Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stollen~A Christmas Tradition

Stollen is a German bread filled with fruit, usually candied and/or dried and is covered with icing sugar or confectioners' sugar.  For as far back as I can remember, my mother made Stollen every year on Christmas Eve--eight loaves.  Two for our family, two for dear friends of theirs, one for our family doctor and one for the family dentist...always.  My dad had the chore of being the delivery service! I loved helping my mother in the kitchen,  even as small as it was. She was so productive in their tiny kitchen during the holidays and we made so many special memories together that I hold dear.

My mother's Stollen was filled with candied fruit and almonds, then decorated with a glaze.  Then, I would create candied cherry flowers on the top with an almond in the middle.  After I was married, my family didn't necessary like the candied fruit, so a few years ago I made a big change and went with dried fruit.  However, so it doesn't dry out, the dried fruit is soaked in brandy for 7-12 hours!  Also, instead of a glaze, I use an ingredient called "glazing sugar" which is what is used on powdered sugar donuts; it doesn't soak into the dough and keeps that while snowy look.  One more addition came from my research on Stollen and that was the addition of almond paste in the center.  Today, I even made homemade almond paste; this is a very special tradition that I will continue to do with my Stollen each year.

Christmas Stollen

3 cups dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, raisins, currants)
1/3 cup brandy (or you can used orange juice)
Cover the bowl and allow the fruit to set for 7-12 hours)

1/2 cup warm water (about 110F-degrees)
1 T instant dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
In a 1 cup glass measure, whisk the yeast into the water and allow to set until foamy--about 5 to 7 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough attachment, measure:
3 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dry milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground mace
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
1 T grated lemon or orange zest

Add the proofed yeast and an additional 1/4-1/2 cup of water and mix until dough comes together.  Turn out onto a bread board and knead until smooth.  Place dough right-side-down in a buttered large bowl, then turn over.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise in a warm place, 60 to 90 minutes.  You need to lightly toast about 1/2 cup of almonds.  Chop the almonds and set aside.

In the meantime, if you want to add almond paste to the center of the bread as I did you can buy a 7 oz. tube or make your own.

1 1/2 cups almond flour (you can grind your own, using blanched almonds, but I brought the flour)
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1 large egg white (don't worry, eggs are pasteurized)

In a food processor blend all the ingredients together, pulsing.  Turn the paste out on a board and knead slightly to form a smooth ball.  You will need 3/4 cup for the bread, but any remaining will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

To assemble the Stollen:

Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out.  Sprinkle the drained fruit and almonds over the surface and roll up.  Knead the fruit and nuts into the dough.  Divide into three pieces and shape each piece into an oval, about 8" x 6".

Divide the almond paste into three pieces and roll each piece into a 7-inch rope.

Place one piece of almond paste down the center of each oval, and fold dough over it lengthwise, leaving the top each of the dough just shy of the bottom edge.  Press the top edge firmly and seal in the almond paste into the dough.

Repeat with the remaining two pieces.  Place the loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover them lightly and let them rise an additional 45 to 60 minutes, until puffy.
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees with a rack in the upper third of the oven.  Bake the stollen for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and its internal temperature reads 190F-degrees on a digital thermometer.
Remove the stollen from the oven and brush the loaves with melted butter.  After 5 minutes, dust with  glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar.  You can also prepare a glaze of 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 T light Karo syrup, and 1-2 T hot water.

Transfer to a rack and cool completely.  Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  Freeze for longer storage.
Wishing all my friends and followers a very merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.


  1. Stollen is so delicious and the great thing about making your own is you can, as you did with the candied fruit, adjust it to your own preferences. I omit candied peel in mine.
    Nadolig Llawen! Deborah

    1. sona Nollag! I only used the zest of the orange because my family doesn't like the chunks of peel😉

  2. This is a classic! Richer and tastier with marzipan roll :-))
    Have a merry and peaceful Christmas, Susan!

  3. That looks fabulous! I will have to give it a try. My favorite Christmas memory is mom's overnight rolls. They are the best caramel cinnamon rolls ever. I try to recreate it, but somehow it is never the same.

  4. I accidentally hit send before I wished you a very Merry Christmas!

    1. Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

  5. I've never had this type of bread. looks wonderful.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family.
    stamping sue

  6. That looks like a very special bread. It so happens that I have some of the sort of fruit your mother would have used so this would be a good way to get rid of it. Ha! I hope that your Christmas was blessed and that your New Year will be better than you can even imagine.

    1. Happiest of New Year to you, my friend, XOXO

  7. Hello Dear Susan. Wishing you a warm and wonderful new year of life! Your stollen looks luscious. There's a bakery around here that sells it at Christmas time. The owner used to live in Europe (The Netherlands, I think.) Thank you so much for your visits, Susan. I agree with you. 2016 had some very difficult and unpleasant happenings that could continue in 2017. (I'm a little discouraged thinking about it all myself.) But we must persevere and carry on, right? Susan

  8. Hello, I just found your blog and I love to be inspired to bake and to be a home baker... I hope to visit again soon to see what you got cooking!
    Blessings, Roxy