Thursday, December 22, 2011


A special treat just before Christmas in our home was when my dad would bring home a special Christmas sweet bread. It was a very rich dessert bread full of fruit and almonds. Christmas Stollen (we pronounced it Shh tollen) was different from the Fruit Cake we see all the time nowadays.

We lived among some eastern European neighbours then, and stollen, originally baked in Germany, became popular all over the .neighbourhood

Long before Columbus discovered America, stollen was baked at Christmastime in Dresden Germany. The dried fruits are macerated in liquor and when the bread comes out of the oven it is then slathered with melted butter and rolled in sugar. It thus represents the infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. Since the 15th century, there was a Stollenfest in Dresden every year, right up to the fall of the monarchy in 1918.

If you have never eaten stollen, you are in for a gustatory delight. This moist specialty bread  is a little like the Italian Pannettone or the Danish Julekage, but its special shape is very appealing to Christians in particular and its flavour to everyone.

If you are a baking enthusiast, bite into some serious history here; make yourself a Christmas Stollen.

Adapted from The Practical Encyclopedia of Baking, Hermes House, N.Y. 1999

Christmas Stollen             1 loaf


½ cup (115gm) golden raisins
¼ cup (60gm) currants
3 tablespoons (45ml) rum or brandy
3 ¼ cups (800ml) white flour, plus a little to sprinkle on top of batter
½ teaspoon (2ml) salt
¼ cup (50ml) sugar

¼ teaspoon (1ml) ground cardamom
½ teaspoon (2ml) ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon (2ml) grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon (2ml) grated orange zest
1 ½ ounces (45gm) yeast
½ cup (125ml) lukewarm milk

¼ cup (50ml) melted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup (100ml) candied fruit
1/3 (75ml) blanched whole almonds, chopped

Melted butter, for brushing

For The Almond Filling

1 cup (250ml) ground almonds
¼ cup (50ml) sugar
½ cup (100ml) confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon (2ml) lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
  2. Put the raisins and currants in a heatproof bowl and put in the oven just to warm, 3-4 minutes. Pour on the liquor and set aside. Shut off the oven. Stir the fruit to immerse fully in the liquor.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, spices and zest.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the yeast with the slightly warm milk.
  5. Pour this into the flour and stir a little of the flour from around the edge into the milk mixture to make a thick batter.
  6. Sprinkle some flour on top of batter, then cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  7. Add the melted butter and egg and mix into a soft dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  8. Place in an greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  9. Working on the almond filling: combine the ground almonds and sugars.
  10. Add the lemon juice and enough egg to knead into a smooth paste.
  11. Shape into an 8 inch (20cm) long sausage, cover and set aside.
  12. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch down.
  13. Pat out the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick and sprinkle on the golden raisins, currants, candied fruit and almonds.
  14. Fold and knead the dough to incorporate the fruit and nuts.
  15. Roll out the dough into an oval- about 12 X 9 inches (30 X 23 cm)
  16. Roll the center slightly thinner than the edges. Place the almond paste filling along the center and fold over the dough to enclose it, making sure that the top of the dough doesn’t completely cover the base. The top edge should be slightly inward from the bottom edge.
  17. Press down to seal.
  18. Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a lightly oiled or greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  19. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  20. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on its bottom.
  21. Brush the top liberally with melted butter and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  22. Dust heavily with confectioners’ sugar just prior to serving.  

So that’s how to bake a Christmas Stollen. A little detailed, but these step by step instructions make the method easy to follow.

Enjoy with coffee or black tea.


Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Stollen is something very new to me...It looks and sounds very interesting...
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas

anthony stemke said...

KAVERI: It has a long history and a lovely rich taste.
You and your family have a great big Happy Christmas.

Joyce said...

I would love to try this. Stollen is my hubs favorite...he has German roots and his Oma made one every Christmas. Thanks for sharing the recipe...have a Merry Christmas!

Eat To Live said...

Mmmmm.... just looking at this makes me miss my Mom!

Merry Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family! The bread looks delicious!

Leovi said...

