Stollen

Stollen is one of the most famous of the German Christmas breads. It is made in the autumn and put down to rest for several weeks before you can start eating is at first advent. Stollen will last for months, like English Christmas cake, as it is well preserved by all the high proof rum or brandy. It does not taste alcoholic at all, the alcohol is merely a preservative.

Stollen 3

Stollen

This amazing recipe makes 4 stollens, all about 800 grams – enough for the winter! I do not use marzipan in my stollen, but plenty of people do. Marzipan is optional.
Prep Time 5 hrs
Cook Time 50 mins
Start the day before to soak fruit 12 hrs
Total Time 17 hrs 50 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Germany
Servings 4 Loaves

Ingredients
  

The "soaker"

  • 800 g Raisins
  • 240 g Slivered or "matchstick" almonds
  • 100 g Candied peel
  • 240 ml Rum or brandy (as high an alcohol content as you can find as this preserves the stollen)

The "pre dough"

  • 5 g Instant yeast or 10 g dry yeast or 20 g fresh yeast
  • 260 ml Milk, heated to just below boiling point and let cool completely Heat up 300 and then measure out the 260. Milk has a habit of disappearing when it's heated
  • 10 g Sugar
  • 200 g White wheat plain flour

The "main dough"

  • 800 g White wheat plain flour
  • 130 g Sugar
  • 100 g Lard you can substitute butter if you prefer
  • 260 g Butter you can substitute lard if you want to
  • 20 g Salt
  • 2 Lemons Grated zest only

The decoration

  • 240 g Melted butter
  • 4 tbsp Vanilla sugar you can buy this or you can make this by putting a vanilla pod into a container of sugar a week before you want to bake
  • 16 tbsp Icing sugar/confectioners sugar

Optional

  • 500 g marzipan

Instructions
 

  • Make the soaker and let it sit, covered on the counter for 12-24 hours.
    Learn to make stollen learn to make german christmas cake
  • After the soaking time has elapsed, make the pre-dough a big bowl by whisking together the pre-dough ingredients and letting them sit, covered for at least one hour.
  • Add the main dough ingredients to the pre dough and knead well for 10 minutes by hand or by machine on the lowest setting, and let rest for 30 minutes, covered
  • Pull the dough out of the bowl and add in the soaked fruit and nut mix by squishing, folding, kneading, pleading, begging, picking it off the floor, and "chopping" it in gently with a dough scraper. You have been warned. Make sure your floor is clean. Do not do this in the mixer as you will squish the raisins into brown smears.
    Easy recipe for stollen easy recipe for german christmas cake
  • Let it rest for two hours, covered. It will not exactly rise, there is too much fruit for that, but it will become a bit puffier.
  • Pull the dough out onto a counter that is not floured and, using a knife or scraper, divide it into four equal pieces.
    Learn to bake stollen
  • Gently stretch/pat each piece into a rectangle about the size of a piece of A4/81/2 x 11" paper. It should be about about 2.5 cm/1 inch thick.  At this point, if you are adding marzipan, shape it into thin sausage, no more than 1 inch/2.5 cm in diameter and lay it down the middle of each square.  Fold the right-hand edge of the dough square 2/3 of the way over the dough (and over the marzipan if you have added it) and then fold the left-hand edge all the way over the dough to the right-hand edge.  Like folding a piece of A4 paper (81/2 by 11") for an envelope. 
  • Cut four rectangles of non stick parchment that are twice as wide and ten centimeters (3-4 inches) longer than each piece of shaped stollen. This parchment will be what you use to move the stollen around. It is too fragile, when it comes out of the oven, to pick up without this support.
  • Place each stollen on a separate rectangle and then place them all on a baking tray, with plenty of space between them.
  • Cover the loaves with a tea towel and let the loaves rest while you heat the oven to 250 centigrade.  Put the stollen in and immediately reduce the heat to 180 C. 
  • Bake for 50 minutes. After 30 minutes cover them with huge sheet of baking parchment to prevent the raisins from burning.
  • Remove them from oven and immediately place each loaf carefully on a cooling rack. Brush them with half of the melted butter.  Sprinkle each one with one tablespoon of vanilla sugar. Use a tiny sieve to sift 1 tablespoon of icing sugar over each one then dribble on 125 g more butter. I really do mean dribble. You cannot brush on this last coating of butter or you will brush away the sugar. So, dribble with a spoon. Then, sift the remaining icing sugar over the tops of all of them.
    Stollen with icing sugar 2
  • Let these cool completely (this takes a few hours).
  • Tear four huge pieces of wax/greaseproof/parchment. Place one stollen (using the parchment it is sitting on to move it) in the middle of each piece and wrap them up well. Then, wrap them tightly in aluminium foil.  Store in a cool dry place for 4-6 weeks before eating.
    How to store stollen
Keyword Germany bread, Holiday baking, Sweet bread

68 Replies to “Stollen”

  1. Have set aside some time this weekend to try this recipe, can’t wait. Going to try soaking my fruit mixture in Ginger wine as I don’t have brandy in the house. I wonder if that will work?

