.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
christstollen, stollen, stollen bread
- : Stollen dough is not particularly sweet, so most of the sweetness comes from a rum-soaked dried fruit mixture. Traditionally, raisins, currants, candied orange peel (Orangeat) and candied lemon peel (Zitronat) are used. In addition, I like to include dried apricots for extra flavour. If you don’t like candied citrus peel, replace it with other dried fruit.
- Flour and sugar: Plain or all-purpose flour and white sugar are best in this recipe.
- In Germany, we often use fresh yeast for baking, but dried yeast will work just as well. If you are using fresh yeast, you’ll need 21g or half a cube for this recipe.
- Like many breads and sweets from Medieval times, Stollen has plenty of spices. Common spices used are cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. You can mix and match to suit what you have on hand.
- Sliced or slivered almonds add a lovely crunch to the finished product.
- Marzipan adds richness and moistness to Stollen, which can sometimes be a little dry without it.
- Stollen is always coated in a thick layer of powdered sugar or icing sugar before slicing and serving.
Making Stollen is much more straightforward than you may think. There is only a little hands-on time, as most of the cooking time is spent waiting for the dough to rise.
- First, soak your chosen fruit in rum or brandy. For a non-alcoholic version, soak the fruit in orange or apple juice.
- Next, make a simple enriched dough. It’s easiest to use a stand mixer with the dough hook attached for this as the dough is very wet and soft. If you don’t have a stand mixer, roll up your sleeves and use a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon to stir the dough instead. Free workout!
- After allowing the dough an hour or so to rise (all that butter makes the yeast *very* sleepy), roll the dough out to a large oval. Top it with marzipan and fold the dough into the classic Stollen shape.
- When the dough has been shaped, it needs to rise for another half an hour, then baked until golden brown. After baking, brush the Stollen generously with melted butter, sprinkle over plenty of sugar and allow to cool.
- While Stollen can be eaten within a day or two, like Christmas cake, it is best if left to mature for a week or two before eating.
What is Stollen?
Stollen is a traditional German bread baked at Christmas (Christstollen). This fruity bread is packed with dried fruit, candied citrus peel and (sometimes) marzipan.
Stollen is brushed with melted butter while still warm from the oven then covered with a dusting of powdered sugar. It tastes absolutely divine and actually gets even more delicious as it matures.
By the way, Stollen is supposed to symbolize baby Jesus in his swaddling clothes – hence the name Christstollen.
There are many varieties of Stollen – this dense cake-like yeast bread has been around for centuries after all! I discovered Stollen as a student on my visits to Germany and it remains one of my absolutely favorite Christmas recipes.
What goes into Stollen
Stollen is made with all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, ground almonds and enriched with milk, butter, eggs, rum, dried fruit, orange zest, candied citrus peel, vanilla and warming spices.
I love adding marzipan (almond paste) into my Stollen but you can make it without if you are not a fan!
The finishing touches are butter and powdered sugar (or “sweet snow” to quote my son). Stollen bread is meant to be wrapped and left to mature before sharing making it the perfect make-ahead Christmas recipe.
Yes! This is a very rich dough, meaning the yeast has to work hard to make it rise. The finished product should be dense and a little more fruit cake-like than anything else, so don’t worry too much if it isn’t light and fluffy.
Can Stollen be frozen?
Yes, though it can make it a little dry. As long as the baked loaf is wrapped and stored in a cool place, you should have several weeks of shelf life.
Can I make Stollen without marzipan?
Yes. However, it adds moisture to the bread, so I recommend making it with marzipan.
Why is Stollen Eaten at Christmas?
With names like (“Weihnachten” is a German word for Christmas Eve), it’s no surprise that stollen is consumed during the holiday season. The question is, how did it become associated with the holidays?
The accounts vary about when it originated: some sources claim that the oldest stollen bread was baked in Dresden in 1329 as an offering to the Bishop of Nauruburg (there are records of sweet raisin bread at a monastery near Leipzig in Naumburg dated with the year 1330).
Others that it’s an entire century (and then some) younger, first being baked in early 1400 during the Advent season.
Apparently, the stollen was supposed to be a religious treat (the story about flattering the visiting Bishop does sound believable when we consider this detail). What is it supposed to symbolize? There are two versions that I could find:
The first, and the more famous version, claims that the stollen bread symbolizes baby Jesus Christ swaddled in white cloth (hence the powdered sugar covering the bread).
The second and lesser-known one claims that the stollen symbolizes not the baby Jesus himself but the camel carrying the gifts for Christ when he was born. The humps on the top of the loaf represent the camel’s humps, while the candied fruits and nuts represent the gifts the camel was carrying.
