I am constantly surprised by the huge amount of international readers who drop by this blog. Whenever I blog about traditional German recipes, many of you tell me about your German ancestors/relatives and about your German traditions. It’s really nice to hear all these stories and I am glad that you find the recipes helpful and that they sometimes even remind you of your family traditions.
Well, today I have another one for you and for everyone else: Christmas Stollen. I know, Christmas is over. But because of its high fat and low water content, this dense yeasted fruit bread can be stored for weeks and month in a cool and dry place. It’s not uncommon to eat the last slices of this fruit cake at Easter.
Last year I already made a not so very traditional poppy seed stollen, but this year I decided to go the whole way. I live in a town that is very famous for and very proud of their stollen tradition. (You can read abit about this in the poppy seed stollen entry.) Many bakeries specialize in baking stollen and they claim that their cakes are baked after traditional recipes, some dating back to the 15th century. The have shared these recipes for generations and to them stollen baking is a serious business. (This is so serious that several people got mad at me when I told them I made the stollen with margarine instead of butter.) Well, of course it’s a serious business, but there’s always room for improvement and in this case, a cruelty free version.
A stollen is loaf shaped and it’s decorated with powdered sugar to represent Jesus Christ in his nappies. That’s why it’s also often called Christstollen.
A traditional stollen from Dresden (Dresdner Stollen) contains flour, lots of butter, yeast, sugar, vanilla sugar, almonds, candied lemon peel (Zitronat), raisins, milk, rum, and more butter.
I’ve never been a fan of candied lemon peel and my favourite stollen has always been marzipan stollen, so I decided to go with a recipe for a marzipanstollen from Baden instead of a traditional Dresdner recipe. To be honest, they are not that different. Of course I couldn’t leave that recipe alone as well. A marzipanstollen is usually made with raisins and candied citrus peel, but there also versions without these ingredients. The stollen is filled with a marzipan log. In my version I substituted lemon flavour oil for the candied peel and I divided the dough into three equal parts to make mini-stollen to give to my family for Christmas. I made this stollen last Saturday and my mother and me at the first slices of this bread yesterday. It was really delicious! So full of flavour and with a strong lemon aroma. My mother told me to bring another one next Christmas otherwise she wouldn’t let me into the house.
If you make this cake, you should keep in mind that this takes a lot of time to prepare (although most of it inactive). The dough should rise over night in the fridge and you should make the Stollen at least one week in advance before you can actually eat it. Don’t be afraid, it will still be good and much more flavourful if you store it cool and dark and in a container like a cookie jar. Don’t wrap it airtight, otherwise it could get moldy.
Christstollen (Makes 3 small loafes, adapted from this recipe)
500 g all purpose flour
40 g fresh yeast*
1/3 cup sugar + 1 T
1/2 cup non dairy milk
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 + 1/3 cup margarine, softened
1 pinch salt
1 1/3 cup ground almonds
1/3 t lemon flavouring oil**
*or 0.5 oz. active dry yeast. But if you can, use fresh yeast, the results will be better.
** this is a very concentrated mixture of lemon and soybean oil, with a lemon flavour 4 times stronger than extract. You can substitute peel. I recommend 1-2 teaspoons (to taste).
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
5.3 oz marzipan
0.5 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 T Obstwasser or rum (or rose water)
1/4 cup margarine or coconut oil
50-100g powdered sugar
To prepare the dough:
Sift flour into a bowl and mix with sugar. Melt margarine and add non-dairy milk. Let cool to room temperature. Dissolve yeast in the mixture and add to flour mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes until the yeast starts bubbling. Mix with the other ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Transfer to floured working surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate (or loosely with plastic foil) and transfer to fridge. Let proof over night.
Take out the dough the next morning and let it come to room temperature (e.g. by putting the bowl close to the heating for 1/2 hour). Don’t worry if the dough is pretty stiff at first. That’s because of all the margarine that has hardened again.
Meanwhile prepare the filling: Mix raisins and almonds. Set aside. Mix marzipan, fruit brandy, and powdered sugar and knead until smooth again. Didive into three parts of equal size and set aside.
Add raisins and almonds to the stollen dough and slowly knead in. Divide dough into three equal pieces. Roll the dough into a rectangle. Roll one of the marzipan pieces into a log and place on top of the dough as shown in the picture:
Tightly wrap the dough around the marzipan log and seal the edges (no marzipan should stick out):
If you’ve done that, shape the stollen. There’s a very special method how do do that, but I decided to use a cheater shortcut version. Take a wooden spoon and press it into one side of the dough:
Then press it into the other side:
After you shaped your stollen, pick off the raisins that stick out to prevent burning them.
Shape all three loaves and loosely cover them with a clean, damp kitchen towel.(they won’t rise very much during this time). Preheat the oven to 400°F. Transfer the loaves to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them for ten minutes. Lover the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 30 minutes. Place a piece of aluminium foil on top of the bread if it gets too dark.
For the topping, sift the powdered sugar and melt the margarine or coconut oil. Take the stollen out of the oven and immediately brush it with fat. Repeat this until all the margarine is used up. Sift powdered sugar on top of your stollen and let the stollen cool completely.