    1. Hi Sarah

      No! Wine is too low in alcohol content to preserve the cake. You need 40% alcohol minimum. If you use wine, you will need to eat the cake within a couple of weeks and it won’t be as nice. Just so you know!

  2. Hi there!

    Pretty much finished the recipe as described (thanks for sharing it!).

    Couple of things that I found:

    a) It looked like a lot of fruit in the ingredients (almost as much as the flour) and it is. Is that correct? I followed faithfully and it seems way too much (for instance the fruit in my bread seems at least double what you’re showing in the pictures given above).
    b) The dough was too stiff, even after the fruit and brandy soak had been added. I used a mix of plain flour and strong flour (my usual for ‘cakey’ breads) so I don’t know if that was it – but the mix was, with the amounts given difficult to say the least. I added 50 ml of milk and it was still v. stiff. Roughly (very roughly) I’d always add 250ml of liquid to 500g of flour.

    Would love your feedback. Are the amounts given correct?

    Sorry for a bit of a downer comment.. I’ve followed the website with genuine interest as very keen baker myself and very much support what you’re are doing here.

    Thanks,

    Ol

    1. Hi Ol, this is not a downer comment at alll, thank you for following a recipe and for coming back with concerns. It’s important to know if I have made a mistake. In this case, however, there is no mistake. The amount of fruit is correct and yes it is a challenge to get it all in, but it does go (after the raisins try to make a run for it onto the floor a few times). The mixture will be sticky and cakey. Sometimees the best thing to do is to knead in everything as best you can except the fat and then add the fat as the VERY LAST thing and knead it it – like a brioche. This mixture takes a good 10-15 minutes of kneading for the butter to do its transformational thing – as all bread with high fat content does. After that it really does become like chewing gum. I understand your ratios and, in fact, my bread is wetter than that (300-350 ml liquid to 500 ml flour) but remember, fat counts like a liquid so you have the milk + butter + lard = 600 grams of “liquid” for 1 kg of flour plus all the fruit which is plenty liquid! I am sorry this did not work out for you. If you ever want to try again, try the “fat at the very end” trick, knead it in by hand, and I am sure you will find a difference. Please let me know if you do.

      Kind regards, Jane

  3. I just got back from Berlin where I tried some stollen (without marzipan, I might add, can’t imagine it with it. Does it melt in?). I feel in love with it and this looks like the most trustworthy recipe on the internet…
    Anyway, I’m a keen baker but have never ventured into bread much and was wondering how this recipe would work using a dough hook instead of hand kneading. If I could have a time/speed guide that would be fantastic. Mine is a bosh that goes from 1-4, one being slow, 4 very very fast.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Jamila

      thanks for the message. The marzipan does not melt in, curiously – it stays in a sausage in the middle of the loaf. Although it is soft, it is mostly ground almond and icing sugar so it’s not really melty. I use a mixer most of the time (because I bake so much bread!) and I always knead bread on the slowest speed and for the same amount of time as the recipe calls for for hand kneading (ie 10 mins, etc). When you do stollen by hand you may need to add a fraction more milk simply because you don’t have the heat of your hands to melt the lard so don’t worry if you have to pop in a bit more milk to make a pliable dough. It should not be soft – that is not its nature – but it should be pliable. Good luck! Make it now for easter and send photos!

  4. Hi there!
    Preparing to get ahead for Christmas with your stollen recipe, just wanted to check – should the flour be common or garden white plain flour or strong flour?
    Thanks in advance!
    Charlotte

    1. Dear Charlotte

      Regular flour will do just fine! And if it is quite dry, just add a drop (drop!) of milk – it’s not an easy “knead”. When it comes to the fruit – be patient! It’s hard to get in all the raisins and they keep popping out and flying on the floor. It really does all go in – just work at it and if you have one, just use a scraper to work them all in!

