German Stollen A Unique Christmas Tradition

Stollen, a cake-like bread with candied fruit, currants, orange and lemon zest, spice, and cardamom spices, is a unique Christmas delicacy
Stollen or Christollen were baked on Christmas in honour of royalty and church clergymen. Credit Shutterstock
Stollen or Christollen were baked on Christmas in honour of royalty and church clergymen. Credit Shutterstock

&nbspDating back to 14th century Germany, Stollen or Christollen were baked on Christmas in honour of royalty and church clergymen. These loaves were sold at fairs as well. While the original recipe for stollen did not include milk or butter, from the 17th century, the Church allowed bakers to use these ingredients. 

The hump of the stollen represents the hump of the camel that carried the gifts to Jesus Christ when he was born. The preparation of fruits and raisins alludes to jewels and gifts given to Jesus on Christmas. 

Chef Avin Thaliath, Pastry Chef, Co-Founder & Director of Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts in Bengaluru, shares his recipe for stollen 


Flour Type 400 &ndash 720 g Flour Type 720 &ndash 720 g Dry Yeast &ndash 24 g Castor Sugar &ndash 530 g Milk &ndash 510g Butter &ndash 1040 g Marzipan &ndash 400 g Cardamom &ndash 10 g Cinnamon Powder &ndash 40 g Sliced Almonds &ndash 150 g Raisins &ndash 200g Sultana &ndash 200 g Candied Orange &ndash 100 g Lemon Peels &ndash 100 g Rum &ndash 144 g Icing Sugar &ndash 500 g Fresh Lemon &ndash 2 nos. Vanilla Bean &ndash 1 Grand Marnier &ndash 200 g


Place the raisins, sultana, sliced almonds, and candied orange in a medium bowl and pour the rum over it. Stir to combine. Set aside and let the fruit mixture soak in the rum while the dough rises.

Stir the yeast and two tablespoons of the sugar into the lukewarm milk and let it sit in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until very frothy.

Place the flour, remaining sugar, egg, egg yolks, butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, cardamom, cardamom and cinnamon in a stand mixer fitted bowl with a dough hook. Add the yeast/milk mixture.

Use a spoon to stir the mixture until it comes together. Knead the dough on the bread setting, and once the dough comes together, continue kneading for 7 minutes.

Remove the dough ball, lightly spray the bowl with a bit of oil, return the dough ball, cover loosely with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place or lightly warmed oven (just barely warm), to rise until nearly doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and add the soaked fruit/nut mixture to the dough (it should have absorbed all the rum by now but if there is excess liquid, pour it out before adding the mixture to the dough).

Using the dough hook, knead the fruit/nut mixture into the dough until combined. If the dough is too wet to handle, add a little bit of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Cut the dough into two halves. Press or roll each piece into an oval to about 1 inch thickness. Roll each piece of marzipan into a log the length of the oval. Press the marzipan gently into the middle of the dough.

Fold the left side of the dough over to cover the marzipan, then fold right side over on top of the left side so that the edge of it sits just left of the middle of the stollen. In other words, don&rsquot fold the right side all the way over to the left edge of the stollen. Pinch and tuck the top and bottom ends of the stollen to cover the marzipan.

Use the bottom edge of your hand to press down along the length of the stollen towards the right of the centre to create a divot and characteristic hump.

Place the stollen on a lined baking sheet. Cover the stollen loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest in a warm place or lightly warmed oven for 40-60 minutes until puffy.

Towards the end of the last rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the stollen for 30-40 minutes or until golden. You can use an instant thermometer to aim for an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.

Let them sit for 5 minutes, then use a toothpick to poke holes all over the stollen. This will allow the melted butter to seep in. Generously brush the stollen with melted butter while the stollen is still warm.

Immediately sprinkle with a generous amount of powdered sugar, rubbing it into the creases and down the sides. Let the stollen cool completely

The stollen can be sliced and eaten now or wrapped tightly and left to &ldquoripen&rdquo in a cool place for two weeks. The liquid from the dried fruits will further penetrate the dough for more flavour and moisture. Stollen can also be frozen for longer storage.

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