Stollen is a classic German Christmas bread well-loved by many people throughout the world. It's chock full of dried fruit, mixed peel, and marzipan, and that's the reason why it's so popular.
Looking for more international sweets to bake for the holidays? We think you'll love this homemade panettone and Julekake.
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Wondering what ingredients you need to make German stollen this Christmas? Let's talk about the key ingredients for this popular German sweet bread.
- Bread Flour: This higher protein flour creates more gluten in the dough than all-purpose, leading to a better texture and higher rise in the loaf.
- Yeast: Make sure the yeast isn't expired. If you're using instant (aka fast action) yeast, you can simply add it right to the dough, but if you're using active dry, you'll need to bloom it in the warm milk with a little sugar until it's foamy, about 10 minutes, before using.
- Marzipan: Although you can make German Christmas stollen without marzipan, we think it's much better with it hidden inside! We recommend making your own marzipan for the best flavor.
- Fruit: Use a mixture of raisins, currants, and chopped candied peel for a variety of colors, flavors, and textures in your loaf of German Christmas bread.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for our German Christmas Stollen recipe. You'll need bread flour, yeast, salt, sugar, egg, butter, milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and orange juice. You'll also need raisins, currants, mixed peel, sliced almonds, and marzipan.
- Mix together the dried fruit and nuts with the orange juice until well mixed. Set it aside until later.
- Pour the flour into a bowl and mix in the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. You don't want the salt to touch the yeast, as it can kill the yeast.
3. Mix in the sugar, then add the warm milk, egg, orange zest, and vanilla. Mix until the German Christmas bread dough is smooth and slightly sticky, making sure that all the flour is picked up from the bowl.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it prove for 40 minutes. It should noticeably increase in size.
4. Melt the butter and gradually add it to the dough, mixing well between each addition. The dough should be smooth when all the butter is added.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap, then let it prove until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.
5. Knead the fruit mixture into the dough using a stand mixer. Cover the dough again and let it prove for 30 minutes.
6. Punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. Place the dough on a cookie sheet. Roll out the marzipan to a small rectangle.
7. Place the marzipan on the dough and fold the dough in half to cover the marzipan.
Cover the German Christmas bread loaf with plastic wrap and let it prove until the dough is springy to the touch, about 30 minutes.
8. Bake the German Christmas Stollen at 400°F for 15 minutes, then bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Cover the bread with foil if it's getting too dark.
9. Generously brush the bread with melted butter. Liberally dust the stollen with powdered sugar to coat. This coating helps keep the bread moist and fresh.
10. Let the German Christmas Stollen cool completely, then slice and serve.
It is a German sweet yeast bread enriched with dried fruit and nuts and traditionally filled with marzipan. The crust is coated in butter and sugar to preserve its freshness. The loaf is served in slices and is enjoyed at Christmas.
Stollen is a word referring to a guidepost or stone marking the boundaries of a city. This German Christmas bread may have gotten its name because it resembled these stones.
It tastes similar to a light fruitcake since it contains lots of dried fruit, nuts, and marzipan. However, it definitely tastes like bread. Since this is a German dessert, it's not as sweet as American desserts.
No, it isn't. Despite the fact that they contain many of the same ingredients, they are actually very different. German Christmas Stollen is a sweet yeast bread, while fruitcake is a dense cake. Also, the marzipan is inside of the stollen, while it's on the outside of a fruitcake.
German Christmas Stollen is traditionally enjoyed at breakfast, often with a cup of coffee. It can be toasted or served warm as well. Feel free to spread some butter or jam on top if you like.
- Leftovers: Store well wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. Do not refrigerate it, as it will make the bread go stale.
- Freezer: For ease, pre-slice it, then seal it inside of a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month, then defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.
- Use a kitchen scale to quickly and accurately measure the ingredients. It will also save you from dirtying more dishes.
- Always use bread flour. All-purpose flour lacks the protein content needed to create the right texture.
- Use a thermometer to see if it is cooked. It should have an internal temperature of 190 F.
- Brush the stollen with real butter, then dust generously with powdered sugar. This is an important step, as it keeps the stollen fresh for longer.
- Let the German bread cool completely before slicing and serving. It needs time to finish cooking through.
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German Christmas Stollen
For the Dough
- ⅔ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried currants
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ⅔ cup mixed peel, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 5 cups bread flour
- 4 teaspoons fast-action yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 12 ounces marzipan
For the Decoration of German Christmas Bread
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup icing sugar
Making the German Stollen Dough (45 min + 2 hrs 10 min proving)
- Stir together the raisins, dried currants, chopped peel, sliced almonds, and orange juice until well mixed. Leave to soak while you make the bread dough.
- Pour the flour into a large bowl, adding the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Stir in each one with your finger. Mix in the sugar.
- Dump in the warmed milk, orange zest, vanilla, and egg, and bring the mix together with your hand. The dough may be dry at this stage, but don't add any additional liquid to it.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it prove at room temperature for 40 minutes.
- Put the butter in a saucepan set over low heat until melted.
- Gradually add the melted butter to the dough, squeezing and crushing the dough with your hand to incorporate. Once all of the butter is added, knead until all the butter is evenly distributed.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap again and let it prove for 1 hour.
- Place the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the soaked fruit mixture and mix on medium-low speed until evenly mixed. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can do this step by hand.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap.
Shaping the Stollen (10 min + 30 min proving)
- Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Punch it down all over to knock out any large air pockets.
- Roll out the dough into an oval about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. Place the bread dough on an 11x17-inch cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- On a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan to an oval slightly smaller than the bread dough. Lay it on top of the bread.
- Fold over the long side of the oval so the dough is folded in half lengthwise. The marzipan should be covered by the dough.
- Cover the stollen with a piece of plastic wrap and let it prove until the dough springs back when gently pressed, about 30 minutes.
Baking the Stollen (1 hr)
- Towards the end of the final prove, preheat your oven to 400 F.
- Cook the stollen in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 F. Without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 375 F and bake the loaf until it's golden brown and has an internal temperature of about 190 F, about 40 minutes. Once the bread is nicely browned, cover it with aluminum foil.
- Let the stollen cool for 10 minutes on the tray, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
Decorating the Christmas Stollen (10 min)
- While the loaf is still hot, brush on a generous coating of melted butter and sift a thick coating of icing sugar on top. This coating looks pretty and seals the loaf, preventing it from drying out too quickly.
- Let the German Christmas loaf cool completely, then slice and serve with soft butter.
- Measure ingredients quickly and accurately with a kitchen scale.
- Use bread flour and not all-purpose flour for the best rise and texture.
- Don't skip the butter and sugar coating on the outside of the stollen. This helps keep it fresh.
- Use a thermometer to see if it is cooked. It should have an internal temperature of 190 F.
- Let the German Christmas Stollen cool completely before slicing and serving. It needs time to finish cooking through.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
This recipe was originally published on August 24, 2017.
I like the marzipan and the orange peel. The currants and raisins taste good together. The bread is flaky. I could definitely have a second piece!
Thank you, Alex! Stollen is such a wonderful Christmas bread.
Stollen is filled with raisins and currants. The marzipan adds a burst of almond flavor, and the lemon zest and peel adds a hint of citrus. This is so good that it might be stolen!
Very funny, Beth! 😂 Stollen definitely is a wonderful Christmas bread.
Christie | A Sausage Has Two
Hello, thank you so much for linking to my blog 🙂 Looks like your Stollen turned out beautifully!
Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed reading the post. 🙂
By the way, I really liked your informative post about stollen! German food is delicious.
Have a blessed day,