  5. Found this recipe through a few Pinterest clicks. I’m interested in making this for our family Christmas dessert exchange (everyone brings enough of whatever they make for each person to receive a recipe of and take home for their family and friends to enjoy), but I have a few questions 1st.
    Are you speaking of an all-purpose white flour? I’m in the states and I’m unfamiliar with garden white and common flour.
    Is it the alcohol that keeps the bread from molding? Seems like that would be my biggest concern- molding bread before it’s ready to serve, especially if it’s not refrigerated (which is not what you are recommending, correct?)
    Thanks in advance!!

    1. Hi Jenn

      all purpose flour is perfectly fine and yes it is the alcohol that keeps it (like a christmas cake). You really do have to make it soon! In Germany they have finished baking them (amazingly) ready for sale on 1 advent. Don’t worry – just wrap it up and keep it in a cupboard and it will be perfect. Jane

  6. Hello – we have just cut into my first ever loaf of homemade stollen and it was delicious. I do not like shop bought as too hard and dry but this was lovely. I am a fan or marzipan so I added it but as a sheet on top before folding so it was throughout the stollen not a log, not traditional I know but worked well for us, also used 80% rum from Austria which really added to the flavour as well as keeping properties. thanks for sharing, now I have another thing to add to my Christmas baking schedule ever year. Going to give one as a gift to my neighbour who is half German, I am that confident that it is a stollen to be proud of.

    1. That is just brilliant news! It’s just AMAZING how good it is, isn’t it! I am also SO PLEASED that you put in marzipan (one should do what one loves, afterall) and the austrian rum sounds amazing (note to self to get some next time I am in Austria!). Thank you for writing!

  7. Am just looking at the Stollen recipe and as a novice to yeast baking am wondering if this would be as successful if I scale down by half to make 2 loaves just in case I mess up with the first bake!!??

  8. Have just read one of the posts re making 6 weeks in advance of eating and hadn’t realised this was necessary? What is the minimum time to store before eating? All other recipes I have looked at state keeps well for several days if wrapped correctly? Thank you.

    1. Hi Sandra

      if you hurry you can just about get away with it. Stollen (as you will see when you make it) is very very fragile when just baked. You could never slice it, it would just fall apart. The alcohol preserves it which is why it needs alcohol and why the alcohol has to be high proof. Do it soon and you wil have perfect stollen for christmas. When you buy stollen in Germany from one of the famous Dresden bakers it comes with instructions!

    1. SPLENDID!!!!! let me know! Mine are also sleeping nicely in the cupboard. Once I made them in the prison where I volunteer only to find out they have no tin foil. It’s a banned substance in prisons (I guess you can use it to make a weapon or a crack pipe). So we had to wrap it in wax paper and hope for the best. Actually, it was fine!

  9. Great to find a recipe that calls for storing the stollen. So many of them are ‘instant’.
    How much marzipan should I use?

    1. now, there’s a question. I have never measured but what you do is make a “sausage” out of the marzipan that is as long as your stollen and about 3 cm in diameter. Then you fold the edges of the square of stollen dough over it (one side over the other) to bake.

  10. Hi,

    I’ve been making stollen for a number of years (with the forbidden egg!) but have always been slightly disappointed with the less than authentic result. I am trying your recipe this year (slightly adapted for my Thermomix) as, from my own research, it seems very traditional. One concern is the butter coating then being left on the loaf for 6+ weeks; does the addition of the icing sugar when cold ascot as the preserving agent?

    1. Dear Philip

      it’s more the high % alcohol that is the preserving agent! Like a traditional English Christmas cake, stollen is too fragile to eat straight away. But it preserves itself in the booze! The butter/icing sugar just makes a nice, sweet outside.

  11. Hi,

    The dreaded “spellcheck” struck!

    Please read “act” not “ascot” though if it lasts well I may well take one to the races!

    P

  12. Sorry, I was a little ambiguous as well as being illiterate! I meant did the sugar coating applied after the melted butter prevent the butter from going rancid?

  13. My stollen didn’t rise!!! Very tasty, but not really suitable for presents as I had hoped. Plan to try again using fresh yeast this time.

  14. Hi Jay,

    I use an osmo-tolerant yeast in recipes above 5% sugar. BakeryBits supply it and is great in fruited breads etc.