Either way, one thing is clear: whether it was the result of political flattery or not, the bread was designed as a symbol of the healing Christ’s birth bought upon the world.
Stollen Before and After “The Butter Debacle”
Despite the actual date of its origin remaining a mystery, one thing is clear about stollen bread: the original version just wasn’t very good. See, it was made during the Advent season, when Christians kept strict fasts, so using ingredients like milk, butter, and eggs was a big no-no. All the more if you were baking a flattering gift for a visiting Bishop.
Apparently, the proto-stollen bread baked during the Advent season was made with just flour, oats, and water. Thus it was hard and largely tasteless. To give it a better texture and a bit of extra flavor, the bakers added yeast, candied peels, and raisins (eventually creating the bread served to the Bishop of Nauruburg), but the improvement was slight.
The bakers quickly discovered that the one thing that make stollen bread feel and taste better was fat – a generous helping of it. There was just one problem: the only fast-approved fat they had access to was oil sourced from plants, and oil was expensive
I know, I had trouble believing it too when I read it, but 15th-century Saxony was very different from 21st-century America. Between plant-based oil and all-natural butter, it was the latter that was more easily and cheaply available. Unfortunately, it was an animal-based product and thus strictly prohibited from being used and consumed during the Advent season (because, again, the Church was pretty strict about proper faithful Christians holding strict fasts during the period).
So they were at an impasse: the bakers and the Church. Saxon bakers needed access to butter to make Christmas stollen bread that would be good, and Church wasn’t about to allow breaking fast for something as base as having enjoyable bread. It was time to involve the big guns.
The Pope (Nicholas V, at the time) denied the appeal. But the Saxon royals weren’t about to take the denial lying down. And thus began, what I imagine to be, the most polite yet relentless food fight: Saxon Princes were appealing to the Popes over and over for the right to use butter, and the Popes kept denying it with the same fervor.
It took forty years and five Popes until finally, in 1490, Pope Innocent VIII sent a letter to Prince Elector Frederick III (son of Ernst) that was basically: “fine, alright, you can use butter, but only for a certain price.” Well, the certain price for everyone else in Saxony: they had to pay 1/20 of a gold Gulden, with the funds going to the Freiberg Minster. The Prince-Elector, his family, and his household could use the butter for free (I suspect the Pope was really tired of getting the Prince’s letters at this point and him up to forgo further arguments about the subject if you know what I mean).
The Pope’s letter came to be known as the “Butter Letter.” The fine for using butter was finally removed when Saxony became Protestant (Lutheran) in the 17th century.
More German Christmas recipes
Try some of my other favourite German Christmas recipes like Spitzbuben Cookies or Vanillekipferl!
How to serve Stollen
Before serving, dust Stollen generously with a thick coating of powdered or icing sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut slices and serve with a cup of coffee or a mug of warming Glühwein.
Check out Yummy Bazaar’s Stollen & Gingerbread Assortment for More Traditional German Christmas Treats
Yummy Bazaar hosts one of the largest German Christmas food assortments online, including a carefully curated selection of Stollen and Gingerbread cookies, from classic candied fruit and nut-filled log-shaped cakes to more novel marzipan-filled stollen bites to festively shaped Lebkuchen cookies to gorgeously decorated gift tins. Add a traditional German flair to your Christmas spread, get a thoughtful gift for a loved one who loves winter holidays, or pamper yourself with delicious sweet snacks: you’re bound to find something for all these purposes and more! All it’ll take is a few minutes of your time – simply stock your cart, and Yummy Bazaar will deliver it all ASAP, right to your doorstep!
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
Place the dried fruit in a bowl and add the rum. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave the fruit to soak overnight.
Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan or the microwave until the milk is barely warm and butter starts to melt. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and orange zest.
Add the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour and beat on low speed with an electric hand mixer fitted with dough hooks or a stand mixer. Increase the speed and miix until the dough starts to come away from the edges of the bowl, about five minutes.
Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes then beat in the soaked dry fruit and citrus peel. You can also mix the fruit in by hand if you like.
Cover the bowl and place someplace warm to rise for 90 minutes or until it has risen visibly. The dough will not quite double in size like bread dough does.
Lightly dust your worktop with flour and turn the dough onto it. Cut into two pieces and roll each into a little ball. Roll or press each ball into an oval shape. Roll the marzipan into a log the length of the oval.
HOW TO SHAPE STOLLEN
Make a dent on the left hand side of the oval (off-center) with a rolling pin and place the marzipan in the little trough. Make a dent on the right hand side and fold over to encase the marzipan.Tuck the ends under. Use your hands to press on the Stollen to shape it so that it has a little “hump” right off center. Shape the second loaf.
