The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stollen 101

CountryBoy's picture

Stollen 101

Since I am a novice I have a lot to learn about Stollen. In Wikipedia I am advised:

"Stollen is a bread-like cake traditionally made in Germany, usually eaten during the Christmas season as Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. Stollen (originally Striezel) was created in Dresden in around 1450, and the most famous Stollen is still the Dresdner Stollen, sold, among other places, at the local Striezelmarkt Christmas market.

Stollen is a fruitcake made with yeast, water and flour, and usually dried citrus peel (called "Zitronad(e)), dried fruit, almonds, and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon; the dough is quite low in sugar. The finished cake is sprinkled with icing sugar. The traditional weight is 2 kg, but smaller sizes are now available."

I have read what PR in BBA, RLB in the bread bible, and Hamelmann in bread have to say. (Leader in Local Bread says nothing on the topic.)

RL Beranbaum talked of not liking the dry stollen that most people make and I agree with her totally. She opts for putting her stollen into scone format. Has anyone tried that; and does it work?

PR in the BBA pictures a stollen that I have never seen before. My father in law who migrated from Germany doesn't make stollen the way PR does; each to his own.

Do people have recipes and techniques for a really good stollen that will not end up with dry crumb? I have already noted the recipes that were put up in another thread.

Are there specific techniques for Stollen that I need to focus on? In a sense this will be a one shot deal once a year, so, I guess I am going to want to get it as close to correct as possible since so much work and so many ingredients are involved.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I actually like it dry, it soaks up more hot wonderful coffee in the dark morning hours of a cold Winter's day. Good with hot tea too! The icing sugar leaves lips coated much like powdered donuts do and Stollen resembles snow covered hillsides and the aroma of Christmas by candlelight.

My Mother in law makes a moist stollen (500g flour), usually four small ones at a time. She made some today. She says the secrets are while it is still hot from the oven, rub with lots of butter and generously sift powdered sugar on top. When cool, wrap tightly with plastic wrap. The recipe is not complicated and uses baking powder, cream cheese and no yeast. And if I know her well a good shot of rum.  Did you want a recipe?  

The farmer's cookbook has one with yeast but no eggs (750g flour), and also rum (being used to moisten the dried fruits).  Recipe suggests that to keep the fruit from burning on the surface of the loaf, some dough should be reserved and fruit mixed into the other portion, the reserved dough spread out and wrapped around the fruity part like a blanket.   The stollen is brushed with warm concoction of milk and sugar before baking.  The moister mil stollen starts out with 200°c and is reduced middle rack, the farmer one lower temp 175-190°c on the lower rack longer.

Mini O

pumpkinpapa's picture

The BBA stollen reminds some Ukranian friends of their traditional holiday bread, while one German relative who is a Berliner says the one with the marzipan center is straight from his childhood there. So perhaps it is a regional thing?

icemncmth's picture

My neighbor is German and she make stollen every year...She says the trick is after baking them put them in the freezer for a month....


She starts making them in the summer and fills a freezer full and gives them as gifts..

Her stollen is very dense..but good!

CountryBoy's picture

Many thanks for the idea.  In what does she wrap the stollen prior to placing it in the freezer.

Everyone has their own tastes but RL Beranbaum(bread bible) and myself like the stollen to not be dry.

I would be grateful for any recipes for German Stollen that anyone would care to share.


CountryBoy's picture

Many thanks for your kind efforts on my behalf.  They are greatly appreciated.

While most of us bake bread and have successes and failures along the way, it seems that with Stollen it is especially important to get it right since the ingredients cost more than just the usual flour, water, yeast.

Thanks again.

Country Boy 

PS: It is good that I was not born in Germany, because I know I would have found the language way to difficult to speak;  English is much easier.

AnnieT's picture

Icing sugar is confectioner's sugar in America, and I think it has some type of starch in it so granulated wouldn't work even after grinding, A.

CountryBoy's picture

Many thanks for the help folks.

Does anyone have a Conversion site for the measurements from grams?  The Google search for it does not convert to cups.....

From the sounds of it, baking the stollen and then setting it aside for a couple of months helps improve its taste?  I have much to learn; I never heard that.

I am going to have to give this recipe a try for at least 5 go arounds before I can assess if I am in the ball park.  P. Reinhart talks about baking the recipes 3-5 times so as to get it.  But this one looks truly challenging.....