    Philip

  15. Jane, jane, Jane you genius! Just polishing off a stollen. They are bloody incredible. Excuse my language! I’ve already set a calendar reminder to make your recipe again next year. 🙂

  16. Hello! I got a premade stollen at a supermarket here in UK last year, and it reminds me of a norwegian version, which is also yeasty dough, but with a little added ground cardamum as well. But ours is not made for keeping that long (no alcohol), and is treated as fresh “bread”.
    So this year I want to try make a stollen..and I love the idea of marzipan. But I believe the one I bought here in UK, had shredded marzipan in the dough..not as a centre. And it was amazing flavour. Is that something you have heard of or tried? I love marzipan,and loved the flavour cause it was more incorporated in the whole stollen. I will use your recipe, it looks like the best I have seen so far.

    1. Dear Heidi

      thank you for your comment. Firstly this IS a good stollen recipe – my friend Simone is a great cook. The marizipan thing is very German and, as I said in the recipe, some people are devoted to it and others are not! If you like cardomom do add it however, limit yourself to 1/2 a teaspoon. Cardomom is surprising and a little goes a long way. you don’t want your stollen to taste like soap!

  17. I want to give this a try, but I am new to the bread making world. I live in the states and I don’t know what candied peel is ( is it just orange peel or other fruits as well?) also where do you buy it? Is their one brand better than another? Thanks in advance for you help. 🙂

    1. Hi there, that is a great question and I have to think about it!!!!! I think it’s also called canided peel and it’s usually orange peel but it can also been lemon, lime….it just come in a bag called candied peel! I buy the supermarket brand here in the UK and you find it in the section with raisins and other dried fruit. Hope this helps?

  18. This recipe looks fab, but just need to check, how do you incorporate the butter and lard, as it just says add?
    Do I rub in, like shortbread, or melt then add to the flour to make a dough?
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Dear Jonathan, thank you for your message. Just pop the butter in the bowl along with everything else (either room temp or from the fridge) and knead it in. Keep it unmelted! let me know how it goes – thanks!

  19. Brilliant recipe- BUT had a problem with the oven temperature- they burnt! Are the temperatures for fan assisted ovens? What di I do wrong???

    1. Hi Rosie, I am sorry about that. Temps are never for fan assist – you will always need to adjust your fan assist by the amount recommended by the manufacturer. As a general rule, when you bake sweet things it’s a good idea to check about 2/3 way through and if things are going too brown, just cover with some parchment to keep from more browning. I hope they are edible!

  20. Thanks for that! I’ll check my conversions! I’ll let you know once I have left them to cool & mature a bit!

  21. For those of us across the pond, King Arthur sells dried fruit and candied peel in the fall for stollen, pannetone, and other fruited breads. They’re on-line.

    With fall approaching, I plan to put this recipe into action. I actually have a long sitting jar of dried fruit in rum, brandy, or what I have on hand. I just add more spirits and dried fruit to the jar after taking some out.

    Dried pineapple is quite lovely. I’d bet that with almond slivers or the marzipan would be lovely. Maybe toss in some coconut to make it tropical.

  22. I am baking these wonderful stollen today the 30th September because I am going away for a month. My question is, as it is almost three months to Christmas should i freeze them??

    1. NO! Just wrap them well in greaseproof paper and then aluminium foil and store them in a dark place like the larder or a kitchen cupboard. Not in plastic, not in a plastic box. In a big biscuit tin if you want. The alcohol stores the bread and when you cut into it on 1 advent you will love it!

  23. Thank you for your help. This is the third time I have made the Stollen. I doubled the recipe and did most of the kneading in my kitchen aid mixer. The dough did not rise the way it usually does and the Stollen look like big scones. What did I do wrong? I proofed the yeast and made the sponge….all looked good but no further rising.

  24. Hi- I baked 4 stollen last year- 1st lot were slightly burned but delicious (didn’t realise re fan assisted ovens needing a lower temperature bake) 2nd 2 -fantastic & we have 1/2 left nearly a year on & its even better! making them earlier this year! Thanksx

  25. Tomorrow I am going to shop for all the required ingredients and this year we will have our very first own home made stollen! I’m a born and bred Namibian who lives in South Africa now, so I usually only get these German delights when I go home or when my mom visits us – last year December I travelled with a small suitcase full of stollen after a short visit home before Christmas (we had stollen till about Easter!)

    I discovered stollen imported from Germany yesterday at a local shop but after paying a small fortune for it I was was left rather disappointed, yet totally inspired to find the best stollen recipe and make my own this year.

