If you’re looking to bake something unique and festive this holiday season, a traditional German Stollen Bread might be just the treat you’re looking for. Also known as Christmas Stollen or Christstollen, this bread is a delightful blend of nuts, fruits, and spices, all coated in a snowy dusting of powdered sugar, making it look like a miniature snowy mountain range. Here’s how you can create your own Stollen bread from the comfort of your kitchen.
For the Dough:
- 500g all-purpose flour
- 10g instant yeast
- 100g sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 250ml whole milk, warmed to 110°F (43°C)
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest
For the Filling:
- 100g raisins
- 100g currants
- 100g dried cranberries or cherries
- 75g chopped candied citrus peel
- 50g chopped almonds
- 100ml rum or brandy
- 200g marzipan
For the Topping:
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
- 200g powdered sugar
- Prepare the Fruit and Nut Mixture: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the raisins, currants, dried cranberries or cherries, chopped almonds, and candied citrus peel. Pour the rum or brandy over the fruit and nut mixture, stir well, and let it soak for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Make the Dough: In a large bowl, mix together the flour and yeast. Add in the sugar and salt. Pour in the warm milk, then add the softened butter, egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon zest. Using a dough hook attachment on your mixer, or by hand, knead the mixture into a smooth and elastic dough. This should take about 10 minutes with a mixer, or 15-20 minutes by hand.
- Add the Filling: Drain the soaked fruit and nut mixture, reserving the soaking liquid. Add the drained fruit and nuts to the dough, kneading until they’re evenly incorporated.
- Let the Dough Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until it has roughly doubled in size.
- Shape the Dough: Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle that’s about 1/2 inch thick. Roll the marzipan into a log that’s slightly shorter than the length of the dough. Place the marzipan in the center of the dough, then fold the dough over it, tucking the ends under to seal it in. The dough should have a slightly humped appearance.
- Bake the Stollen: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Add the Topping: As soon as you remove the Stollen from the oven, brush it generously with the melted butter, then dust it liberally with the powdered sugar. This will give the Stollen its characteristic snowy appearance.
Allow the Stollen to cool before slicing and serving. It is often even better after resting for a day or two, as this allows the flavors to meld together more fully.
That’s it! Enjoy your homemade traditional German Stollen bread. Happy Baking!