The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Christmas stollen - take 1

MommaT's picture

Christmas stollen - take 1

Well, it's that time of the year again and I'm starting to test/tweak my holiday gift-giving recipes.  Having decided to mix things up a bit this year (no pun intended...honestly!), I tested the BBA stollen recipe today!   The immediate family gave it thumbs up, although my marzipan-shy 8 year old was a little hesitant.  

The long story is this:  Last year I made very traditional English Christmas cakes and sent them out far and wide.  The responses ranged from "mmmm!  brandy!" to "what is it, a candle?" to my brother who recounted how his wife went to work and told everyone about the "strange auntie who sends fruitcake...that requires a chainsaw to get into!" (royal's SUPPOSED to be hard!).  I decided that stollen might be a little more approachable and, thus, the test run. 

I tried to follow the BBA recipe fairly strictly, to get a baseline from which to work.  With that said, this version has four personal tweaks:


  1. I am quite certain the weight for the cinnamon in this recipe is off.  The suggested .44 oz of cinnamon seems a lot more than the 1 tsp volumetric measure.  I started by scaling and quickly realised there was a problem, then eyeballed the volume.
  2. I wasn't sure if dumping the fruit in meant just the fruit or all the brandy that wasn't soaked up.  I did the latter, then compensated by adding a bit more flour.  It seems to have been a good call.
  3. I made this with a different fruit mix based on personal preferences.  For the total 12 oz of dried fruit, I used 4 oz currants, 2 oz each golden and normal raisins and 2 oz each of homemade candied orange peel and lemon peel.  
  4. I did go for the marzipan centre, as I believe it is essential.


Here are the results:

(be kind to me here!  It's my first time uploading photos AND the camera's battery was flat so I used the built in camera on my mac so as not to miss the moment...very low res.)

first stollen

And the crumb, with marzipan centre:

first stollen crumb


I will DEFINITELY make this again!  Changes I would make next time:


  • Would shape correctly - see below.
  • Would use a little less cinnamon ( and measure by volume) or perhaps another spice.  I noticed many recipes have no spice in the dough.
  • Would more carefully control the rising temps.  I was in and out of our cold house today.


One last comment on shaping... The lightbulb went off AFTER I shaped these, so you may notice it is not shaped "correctly".  It was a little confusing trying to envision the sort-of pleating that takes place to create the pocket on both sides of the top bit.  I'll do it the correct way next time (method 2 in BBA) and may even coops DH into taking a video I can post to help others who were as baffled as I.

I can highly recommend this recipe!

Momma T

Oldcampcook's picture

I concur on the marzipan being "essential".  Just not the same without it.  IMHO, way too much powdered sugar.  The ones I ate in Germany had a lot less and I use a lot less on mine.

I will try your recipe. 


MommaT's picture

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the feedback on the powdered sugar....I will definitely back off on it next time!

Onward and upward!


flournwater's picture

When I saw your comments re: cinnamon I checked my copy of BBA.  Mine lists "1 teaspoon (.25 ounce) ground cinnamon."  Looks like your intuition was right on target.

MommaT's picture


You are absolutely right -- my memory failed me!  It *does* say .25 oz in my book too.

HOWEVER....I have now tested the weight of 1 tsp cinnamon on my Escali scale and it varies from .08 to .10 oz.  I suspect the .25 oz weight is equivalent to 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.  Unless he's using a vastly different type of cinnamon to me!



Brotfan's picture

First of all - your Stollen looks great! I'm German and I make one every year. Just wouldn't be Christmas without it. I never put Marzipan in mine, but it has ground almonds in the dough as well as some almond flavor (it used to be a ground up bitter almond in the original recipe, but you really can't get those anymore). However I don't know anybody (German) that puts cinnamon in a Stollen. I don't know what it is in the US, there's this compulsion to put cinnamon into almost everything. I think it would make Stollen taste very "unauthentic". There are really now spices in the dough (although I soak my raisins in rum and that gives it some flavor). Anyhow, looking forward to see your next testrun!


MommaT's picture

Thanks, Kirsten.

I was also a bit wary of any spice in the dough and will probably leave it out altogether in my final run.  As for bitter almonds....I think they are "illegal" here.  Sigh.    They really do have a unique flavour.

I soaked my fruit in plenty of brandy, so definitely had that flavor shining through.  With the homemade candied peel being so flavorsome, I think the spice probably gets in the way.

On to round 2!


Reid Heilig's picture
Reid Heilig

I had an authentic shipped from Germany to me by family stollen for breakfast: 1. there was NO cinnamon, 2. there was no marzipan but that variation does exist in Germany, and 3. it was absolutely so covered in powdered sugar as to look like the one in the picture but even moreso-a stollen is supposed to represent the Christ Child wrapped in white swaddling clothes so it is very white( powdered sugar acts as a preservetive for the long storage and ripening process that was traditional with stollens.)

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

I thought it was just me who felt like that about Americans and cinnamon! I'm not at all keen on it so rarely use it in anything but I do love marzipan - make my own of course.

The information about swaddling clothes is very interesting, thank you for that. And I didn't know that stollen was meant to be stored and ripen, I don't feel guilty now about having made mine yesterday :-) 

Never heard of the fruit being soaked in alcohol either. I do that for Christmas cake and puddings and mincemeat though.


summerbaker's picture

Your stollen looks great!  However, if you want to try another recipe that I think is wonderful, see if you can find the one by Richard Bertinet from his book, Crust.  I experimented with it last summer and it was sooooo wonderful.  I had no trouble with the proportions at all, and I'm not the most experienced baker either.  Here's the link:

Good luck,


mrpeabody's picture


I love stollen and learned to make them because I have boys with nut allergies so buying it from a bakery is out of the question. I just leave out the nuts now.  My wife loves it so much that I have in recent years bake small stollen and package them up as gifts to colleagues/friends.


However, I do have a chaotic schedule so I find it very difficult to bake stollen (from start to finish) in one single session.  So, I thought that I'd share my procedure to make stollen over two days, which allows this to be even feasible for me.


I make a couple batches of dough one night after dinner.  Instead of then letting them rise at room temperature, I then just cover and put the dough in the refrigerator.


The next night, I find that the dough has risen in the frige maybe not doubled but perhaps 60-70%.  I divide the cold dough to the portions that I want, put them on trays, cover with plastic and then let them continue to warm/finish rising for 1-1/2 to 2 hours while I eat/make dinner and do other Christmasy things.  I find that if the kitchen is warm enough, the dough becomes fairly pliable and I can then shape the stollen and let them proof at room temp for another hour before baking.


I find that even though the dough had been refrigerated, the final stollen is still great.  I guess that the recipe that I use has enough yeast (and the enriched dough has plenty of goodies for the yeast to feed on) that the dough still rises well despite the refrigeration.  I've never refrigerated the dough for more than 1 day but it would be interesting if the stollen dough could be stored longer to accomodate my schedule better.


So, what do you think?


Mr. Peabody

SylviaH's picture

Your stollen looks perfect.  My husband raved about this and I'll be making more for gifts.  I like your folding better than the one used in BBA.  I think it's not only easier but looks better.  How about a recipe for your marizpane?


pjaj's picture

I'm in the process of making my first BBA Stolen as I type this. It's half way through its second rise. I too wonder about the quantity of liquid. After I'd added the fruit + all the brandy the resultant mix was more like a batter than a "silky dough". Perhapse it should only be the fruit - the baker gets to drink the remainder!

I needed to add about 3-4 tablespoons of flour to achieve a reasonable consistency. I'll be aking it in about half an hour and it should be ready for midnight. The only change I've made is to add a roll of marzipan to the centre.