    Thank you im advance for the detailed recipe and tips and tricks shared in the cimments as well! I will let you know how it went 🙂

    Here’s to the baking gods being kind to me and my stollen 🙂

    1. Thank you for contacting us! If you are in RSA you may find your flour is really dry. Although this dough is stiff (and squeezing in the fruit takes PATIENCE and lots of bending to pick raisins off the floor) it should not be dry. You may find you need to add more liquid. First thing (if you need to) is drain the fruit and catch the liquid. Add that (it’s booze, why waste it). If that is not enough, add water, bit by bit but just until you can work the dough. It’s not an easy knead – but as above it should not be dry! Good luck! We made ours last week.

  26. It’s time! Soaking my fruit today. Off to work out of town for the week. Saturday, I’ll put the recipe together.

    I usually keep a stock of dried fruit soaking in rum or brand or port (usually a mix of the three with the rum & brandy predominating the mix). I was 400 grams short. Hence, my soak today with finishing it up Saturday.

    I think one of these might make nice family present for my new in-laws.

    My dried fruit mix is non-traditional. Some raisins, golden raisins, apricots, cherries, chopped plums… I nearly chopped up some pecans as I’m short of almonds. I did have a package of ground almonds, so that will do nicely.

    For the vanilla sugar, are you using granulated or bakers sugar there? The 125g of butter is that per loaf? Or per batch?

    1. Dear Suz, that sounds wonderful! WIth slightly different fruit (that absorbs liquid at a different rate) you may need to add a bit more liquid to the dough. Water will do. Not a lot – the dough is REALLY stiff – but enough to be able to knead it! I use granulated sugar (just stick a vanilla pod in a bag of sugar and leave it there for a while and you have marvellous vanilla sugar) and the 125 g is for the recipe. so divide that among the loaves you make!

  27. I forgot to add salt! My fruit is added & I was just about to shape the loaves when I noticed I’d forgotten the salt. What to do? Knead it in, let it rest, throw away VERY expensive dough, carry on regardless? 🙁

  28. Hi, Grwat recipe which I and most of the family actually prefer to my own!
    However some family members cling onto the past so I make mine for them. Here is my question:
    My recipe uses all butter rather than lard and (horror of horrors) a small egg! Fruit mix is slightly different but still steeped in booze (mix of brandy and rum) and has rum infused marzipan. Do you think it would keep as well as yours and should I let it mature? In the past I have frozen them immediately on cooling.
    Thank you and a Merry Christmas.

    1. Hi there, and thanks for this. There are a million stollen recipes – some have egg and some don’t. As long as there is enough booze of a high enough proof it will certainly be fine. Maturation is a function of the dough. This recipe simply cannot be cut until it has matured. It it too fragile until at least 4 weeks have gone by. Yours may be firm enough to cut straight away? Freezing also works but if there is enough booze, there is no need!

  29. Mine turned out quite lovely. We are enjoying this treat. I almost forgot about it (like my mother and the freezer fruit salad!). Glad I remembered it.

    Just lovely.

  30. I have been looking for an authentic stollen recipe for years and came upon this one about 6 weeks before Xmas! Perfect timing, thanks so much.
    I made 1/4 of the recipe and it came out as I hoped, a mixture of a pastry and a bread. I loved the traditional folding technique. The conversion chart someone provided was helpful. Next year I will be making the full recipe. Thanks again.

  31. I was wondering if I could make this up to 3 months before Christmas? If so, would I leave it in a cool box/ or tin for a few weeks to absorb all the goodness and then freeze it?

    I have heard that some German cooks make this in the summer and then store until Christmas.

    I’m out of town from October 1 – December 1, so making Stollen on Dec 1 probably wouldn’t be as good.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.

    1. Dear Donna

      Typically you do make this in September so you are well in time. There is no need to freeze it. Wrap it up in wax paper/greaseproof paper and tin foil and put it in a tin. It will keep perfectly until Christmas. Making it on 1 December will be impossible!

    1. You can absolutely do that – it will be hard work for the mixer and just add enough liquid to make it come together in order to get the machine to knead it. I would not (sadly) knead in the fruit by hand. It may kill your machine! More important it may squash the fruit to death. However, it will certainly be easier!

      1. Hi

        I think i might cover it in vanilla sugar when warm and lots of icing sugar, maybe just leave the butter bit off.

        Thank you!

        1. You will need a think coating of butter or oil to make the sugar stick! Otherwise it will just all fall off!

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