AnnieT's picture

Thanks Woz - that's what I get for not knowing the recipe! I think you're right and I'm sorry I jumped in, A.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It takes me forever to find this recipe so I thought I'd change the subject title.  First posted in 2007.

I make icing sugar in my grinder/blender, works great! Don't grind it so long that you get burnt sugar. The sugar will be warm and very fragrant when finished. Leave plenty of room for the sugar to expand as it grinds, maybe 1/3 space.

Waiting months for a stollen to "ripen" is silly. I can understand a month, but keep in mind that if there is a lot of butter in there and it can go rancid, even after baking. Candied orange peel and a few cut up marchino cherries can also be added. And to twist a lemon peel over the finished loaf is also a tip.

All this is getting me here is another recipe:

Stollen (Baking Powder)

  • 500g fine ground flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 200g sugar

Combine together on a board or clean counter top. Make a dent in middle and add:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 pkg vanilla sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g cream cheese 20% fat, no salt
  • 200g Mixed shortenings cut into small pieces: 50g each butter, margarine, coconut, lard (or however) and scatter around on the flour.

Starting in the wet middle work with the fingers to mix, slowly adding the dry to form a dough. Knead but do not overwork. Chop fine and fold into dough:

  • 125g almonds
  • 250g raisins
  • 100g Aranzini or candied orange peel
  • 100g Zitronat or candied lemon peel

Shape into 3 or 4 small oval loaves and place on parcement paper in a baking sheet. Push any exposed fruit pieces back inside loaf. Bake (middle rack) 200°c (390°F) first 15 minutes turning down to 180°c (350°F) for 30 - 45 minutes. Remove when golden brown or toothpick comes clean and brush hot loaves with plenty of butter allowing it to soak in. Dust with heavy blanket of powdered sugar. Allow to cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

  • Butter
  • powdered sugar
  • one last ingredient: Rum, unknown quantitiy, used if dough seems too dry or drizzle over baked loaf before butter or offered in tea served with stollen. 
clazar123's picture

I have a newly milk allergic? milk intolerant? person in the household and I am working with my recipes as he is a permanent fixture. :)  I am keeping butter for now but may need to eliminate that, also. (I hope not)

Lard? Shortening? More rum??(for the cook?)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a can of corn, some lemon juice and cream it fine ih a blender and see if that works.  Maybe adding a little cornstarch.  The flavour might get weird as it's not quite cheese.  

I have seen lactose free sour cream, ask at your grocer and then drain off some of the water concentrating it in a coffee filter.

clazar123's picture

I may need to go totally milk free (not just lactose free) and I wanted to make this recipe this week, of course.

I think the cream cheese in the original recipe may have contributed a fair amount of fat as well as liquid. I remember trying to make a sour cream pound cake without the sour cream, once. It was not good-talk about a sweet brick!

Stollen season-I'm even late! Thanks, I will post results, if I get t0o that point!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

makes sense...  Apple sauce is often used to sub fats...  I have a hard time finding cream cheese.  If apple sauce, I may cut back on the sugar in the dough.  I*m also tempted to just take a pound cake and toss in all the candied bits and raisina.  There really isn't too much difference only the hydration determines stollen from a cake.  Coconut milk or cream sounds like a good substitute too.

Then again.... baked squash or potato might make and interesting substitute. Yams? I think I will go there.... and raise the fat amounts.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

at Easter if the stollen served is left over from Christmas.  No offense intended, please.  Most of the time, the good ones don't last that long.  (The 4 baked a few weeks ago are gone.)  Here, the ones out now are labeled Autumn Stollen, and the Christmas ones are coming up for sale.  The idea is to at least have some ready to eat before the 5th of December (or the closest Sunday) for St. Nickolas.   Many are sold in the Nickolas Market (set up that Sunday Afternoon).   Where St. Nickolas passes out bags of nuts, tangerines, chocolate, cookies to children (something similar is done on Thankgiving in the USA but no St. Nick). 

Where are you in Germany?  

Mini O

CountryBoy's picture

Thank you once again for taking all the time to help me with your recipe and its details.  I am most grateful.  I think you can see that your stollen recipe has hit a nerve for so many people here.

I will set about making it immediately however since I am not as advanced as you and others here it is going to take me a little time to:

  1. Get the different ingredients
  2. Study the recipe and get it clear in my mind

Am I right that you do not do pre ferment for a long time?  Some people do it overnight, but I will do as you say.

