Stollen

Stollen

Yeah, I like to bake during the holidays. And every year I make stollen. It’s a dense, sweet German fruited bread, yeast-risen although some refer to it as a cake. The best thing about it is ease of shaping – you pat the dough into a rough oval, fold it over itself (and a log of marzipan, if you like), brush with a little beaten egg for a glossy sheen, and bake it until it’s deep golden. Then you get to shower it with icing sugar from a shaker or through a sieve, which is one of my favourite things. And no matter how wonky you think you’ve made it, it always comes out looking (and smelling) awesome.

Stollen 5

Use any kind of dried fruit, but make sure it’s moist, or it will suck the moisture out of the dough—if your raisins are like little dried-out pebbles, cover them with hot water, tea or even booze and let them sit until they plump up a bit, then drain well before adding to the dough. (You don’t want them too soft, or they’ll break apart as you knead them in.) Stollen is supposed to be dense, on account of all that butter and fruit weighing it down, making it tough for the yeast to do its job. If you want your stollen a little lighter, let the dough rise on its own for an hour or two, then punch it out and add the fruit, folding the dough over it and gently kneading it in.

Stollen 4

When I’m really on the ball, which to date has only been one Christmas, I mix up a bunch of loaves, let them rise overnight (the dough is heavy enough that it won’t overdo it, but you can stick it in the fridge to slow it down too), brush and bake them on Christmas eve, then wrap them in new tea towels and deliver them to some of my favourite people. I should say I’ve done this once, but in my head it’s something I imagine I’ll do every year.

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But it’s enough to mix up a loaf for ourselves, to keep on the countertop to nibble and slice for toast during the week leading up to Christmas.

Stollen
Stollen

Stollen

Recipe link

  

December 21, 2017

Ingredients

1 cup milk, warmed

2 tsp active dry yeast

3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter, grated (if it’s cold) or cut into pieces

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

grated zest of half a lemon or orange (optional)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries

1/4 cup sliced almonds or coarsely chopped pecans

1 log marzipan, rolled out to the length of the loaf (optional)

1 egg, lightly beaten

icing sugar, for dusting

Directions

1Put the milk into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast overtop. Let stand for 5 minutes, until it’s foamy. Add 3 cups of the flour along with the butter, sugar, egg, lemon or orange zest and vanilla. Stir until the dough comes together, and continue to knead, or mix with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer, until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed (you’ll likely need 3 1/2 cups). It should be tacky, but not sticky—add more flour if it’s sticking to your hands. It will smooth out and become less tacky as it sits. If you have time, cover and let it rise for 1-2 hours before adding the fruit.

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3Add the dried fruit and nuts by patting out the dough, piling on the fruit and folding the dough over itself a few times to incorporate them. Shape into a ball and place it back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let stand in a warm place for another hour.

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5On a parchment-lined sheet, pat the dough into a rough circle about 8 inches in diameter and fold about half of the dough over itself, as if you were starting to fold a letter. (Put a log of marzipan inside the fold, if you like.) Cover with a tea towel and let stand in a warm place until the dough looks a bit puffy but not doubled, about 30 minutes. As it rises, preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the loaf with beaten egg and bake for 30 minutes, or until deep golden.

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7Shower with a generous amount of icing sugar while the bread is still warm. Makes 1 loaf.

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9 comments on “Stollen

  1. Paula J Kanenberg
    December 21, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I have always been told this bread is the meaning of Christmas, as it represents Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

  2. Brenda
    December 21, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Love your comment about how you have only been organized enough to do this one Christmas — it should be called, “the time of the year with the best of intentions…” This is definitely my reality too.

    Anyway, in the photo above of the cut, finished stollen, is the marzipan in there? Does it just melt into the loaf? Curious about that. I am going to make this for sure — in fact, I have a batch of your gooey cinnamon buns in my freezer, ready to rise and bake on Christmas morning — so I know without a doubt that this recipe will be a winner. Thanks Julie! Keep those awesome recipes coming in 2018.

    • Paula J Kanenberg
      December 21, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      I do not see any marzipan in the photo, but it does say it is optional, so perhaps it was opted for not this time. It will be interesting to see if it was added and where it is in the photo, as any marzipan I have used, ever, was not melting into the dough, but a true visible line.

      • Julie
        December 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

        Yep, the marzipan won’t melt into the dough, but remain a circle of marzipan in each slice!

    • Julie
      December 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Nope, no marzipan – I’m not a fan. And yay to cinnamon buns on Christmas morning!

  3. Carolyn
    December 22, 2017 at 3:51 am

    I hadn’t planned to make stollen this year but then decided it wouldn’t be Christmas without it. One of my favourite recipes is from King Arthur flour is stollen bites – kinda like stollen tidbits! Probably any stollen recipe could be turned into these yummy bites.

    • Julie
      December 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Oooh, brilliant!

  4. Wendy
    December 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you for a year of wonderful, yummy recipes. Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!

  5. Susan Kahn
    December 28, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    I have to let you know I made this wonderful bread and I am still enjoying it. It’s good toasted! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

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