Stollen bread dessert that must be very rich but seems complicated preparation. Greetings.

Anonymous said...

Stollen bread is so good. Haven't had it in awhile. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Maybe I can make it next year for Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

Golden Eagle said...

Mmm, that sounds delicious!

Dawn @ Words Of Deliciousness said...

Stollen looks absolutely delicious. My mom use to make a pear bread when I was a kid that had dried pears and raisins in it that was very good too. Have a Merry Chistmas.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Wow! I've made stollen before, but never with a filling...what a fantastic tradition. Merry Christmas!

Ellen said...

Looks and sounds amazing!

Merry Christmas!

Chaton T. Turner said...

Sounds delicious!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Unknown said...

wow..thats a yummy dish...sounds delicious....wishing u n ur family merry christmas :-)

Padhu Sankar said...

Looks so inviting!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

So it's nothing like fruitcake? Because American fruitcake is awful.

anthony stemke said...

JOYCE; Please let me know what he thinks. Tell his Oma Ich wunsche deiner familie frohe weinachten.

MY JOURNEY: I was touched by that beautiful sentiment. Have a blessed Christmas.

STEPHEN TREMP: Thank You Stephen, back at ya'.

LEOVI: A little complicated,definately for baking enthusiasts. Feliz Navidad Leovi.

SUSANNE: A little detailed but worth it for once a year. Happy Christmas.

The Golden Eagle: Thanks for calling. Happy Christmas.

anthony stemke said...

WORDS OF DELICIOUSNESS: Pear and raisin bread does sound good. I have 2 pear trees and made sweet and hot pear relish with it. We love pears, going to use in bread now. Thanks, have a happy Christmas.

LIZZY: Please try this it is really good. Happy Christmas,

ELLEN: It is that. Happy Christmas to you and your family.

CHATON: You and your family (including Cutie Pie)have a great big Happy Christmas.

SONALI: Thank You and Happy Christmas greetings to you and family.

PADHU: Thank You, it is.

L.DIANE: My whole family agrees with you, except me. I actually love standard fruitcake, I guess it takes all kinds. Your kitty pictures are fantastic. Have a blessed Happy Christmas.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Looks absolutely delicious!
I wouldn't have the patience to make it! Thanks for sharing!

Mary Montague Sikes

Unknown said...

:- ) Something very special for this day!!!

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!!!

anthony stemke said...

MONTI: I understand, you have to enjoy baking to make this,
Happy Christmas,

UMA: Yes, is special. Thank You and Happy Christmas to you and your family.

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

This looks wonderful!!!!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

How fascinating. I just spent half of a phone conversation discussing stollen with my dear friend across the country, who makes it every year. I will send your version fo the recipe to her. She will love to see it! Thank you!


Torviewtoronto said...

delicious looking snack and dessert
happy holidays to you and family

Misha Gerrick said...

Oh wow that looks delicious. I'm trying to picture how it would taste, but I can't. I guess there's nothing to do but make it. ;-)

Plateful said...

Don't we all get nostalgic during the festival season. Lovely loaf, I'd love to have a slice with tea.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

LaMagicaZucca said...

Bellissima la tua versione natalizia dello stollen.
Tanti auguri per un fantastico 2012

Unknown said...

I've been buying Stollen from World Market over the years and love the taste of this awesome bread--especially the almond paste surprise within:). Thanks for sharing your gourmet-looking stollen recipe!! Happy New Year to you and family

Joyti said...

Hmmm, sounds delicious!
Hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks so much. I love to bake and I haven't had stollen in years. I may not find time til February, but I'm already starting my grocery list. Have a lovely new year Anthony

Al Penwasser said...

That looks absolutely fantastic!
Best part is that I even know what "gustatory" means.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Looks fantastic, and I love the history behind it! thanks!!

Purabi Naha said...

This looks great!! I loved the recipe!! Wish you a very happy year-end and a wonderful new year in advance!

Missed Periods said...

Slathered in butter and rolled in sugar--I'll take two.

anthony stemke said...

DAWN: Thank You Dawn, it is special.

JEAN: You're most welcome.