Cover the stollen loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for an hour. Pick any dried fruit that sit on top of the loaves off as they might burn.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) towards the end of the second rise and bake for 30-35 minutes. Brush the warm stollen with melted butter and dust liberally with powdered sugar to cover. Leave to cool completely.
If you can, wrap the loaves tightly with plastic wrap and foil and leave them to mature for up to two weeks before sharing. Alternatively you can freeze for up to two months.
German Stollen Recipe
- 125g (4.5 oz.) raisins or sultanas
- 50g (1.75 oz.) currants
- 50g (1.75 oz.) candied peel, diced
- 50g (1.75 oz.) dried apricots, diced
- 50ml (3-4 Tbsp) rum
For the Stollen dough
- 300g (2 ½ cups) plain or all-purpose flour
- 50g (1/4 cup) sugar
- 7g (1 sachet) active dry yeast
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 125ml (1/2 cup) milk, lukewarm
- 125g (1 stick + 1 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 50g (1.75 oz.) sliced almonds
- 150g (5.25 oz.) marzipan
- 30g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 100g (¾ cup) powdered or icing sugar
- SOAK THE FRUIT: Up to 2 days and at least 1 hour before baking, stir together the fruit and rum in a small container. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed.
- MAKE THE DOUGH: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment fitted, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and spices. Add the milk, butter, egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest and knead for 5 minutes until you have a smooth dough. (See notes)
- ADD THE FRUIT: Drain the fruit of any liquid and add the bowl along with the almonds. Mix until combined, then use lightly floured hands to knead into a smooth ball. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours.
- SHAPE THE DOUGH: When the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a long oval. Shape the marzipan into a long sausage shape, and lay it along one side of the dough. Fold the dough over the top, pressing down with the side of your hand to seal the join. Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- HEAT THE OVEN: While the Stollen rises for the second time, heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
- BAKE: When the dough has risen, bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until dark golden brown. You can test the dough with a wooden skewer to ensure it is cooked through.
- BRUSH WITH BUTTER: Immediately after taking the Stollen out of the oven, brush all over with the melted butter, then sprinkle over the white sugar. Allow to cool completely.
- WRAP: While Stollen can be consumed immediately, like Christmas cake, it is best if left to mature for at least 1 week. Wrap well in foil and plastic wrap or freezer bags and store in a cool place. Before serving, dust generously with powdered sugar.
Stollen dough is quite wet and sticky. If it is very liquid, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Storage and keeping: Well wrapped and in a cool place, Stollen should keep for 2-3 weeks.
Imperial and cup measurements are approximate. For best and most accurate results I use and recommend a digital kitchen scale like the one below.
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- Stollen is usually shaped so it has a little “bump”. While this is traditional it doesn’t affect the taste in any way.
- You can leave the marzipan out if you like.
- Storing the stollen allows the taste to mature and the wonderful aromas of the fruit, rum and spices to intensify.
YOU WILL ALSO LIKE
For the dried Fruit
- all-purpose / plain
- rapid rise yeast
- (100g) ground almonds or almond flour
- (200g) candied citrus peel orange and lemon
- divided in half (optional)
For coating and spinkling
- Place the dried fruit in a bowl and add the rum. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave the fruit to soak overnight.
- Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan or the microwave until the milk is barely warm and butter starts to melt. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and orange zest.
- Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes then beat in the soaked dry fruit and citrus peel. You can also mix the fruit in by hand if you like.
- Cover the bowl and place someplace warm to rise for 90 minutes or until it has risen visibly. The dough will not quite double in size like bread dough does, it remains a bit dense.
Shape the stollen
- Lightly dust your worktop with flour and turn the dough onto it. Cut into two pieces and roll each into a little ball.
- Roll or press each ball into an oval shape. Roll the marzipan into a log the length of the oval.
- Make a dent on the left hand side of the oval (off-center) with a rolling pin and place the marzipan in the little trough. Make a dent on the right hand side and fold over to encase the marzipan.Tuck the ends under. Use your hands to press on the Stollen to shape it so that it has a little “hump” right off center. Shape the second loaf.
- Cover the stollen loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for an hour. Pick any dried fruit that sit on top of the loaves off as they might burn.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) towards the end of the second rise and bake for 30-35 minutes. Brush the warm stollen with melted butter and dust liberally with powdered sugar to cover. Leave to cool completely.
- If you can, wrap the loaves tightly with plastic wrap and foil and leave them to mature for up to two weeks before sharing. Alternatively you can freeze for up to two months.
