Monday, December 20, 2010

Dresden Stollen

Stollen is a German sweet dense bread, filled with candied fruit, currants, raisins, and almonds; much like fruitcake it is made about a month in advance in order to be  ready for Christmas. 
It dates back to 1457 and its original shape was to represent the baby Jesus swaddled in a blanket 
According to tradition it is served on Christmas eve with coffee.  Given the copious amount the recipe makes, it's  great for gift giving or keeping some in reserve allowing the Stollen to reach its full flavour. In fact the last loaf  is usually served at Easter when the almonds in the Stollen have reached a delicious marzipan stage. 
My recipes have been  richly influenced not only by my Italian origins but also by our urban multicultural surroundings.  I guess you could say that my trove of recipes is a reflection of our truly mosaic society. This Stollen recipe is no exception, and I have to attribute it to my husband, who as far as I know has no Teutonic bloodline. He does however have a propensity for German sweets, anything from elderberry jam to Pfeffernüsse cookies. It all started about fifteen years ago when out of the blue he purchased a Stollen, and thereafter took it upon himself to make his own for the following Christmas. In his search for the ideal recipe he enlisted the help of our dear German neighbour. I was sure that the novelty would wear off but much to my astonishment each year since, he embarks on his "Stollen production" project. Actually for a guy who never bakes, he does a pretty good job.

Ingredients: (to make 4 loaves or 6 small ones)
Note: this recipe was converted from the metric to the imperial system, thus the somewhat strange quantities and volumes... but it's tried and true!

 1-1/3 cups (225gr) currants
1 cup (150 gr) orange zest
1 cup (150 gr) lemon zest
3 cups (500 gr) Thompson raisins (or sultanas)
4-1/3 cups sliced almonds
6-1/2 cups (1 kilo) sifted flour
6 packets yeast (8 gr each)
2 cups (250 gr) icing sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches mace
2 pinches allspice
1/2 tsp salt
2.8 oz rum
2 cups (1/2 liter) lukewarm milk (reserve 1 cup for proofing the yeast)
1-1/3 lbs (600 gr) butter

Sprinkle the rum onto the mixture of currants, raisins,almonds & candied peel, cover and allow to soak overnight.

"Proof" the yeast by sprinkling it over 1 cup of the lukewarm milk (about 100 º) to which has been added a tablespoon of sugar. Set aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes. The yeast is active if it forms a creamy foam on top of the milk.

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the room-temp butter, icing sugar, the remainder of lukewarm milk, spices and the "proofed" yeast mixture and mix Transfer to a slightly floured work surface and thoroughly knead.  
Cover the dough and allow to rise for approx. 30 minutes in a warm place.

Add the previously prepared fruit mixture.
Thoroughly knead the fruit mixture into the dough. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Roll the dough into a long thick cylinder shape and cut into 4-6 pieces. Make the typical Stollen shape.

Transfer to a greased and floured baking tray and leave to rise for 20-30 minutes in a draft free place.
Pre-heat the oven to 350º F  and bake for 50 minutes.

While the Stollen is still warm, brush with melted butter and dust with icing sugar. Wrap well in aluminum foil and store in a cool place. 



  1. Lovely recipe Anna, your stollen is perfect for Christmas,a hug....

  2. Wonderful and wow, it really reminds me of a Latvian bread that you have on birthdays. Beautiful Anna and perfect for the holidays.

  3. Susie, I just took the photos, the real credit goes to my husband who really made the Stollen.....his yearly project.

  4. Chiara thanks,I will share your comment with my husband who make the Stollen each year.

  5. Wow, that's awesome that this bread has been around so long. Did I read right that it's made a month in advance? I didn't even know bread could last that long! This looks great though, I love a good dense bread.

  6. I'm seeing stollens pop up all over the place! My Oma (Swiss grandmother) gave me a loaf while I was home this past weekend. I can't wait to make my own.. yours looks fabulous!

  7. Gorgeous, wonderful, festive stollen.I love the idea that the last one is for Easter. And it's simply grand the way the recipe came about in your family. I celebrate Italian but there's always room to celebrate all! Particularly when the results are so very sweet.

  8. Roxann, Stollen is similar to fruitcake, the longer it sits soaking up the rum the tastier it gets. My husband's stollen usually doesn't last that long but maybe this year we should try to reserve one for Easter. We'll let you know how it works out. In the meantime, I would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday!

  9. Thanks Claudia, I will make sure to pass on your compliment to the chef.I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a "Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo"

  10. Thanks so much Evan but the credit goes to my husband; I was simply his sous-chef on this one. Let me know how your Stollen turns out if you decide to tackle the recipe. Best wishes for the holidays!

  11. Dimah thanks,I have to agree with you, my husband who never bakes did a good job with his Stollen.

  12. I'm in awe, your hubby obviously puts a lot of passion and effort into this annual baking project and the results are amazing. It looks so perfect, very authentic. I guess it's nice for you to get a little break from the baking too. Enjoy!

  13. Ava, it's quite the project and I hear about it months in advance. LOL I really didn't thing this Stollen recipe would become a yearly tradition but it has. As I mentioned in the post, I'm duly impressed with the results, as my husband never bakes. He really takes his recipe seriously. I will pass on your comment to him. Left you holiday wishes on the shortbread post but just in case you miss it... Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  14. It was so fun to read about your husband...and his mission to create the perfect stollen. I have never even tried this before but after seeing your post, I want to bake a batch. I hope that you are having wonderful week of holiday celebration. Thanks for sharing, my sweet friend!

  15. Monet, I believe the recipe is here to stay, it is an original German recipe which he went to the trouble of changing from metric to imperial measurements. It's quite the production. We have a good chuckle each year as my husband loves announcing way in advance that he will be making "HIS STOLLEN" for Christmas. I must admit that it's quite good. It's buttery rich, with loads of almonds but not too sweet. Monet,
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful and well deserved holiday celebration.

  16. Lovely Stolen, made it twice this month. Anna, Thanks for sharing the recipe. Will be making it every year from now, triple ingredients!