Danke schoen

CountryBoy's picture

I believe I have done the conversions correctly from the website Gourmet Sleuth.  People may wish to make some corrections in my conversions.  From what I can gather the conversions are as follows:

850 g all-purpose flour or... 3.697 cups

400 g sultanas (raisins)......1.74 cups

200 g chopped almonds....   .87 cups

100 g chopped candied lemon peel...  0.435 cups

330 g butter... 1.435 cups

120 g sugar... 0.522 cups

160 ml milk (ca 110 g)...0.478 cups

120 g rum...  0.522 cups

  5 g salt...1.054 teaspoons

 84 g fresh yeast....5.901 Tablespoons

1 egg
1/3 pouch vanilla sugar (1 pouch= ca 9 g)
zest (ground) of 1/3 lemon
6 bitter almonds chopped (or 6 drops bitter almond oil)
pinch of mace

after baking:
100 g butter...0.435 cups

some ice sugar
a little vanilla sugar

also: a piece of a broomstick (ca 1 1/2 feet)


As a novice viewing this, I sense that the level of salt is low and the level of yeast is high.  However as a novice of only one year baking I have no basis for judging.

I have also become aware that conversions can be a very hotly debated topic on some web sites, however, I would prefer to stay out of that if possible.

My thanks go to Harry for his patient and detailed recipe, his translatiing, and his answering of questions.  My thanks to everyone else as well for helping me make my first stollen.





susanfnp's picture

I just made Stollen for the first time in a class. Here's a tip that no one has mentioned so far, so maybe it is not traditionally done, but I though it was a good idea: after baking, we brushed the bread twice with melted butter, then dredged in superfine sugar and brushed off the excess before dusting it with the powdered sugar. This keeps the powdered sugar from melting into the butter.


CountryBoy's picture

Ok, I got my rum and my broomstick and am collecting the other suggested ingredients, but I have questions:

-is there a substitute for mace? can i use nutmeg?

-i found some cardoman but what do i do with it? do i chop it up and then soak it or what..?

This is one very expensive past time folks:
-1 vanilla bean -$12.99
-1 small jar of cardoman-$12.99

This is definitely not a recipe to mess up on....

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

using a fine grater (careful not to include your knuckles) and leave it whole for storage.  Mace is not as strong as nutmeg therefore you only need a little.  Sometimes nutmeg is sold with a tiny grater in the jar.  Sounds like your supply will last you a few years.  In China they gave them away so I can't understand the high prices.  I've seen nutmeg trees, very tall.  The nuts are in a hull much like a walnut and break open after falling to the ground.  Upon removing the hull, one sees a bright red vein like membrane covering a dark nut, this is the mace and dries orange-brown.  The nut has a thin shell that can be easily cracked and inside is the spice nutmeg.  A little goes a long way.  Good in dumplings, banana bread, stollen, & rum punch.

If you want to add cardamon, crack open the pods with the side of a knife and little seeds will fall out.  These can be ground with a mortar and pestle, also strong, chew on one seed, a pinch is all you may need.  A pinch measurement is literally that... what you can pick up between your thumb and index finger.   

Mini O

Janna3921's picture

Tossing in my two cents.

On the aspect of the broomstick, I think that for those who think of sweeping up dirt it would be a good idea to thing of a dowel rod that would be the same thickness and it would do just as good.  It is interesting that what in one country is seen as a cheap item in another country is expensive.  


On the measurements.  I think the best thing to do would be to measure it on a scale that can be set for grams and then re-measure it for ounces or cups to get what it would be in U.S. measurements, although I think it would be better to stick with grams or the ounces to get a more accurate amount.

One cup could weight 4.3 ounces and in another measuring cup it weight 4.5 ounces in another it could measure 4 ounces, so going with the ounces or grams would be best.  Put your measuring cup on the scale, do tare so it deletes the weight of the cup and then add the flour to the grams or ounces weight and see how much it will be in your measuring cup.  Does it fill it full, has less or have more than what it is supposed to be?  

The frustration I found is that in one of my books it states that a cup of flour is 4.5 ounces.  Online, it states that it is 4.25 ounces.  That is one-fourth difference from the 4 and a half (4.5) and a fourth (4.25).  May not seem like much, but when weighting for four cups, well . . .