Stollen

Stollen, a traditional German Christmas bread with a storied history, is a sweet yeast bread studded with dried or candied fruit and marzipan and is far more elegant than the traditional dense loaves of fruitcake. And far lovelier to receive.

A loaf of stollen cut in half, with one slice cut off to show the fruit and marzipan filling.

Few things would be lovelier to receive as a gift at Christmas than a loaf of this traditional German sweet bread known as stollen. And by “few,” we mean damn few things. (Although we wouldn’t say no to a box filled with lebkuchen as well.)

Perhaps consider wrapping this bread with a bow. And maybe even gifting a loaf to yourself.–David Leite


Why our testers loved this

Our testers were incredibly pleased that this Christmas stollen recipe was “easy to make” and that “the filling can be easily adapted to individual tastes.” They also loved that it is a versatile bread that’s perfect for gifting.

Notes on ingredients

  • Rum–this is used to rehydrate the raisins and allows the cake to stay moist during storage. You could substitute brandy, if you prefer.
  • Fresh yeast–Bakeries will often sell fresh yeast to customers, but if you don’t have access to fresh yeast, substitute 1/3 ounce or 9 grams (3 teaspoons) dry yeast.
  • Marzipan–Almond paste can be substituted for the marzipan, if it’s not available.
  • Fruits and nuts–Feel free to substitute your favorite combination of dried fruits and nuts. You can also make your own candied citrus peel, which is generally superior to store-bought.

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the crème d’amande. Beat the butter and sugar together, then mix in the nuts and flour, and finally the eggs and rum. Mix until light and airy.
  2. Make the stollen dough. Combine the flour and yeast, then slowly mix in the milk. Add the butter, sugar, salt, and eggs, and mix until it forms a dough.
  3. Knead the dough. Work the dough until it forms a smooth ball, then let it rest, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Flatten the dough into a square and let it rest while making the filling.
  4. Make the filling. Combine the fruits, nuts, rum, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  5. Assemble the stollen. Spread the filling over the dough, then fold it over on itself a few times to incorporate the filling. Gather it into a ball and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Shape the loaves. Cut the dough into 3 pieces and flatten each one into a rectangle. Top with the crème d’amande and marzipan, then fold up the sides to seal.
  7. Butter 2 or 3 baking sheets. Place the stollen on the prepared sheets, cover, and let them rise until doubled. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  8. Bake the stollen until lightly golden. Melt the butter and mix with the rum to make a glaze. When the stollen are finished baking, brush the loaves with the glaze, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

FAQs

What is stollen?

Stollen is a traditional German Christmas yeast bread that includes dried and candied fruits and nuts and is coated with a rum glaze and finished with confectioners’ sugar. Dresden stollen is the most famous version of the bread, but it is produced throughout Germany during the holidays.

The history of the bread dates back to 1545, when it was originally made as a simple oil and yeast bread, that was quite tasteless and hard. Over time it was changed to include butter, dried fruits, and nuts, which made it much sweeter and lighter than the early versions.

Can I make this in advance?

You can make this bread up to 2 weeks in advance, which makes it a perfect food gift to share with friends and family. Store each loaf tightly wrapped in plastic. You may need to dust with more confectioners’ sugar before serving or sharing.

Can you freeze this bread?

Yes, stollen freezes well for up to 3 months. Wrap cooled loaves individually in plastic and freeze. Thaw at room temperature and dust with more confectioners’ sugar, if needed.

How do you serve stollen?

This bread is typically served at room temperature for breakfast, but it’s just as tasty when toasted and slathered with some butter or topped with cheese.

Helpful tips

  • Before baking, make sure you don’t have any raisins sticking out of the dough, as they may burn during baking. If you do, gently push them into the dough.
  • To reheat stollen, place slices of the bread in the microwave for 10 seconds, or pop them into the toaster.
  • If you freeze your loaves, skip dusting with confectioners’ sugar before freezing, and add it after thawing.

More great Christmas bread recipes

☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Stollen

A loaf of stollen cut in half, with one slice cut off to show the fruit and marzipan filling.
Stollen, a traditional German Christmas bread with a storied history, is a sweet yeast bread studded with dried or candied fruit and marzipan and is far more elegant than the traditional dense loaves of fruitcake. And far lovelier to receive.

Prep 1 hr
Cook 4 hrs 30 mins
Total 5 hrs 30 mins
Breakfast
German
36 servings
313 kcal
5 / 2 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Crust: Bread to Get Your Teeth Into cookbook

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Ingredients 

For the crème d’amande

  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons rum

For the stollen

  • 7 1/2 cups white bread flour plus more for the work surface
  • 2/3 ounce (about 4 level teaspoons) fresh yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, preferably whole at warm room temperature
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter use the wrapper for greasing
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 level teaspoons salt
  • 8 ounces (shelled weight) eggs roughly equivalent to 4 large
  • 1 batch Crème d’Amande
  • 1 1/4 cups natural (uncolored) marzipan cut into small pieces

For the filling

  • 1 1/3 cups golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup glacé cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups candied peel
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 4 tablespoons rum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze

  • 7 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter
  • 2 capfuls rum
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions
 

Make the crème d’amande

  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ground almonds and mix again. Add the flour and continue to mix.
  • Finally, add the eggs, 1 at a time, along with the rum, mixing well between each addition, until the cream is light in consistency, about 8 minutes. (The crème d'amande can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. Let it warm to room temperature before using.)