TORVIEWTORONTO: Thank You Akheela, best wishes to you and yours as well.

MISHA: If you have never tasted Stollen you are in for a happy treat.

PLATEFUL: Yes, we do get nostalgic. We had a lovely Christmas day. I hope you get to try Stollen. Happy New Year to you and your family.

LAMUSICAZUCCA: Thank You for you lovely comment. Hope you have a happy New Year.

MALLI: Glad to hear you love Stollen. Happy New Year to you and your family.

INDIE TEA: Is delicious. We had a great time. Wish you and yours a Happy New Yewar.

GENE POOL DIVA: Thank You, wishing you a Happy New Year.

AL PENWASSER: Eat this sweet bread and you can taste "gustatory". Regardless, you and your family have a happy New Year.

Dawn@LIGHTEN Up: Thank You Dawn, wish you a Happy New Year.

PURABI NAHA: Thank You for your kind words. Wish You and your family a Happy New Year.

MISSED PERIODS: Okay, two Stollen for you.

Misha Gerrick said...

Hey again. Just stopped by to wish you and Mrs. Tipster a wonderful New Year. :-)

anthony stemke said...

MISHA G.: Thank You very much. My BW (The Education Tipster) and I wish you every happiness and a less distressful 2012. Happy New Year to you and yours.

ADB said...

A very artisan bread, it looks delicious

Kitchen Belleicious said...

I have heard of something like this. I love the sweet flavor to it that you describe. Sure wish you cOuld send some my way:) fantastic recipe! Have a happy new year

Unknown said...

Looks so inviting n delicious too....
Wishing u very Happy New Year.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Dear Anthony, A very Happy New Year to you!
Very Best Wishes, jean

PS: you brng what you write about to life. This is what makes it delicious to read your blog!

Eat To Live said...

Stopping over to wish you a Happy New Year!!

Leovi said...

Eating at home should be a delight. I wish you a happy 2012.

Anzz said...

always wanted to try stollen. Wishing you a very Happy New Year, filled with loads of happiness, good health and wonderful blessings. May all your wishes come true.

BragonDorn said...

Sounds so delicious!!! Thanks for the recipe!

anthony stemke said...

NATURAL ONE: Yes,a delicious artisanal bread. Thank You.

KITCHEN BELLEICIOUS: Thank You for your kind words, I wish I could send you some. Wish you a Happy New Year too.

HEMALATA: Thank You, it is a festive bread indeed. Hope you have a great 2012.

JEAN: Thank You so much for your compliments; we wish you and your family a very Happy New Year.

MY JOURNEY WITH CANDIDA: Thank You very much, a Happy New Year wish to you.

LEOVI: I agree with you, best wishes for 2012.

ANZZ: Thank You so much for sentiments, I wish the same to you, have a great 2012.

BRAGON DORN: It is all that, thank you for calling; best wishes for 2012.

Nicki Elson said...

Ooh, not a chance I'd attempt to make this on my own, but I'm definitely going to check out the local bakeries for stollen. It sounds lovely all around.

Happy new year!

Sensible Vegetarian said...

This looks superb. A Very Happy New Year to you.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Dear Anthony--Happy New Year! My dinner awaits--you have inspired me to make something delicious tonight! I am so glad I have your blog to read. It is always delightful!

anthony stemke said...

HEY NICKI: If you live in a big city you can probably find Stollen.
I know you will enjoy it.
Happy New Year to you and your family.

SENSIBLE VEGETARIAN: It is superb, Thank You and Happy New Year to you.

JEAN: Thank You for those kind words, my best to you and your family.

LoLy said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog :) I love yours

anthony stemke said...

LOLY: Thank You, I enjoyed reading your posts.

Kalyan Panja said...

Looks an interesting dish...Just mouthwatering...looks so easy to prepare & delicious!

Unknown said...

that is one fabulous bake :) Hope you had a great holiday season :) cheers, priya

anthony stemke said...

KALYAN: It is all that for sure, Thank You for calling.

NOW SERVING: Had a wonderful holiday season, hope you did too Priya.Cheers.

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