Likely the most famous German Christmas food, stollen or , is a dense cake-like sweet bread straddled with various ingredients like candied or dried fruit, nuts, spices, and rum-softened raisins, sultanas, or currants.
The most basic stollen bread is made with yeast, water, and flour, but over the years, it’s become common to enrich the dough with ingredients like butter, milk, egg, vanilla extract, and rum. Modern stollen is almost always very heavily spiced, with cinnamon and cardamom considered essential additions.
Interestingly enough, the dough tends to be low in sugar (and some bakeries skip it altogether), as the bakers consider the sweetness of raisins, marzipan, candied fruit, and peel to be more than enough.
Usually, stollen is shaped like a large log (4.4 lbs being considered the traditional weight), but modern manufacturers play around with not only the weight, with smaller logs becoming more and more popular, but form as well, with small stollen “bites” and individual slices becoming more and more common.
Stollen is an enriched yeast bread with dried fruit and often marzipan. This baked treat from Germany is rich and moist, a little like a cross between a traditional Christmas cake and a fruit bread.
Stollen is always served at Christmas time, and baking a loaf has become a favourite holiday tradition in my home.
Fun fact: At the annual Stollen festival, the bakers of Dresden bake a giant Stollen weighing over three tonnes!
How to store Stollen
Stollen should be wrapped in foil and then stored in an airtight container in a cool place until you are ready to serve it.
The Different Types of Stollen
At first glance, it may seem like a stollen is a stollen, regardless of the ingredients used. Similarly to how panettone is a panettone, irrespective of what fruits and nuts are used to enrich its dough, whether it’s filled with cream or not, whether it’s covered with chocolate or dusted with powdered sugar, and so on.
But Germans are apparently far stricter with their classification than Italians have ever been with their panettone and pandoro. While a whole lot of different ingredients can be used to flavor stollen, each of them transforms the bread into an entirely separate variety. And not only that but for each variety to qualify as a genuinely authentic German stollen, the ingredients should be used at strict proportions:
(ger. “almond stollen”) is an almond-filled stollen. For a stollen to qualify as a Mandelstollen, it’s not enough to simply add a handful of almonds to the dough. A stollen is only a Mandelstollen if it contains no less than 44 lbs of almonds per 220 lbs of flour.
(ger. “nut stollen”) is a stollen filled with hazelnuts, walnuts, or a blend of two. Similar to Mandelstollen, a stollen only qualifies as a Nussstollen if the proportions are kept at no less than 44 lbs of nuts per 220 lbs of flour. Instead of adding the crushed nuts to the dough outright, they’re mixed with sugar, milk, and (sometimes) egg whites to form a sweet paste, which is then spread atop the dough. Nussstollen is considered a Bavarian specialty. Sometimes, instead of being shaped like a classic log, the dough is cut and crossed to form a twist.
(ger. “poppy seed stollen”) is relatively less known outside Germany, though it seems to be increasing in popularity from year to year. Like the Nussstollen filling, the poppy seeds are mixed with other ingredients like milk, sugar, and honey to form a sweet paste, then spread atop the stollen dough. Unlike Nusstollen, Mohnstollen isn’t formed into a twist.
(ger. “marzipan stollen”) is likely the most famous stollen variety after the classic candied fruit and nut-filled one. The marzipan is most commonly added to the center of the dough, either shaped into a small log itself (called “rope”) or as a thick sheet with the dough then wrapped around it. The stollen must contain no less than 5% of its weight in marzipan to qualify as a Marzipanstollen. Unlike most other stollen varieties, Marzipanstollen allows for substituting the more expensive almond marzipan for the lesser quality persipan. Persipan is a marzipan-like soft and chewy confectionery made with apricot or peach kernels. The kernels are detoxified before being used for persipan.
(ger. “butter stollen”) is similar to the classic stollen bread but uses higher amounts of butter, candied fruits, and nuts. An authentic Butterstollen must contain a minimum of 88 lbs of butter, with around 150 lbs of almonds and dried or candied fruits per 220 lbs of flour.
(ger. “curd stollen”) is another lesser-known variety, especially outside its native Germany. It’s a stollen made with cottage cheese or quark. Authentic Quarkstollen requires using around 88 lbs of quark and 44 lbs of butter per 220 lbs of flour.
is the seminal stollen variety, the one known best both in Germany and outside its borders. It’s the only stollen variety under a protected status, with the EU having granted it a protected geographic indication) scheme. As with most status-protected foods, Dresden Stollen is beholden to strict recipe guidelines and calls for a precise ratio of crucial ingredients.