German Christmas Stollen Recipe by The Spruce Eats
Submitted by: Grace Wagner Issue: Set to Appear in the December 2020 Edition
Food has the power to draw communities closer together, and almost at times, seems to be the center of every gathering, celebration or outing, from a funeral to a birthday party or a picnic. Every culture has their own recipes for home-cooked dishes, and Germany is no exception. My great grandfather immigrated from Germany by crossing the ocean by boat in the early 1920’s at the age of 19 to pass through Ellis Island and reach the new world. He started a new life in America as a jeweler, but when the great depression hit, he became a baker.
My Dad tells me that my great grandfather always had cookies in his oven around Christmas time, and baked loaves of a sweet German bread called Stollen to give as gifts to his family and friends during the Holiday season. Stollen is a delicious bread loaded with raisins and candied fruits and can be served with a drizzle of powdered sugar icing or a dusting of powdered sugar. Unlike other types of bread, stollen gets better as it sits out, so I like to make my stollen several weeks in advance of Christmas and wrap it in foil in a zip-lock bag and put it on top of my fridge. If you have leftover stollen after Christmas day and you would like to save some, you can put it in a zip-lock bag and freeze it for later use. While Stollen is a dessert bread, I love to eat slices of Stollen after the fast ends for breakfast with a cup of eggnog on the side.
While my family is not in possession of my great grandfather’s Stollen recipe, we found another recipe from The Spruce Eats that has helped us keep the Stollen-making tradition alive. Perhaps you would like to make it a holiday tradition in your family as well!
1 cup/175 grams raisons (dark and golden)
1/4 cup/50 grams lemon peel (candied)
1/8 cup/25 grams orange peel (candied)
1/3 cup/50 grams almonds (blanched, peeled, chopped)
2 ounces/50 milliliters dark rum
1 envelope yeast, 7 g. (or 1-gram cake of yeast)
1/2 cup/125 milliliters milk (warm)
1/3 cup/50 grams sugar (white granulated; plus 1 pinch)
4 cups flour (bread or all-purpose)
1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract)
2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (ground)
7/8 cup/200 grams butter (sweet, unsalted; 14 tablespoons)
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)
- Soak raisins, candied fruit, and almonds in rum overnight, stirring occasionally. Note: This step may be omitted if the baker desires to omit the rum.
- Dissolve yeast in warm milk and a pinch of sugar. Proof for 10 minutes, or until bubbles form.
- Mix flour, egg, yeast mixture, sugar, lemon peel and salt with a spoon or in a stand mixer using the dough hook for several minutes. The dough should just come together and not be very smooth yet. Remove from bowl and set aside while you do the next step.
- Cream the butter and 2/3 cup flour with the nutmeg and cardamom until smooth. Add the yeast dough back to the bowl and work the dough with a dough hook or by hand until the butter and flour mixture is completely incorporated. This should yield a smooth dough.
- Let dough rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto tabletop or lightly floured board. Knead in fruit and chopped almonds. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Return dough to floured board and form into a rectangle with two high sides and a dip in the middle. Fold 1/3 of the dough over to the middle, filling the dip. Pat into a stollen shape.
- Fold a piece of aluminum foil several time son the two long ends to build walls for your stollen, to help hold its shape while baking. You may also use a stollen pan if you have one.
- Let stollen rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Dot the top of the stollen with butter.
- Bake loaves for 35-45 minutes, or until loaves are golden and done. Cover with foil if it begins to brown too much.
- Brush warm loaf with butter and dust thickly with powdered sugar. Cool on rack.
- Wrap tightly in foil and keep in a cool place for 2 to 3 weeks to ripen.