Make the stollen

  • Place the flour in a large bowl and crumble in the yeast with your fingers. Slowly, a little at a time, mix in the milk. Then add the butter, sugar, salt, and eggs, using a spoon or a plastic scraper to combine everything together.
  • When the mixture starts to come together into a dough, turn it out onto an unfloured work surface.
  • Gently knead the dough by sliding your fingers under the dough, then with your thumbs parallel to your index fingertips, lift it lightly, swing it upwards, slap it back down, away from you, onto your work surface. Stretch the dough forwards and sideways and tuck it in around the edges. Keep repeating this sequence, using your scraper to help you lift the dough from the work surface, until the dough is fairly smooth.
  • Lightly flour your work surface, and then form the stollen dough into a ball. Put it back in the lightly floured bowl, cover with a clean towel, and let it rest at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It may not rise much. That’s okay.
  • Again, lightly flour your work surface. Turn out the dough with the help of your scraper and use your fingertips to flatten it into a rough square shape approximately 12 inches on each side. Let it rest at room temperature while you make the filling.

Make the filling

  • In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients.

To assemble the stollen

  • Spread the filling over the dough (you may not want to use all of it if you like a higher bread-to-filling ratio). Gently fold the dough over itself a few times to fully incorporate the filling. Form the dough into a ball and place it back in the lightly floured bowl to rest for another 30 minutes.
  • Lightly flour the work surface and turn out the dough. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Put each piece of stollen dough, smooth side down, on your lightly floured surface and flatten out with your fingertips into a rectangle roughly 8 by 6 inches.
  • Spread the top of the dough generously with at least half and up to all of the Crème d'Amande and then scatter with some or all of the pieces of the marzipan. (Again, depending on the bread-to-filling ratio you prefer and just how intense an almond experience you like, you can use less than the full amount of Crème d'Amande and marzipan, beginning with half, to create a stollen with more bread and less add-ins, if desired.)
  • Working with 1 stollen at a time, fold 1 of the long sides into the center (over the cream and marzipan filling), then fold the other side over the top and press down all around the edges to seal. Butter 2 or 3 baking sheets.
  • Place the filled stollens, seam side down, on your buttered baking sheets, spacing them quite a distance from one another as they will rise considerably. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until just under double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).
  • Uncover the stollen and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly golden.

Make the glaze

  • Just before the stollen come out of the oven, melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the rum. Remove from the heat.

Glaze the stollen

  • Take the stollen out of the oven and, while still hot, brush the loaves quite heavily with the glaze. Immediately dust it thickly with confectioners sugar. Cool on a wire rack.
Print RecipeBuy the Crust: Bread to Get Your Teeth Into cookbook

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Notes

  1. Storage–Keep the loaves wrapped tightly in plastic at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
  2. Freezing–Stollen can be frozen for up to 3 months. Don’t dust with confectioners’ sugar before freezing. Thaw at room temperature, then coat with the confectioners’ sugar before serving.
  3. Substitutions–Use your favorite combination of dried fruits and nuts for the filling.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 313kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 41g (14%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 55mg (18%)Sodium: 73mg (3%)Potassium: 161mg (5%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 18g (20%)Vitamin A: 287IU (6%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 54mg (5%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This stollen makes a delicious holiday bread. The bread portion is easy to make and the filling amounts were appropriate. The filling can easily be adapted to individual tastes. This stollen is versatile and can be enjoyed in the morning, as a midday snack, or after dinner.

There was a lot of filling! It was good in the finished bread. It took about 4 minutes of kneading to fully incorporate it.

I substituted instant yeast for fresh. It is difficult for me to find fresh yeast and I always have instant.

If I made this again, I would add chopped crystallized ginger to the dough, and also mix granulated sugar with ground ginger and coat the finished loaves with it. (I like ginger!)

This is a fairly time-consuming recipe overall, but much of the time is inactive. The recipe makes 3 large stollen loaves and could also be adapted to make more smaller loaves to be used as gifts. Each large loaf yields about 12 generous slices.

This stollen bread recipe was quite complicated and took quite a long time to make but it was very delicious. I took the liberty of substituting maraschino cherries for the candied cherries and dried mango for the citron, as I really don’t like candied fruit and wanted these stollen to turn out to be good so they would get eaten and enjoyed in our household. (I think many people don’t really care for candied fruit, though I know it’s more the traditional way of making stollen.)

The glaze was delicious, too. I’d never seen a method of glazing like that, but it worked nicely. The whole thing turned out wonderfully.

I worked the dough for 8 minutes. I also added more yeast to the dough after the first 1 1/2 hours of letting the dough rest. It hadn’t risen much at all, and I was concerned that the fresh yeast I’d used wasn’t so fresh after all, and wasn’t going to work.

As a result, the 3 stollen rolls only took about 25 minutes to rise to a little less than double. I baked them for 40 minutes as they seemed like they needed that extra 5 minutes.

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

Comments

  1. I want to make this but what exactly does a ‘batch’ of Crème d’Amande entail? Is there a recipe for this that I can find online that would equal a batch?

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