The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problems with stollen not rising

DrPips's picture

Problems with stollen not rising

Hi all,

Every Christmas I make stollen using a Paul Hollywood recipe

When it works, it’s excellent, so I’d rather not try a different recipe, but I regularly get problems with it not wanting to rise. I’ve tried using instant yeast and the kind where you soak it in water first, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. The batch I have currently has been sat in the bowl for 4 days and hasn’t risen at all. Is there anything I could change to make it work better?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Do you want to save the four day old dough?  Taste the dough and let us know.  Temperatures?

To save this dough, spread out and sift 15 to 17g (3 teaspoons) Baking powder over dough, roll up and knead dough just enough to blend.  Roll out again and fill.  

The recipe calls for fast action yeast.. Is it possible the dough rose and fell quickly before noticing it? 

If the dough is overfermented by now and goopy. Try blending with some water to wash out the fruit and save fruit and nuts for a new cake.  Leave out the cloves on the second cake.   

DrPips's picture

Thanks for your reply. I gave up on the old dough. It was kind of hard. I’m usually good at making bread. This is frustrating! Haha

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

had had our flops, bricks, wasted dough, etc.  Ok then, time to move on and use a recipe that works.  

I believe the secret is raising that heavy sweet dough with some power.  The ten grams of rapid rise yeast is fast and powerful.  (Believe me, I've had fights with the stuff!)  

Normal instant dry yeast might not have enough power even with 10g dose for this type of bread, doubling it to 20g might get the dough risen before the tree spices (cloves and nutmeg) take an antibacterial/anti fungal attack at the yeast in the dough.  The dough also has to be comfy warm while rising.  Could also try bulk raising the dough before adding the fruit-spice mix to let 10g of normal yeast get a good start.

I have a similar recipe that uses 500g flour but with twice the sugar but leavened  with baking powder.  You could reduce the salt and use both yeast for flavour and BP to raise it.  

DrPips's picture


I had another go last night (I'm in the UK)  The yeast was working well, bubbling away nicely when I reactivated it, but the dough didn't rise at all.  I left it for about 2 hours before adding the fruit.  When I baked it, it seemed to rise nicely, but collapsed when I took it out of the oven.  I've taken a couple of pics so you can see the collapse and the crumb.  I kneeded it for a fair while, maybe 5 minutes in a mixer with a bread hook.

albacore's picture

My daughter made a stollen last week, using the Felicity Cloake recipe from the Guardian. I didn't get to eat it (200 miles away!), but it looked good and well risen. It might be worth a look.

Never liking to keep things simple, I did a Lutz Geissler recipe which uses a Tangzhong. Just to make things even more complicated, I incorporated a biga into the recipe. It came out a bit solid (there again I think a lot of German stollen recipes are), but extremely tasty.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

may have used another 5 to 10 minutes in the oven at a lower temp 170°C for a little more browning and to make sure the insides are baked.  Wooden pick test should come out clean.  I bet the "sinking" was an escaping air bubble inside the loaf, one way to avoid that bubble in rolling up the dough is to "dock' it a few times deeply with a toothpick just before putting it into the oven. 

How long was the final proving?

Another tip: when rolling out this dough, before adding the marzipan, flip the rolled dough over so you can view the outside dough "skin."  Then pick off all the obvious protruding raisins and fruit ( so they don't burn) and flip the dough back over to fill. Drop the raisin across the almond filling, rolling them up inside the loaf. 

Now douse it with butter and coat with "snow!"   Yummy!

liz grieve's picture
liz grieve

Hi Dom

Look up "week end bakery" they  have a great  stollen recipe Its a Dutch web site also try the cranberry rondos they are delish. What temperature is your dough when you bulk ferment it and also the ambient temperature of the room 

Happy Baking