Recipe For German Stollen

My mother is German, our family coming originally from Eastern Germany; in fact, my maternal great great grandfather’s family were from even further east in modern Poland, being a headmaster for a school in Gdansk

Slices Of Homemade Stollen

Slices Of Homemade Stollen

As a result, one of my favourite treats has always been stollen and lebkuchen which my grandmother used to send us from Lebkuchen Schmidt in Nurnburg.  Everything came in gorgeous decorated tins or beautifully covered in pretty wrapping. It really was one of those magical things about my Christmases when I was young, but the mystery has gone a bit now that you can buy versions from Marks & Spencer through to Lidl, even if the quality just is not there; in the same way, Niederegger marzipan was a special treat, yet is now ubiquitous, and we used to get a 10 inch bar covered in chocolate, from which we used to cut off small slices to eat like manna.  As I said earlier, ours used to come from Lebkuchen Schmidt and I have treated myself to a pack this year, so fingers crossed that will arrive by Christmas (the wonders of the world wide web and its power to connect).

But I really felt that I could/ should have a crack at making homemade stollen as, unlike the lebkuchen, this is something (a) I ought to be able to make; (b) the treat factor in stollen is less great.   For reference, I used three books: Delia Smith’s “Christmas”, Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter’s “Bread” and my other favourite Elisabeth Luard’s “European Peasant Cookery”, with “Bread” used as the key recipe.  Interestingly, modern stollen (or shop bought stollen) has morphed into a relatively dry, sweet fruit cake with some marzipan in it and smothered in icing sugar (nor is it a rich fruit cake like Christmas cake or Yorkshire brack, but quite plain), which is not the real thing which should be an enriched bread; the best locally made stollen cake comes from Bettys & Taylors, which is worth treating yourself to. 

Recipe For German Stollen
75g / 3oz / ½ cup organic sultanas
50g / 2oz / ¼ cup organic currants
3tbsp strong black tea or Steenbergs Christmas chai
375g / 13oz / 3¼ cup strong bread flour
Pinch sea salt
50g / 2oz / ¼ cup Fairtrade caster sugar
1tsp Steenbergs stollen spice (or ¼ tsp ground cardamom, ¼ tsp allspice powder and ½ tsp cinnamon powder)
40g / 1½ oz fresh yeast (or half the amount of dried yeast)
120ml / 4fl oz / ½ cup lukewarm full milk
50g / 2oz / ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
55g / 2oz / ⅔ cup organic mixed peel
50g / 2oz / ⅓ cup blanched whole almonds, chopped roughly
Melted butter, for dusting
Icing sugar for dusting

For the marzipan: 

115g / 4oz / 1 cup organic ground almonds
50g / 2 oz / ¼ cup organic Fairtrade caster sugar
50g / 2oz / ¼ cup organic icing sugar
½ tsp natural almond extract
½ tsp lemon juice
½ medium egg, lightly beaten

Weigh out the organic sultanas and currants, then sprinkle the tea over these and leave to soak up the liquid until you need them later.  Sift the bread flour and salt together into a large bowl, then add the sugar and stollen spices and mix thoroughly together.

Tip In The Stollen Spice Mix

Tip In The Stollen Spice Mix

Put the yeast into a small bowl and pour over the lukewarm milk, breaking up the yeast with a fork and mixing to a creamy emulsion.  Make a well in the flour and pour the yeast mix into this and cover the liquid over with a bit of flour.  Cover the bowl with some cling film and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.  This stage gets the yeast active and growing.

Leave The Yeast To Start Dividing

Leave The Yeast To Get Active

Next, we make the rich bread batter.  Add the melted butter and whisked egg and mix together to a soft dough.  Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough has a smooth, elastic texture.  Put the dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise.  This will take 2 – 3 hours and you are after it doubling in size; I left mine close to a warm fire and it doubled in about 1 hour, but be careful about the warmth as the ideal temperature is about 37C, i.e. human body temperature – too low and it will expand slowly, but if it gets too hot, you will kill off the yeast (that is also why the milk should be tepid or touch tepid).

Add The Melted Butter And Whisked Egg To The Bread Batter

Add The Melted Butter And Whisked Egg To The Bread Batter

Knead The Enriched Dough

Knead The Enriched Dough

While the dough is rising, you should make the marzipan.  This is one of those mega-simple recipes where you simply mix all the ingredients together and knead to a soft, smooth paste.  When made, put in the fridge until you need it. 

When the dough has risen sufficiently, take the marzipan out of the fridge, then tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch (knock back) the risen flour.  Flatten and roll the dough to 1 inch thick;. pour over the sultanas, currants, mixed peel and chopped almonds.  Fold over the dough and press and gently knead the dough until all the fruits have become incorporated.  Now roll out the dough to an oval shape about a foot long (30 x 23cm / 12 x 9 inches), then slightly depress the centre with the rolling pin to make it thinner like a crease on a card.  Roll the marzipan to a long thin sausage shape and place it into the slight depression on the dough, leaving a short space at either end.  Fold over the dough, so that it covers the marzipan and gently seal the edges. 
Place The Marzipan Roll On The Dough

Place The Marzipan Roll On The Dough

Place the loaf on a prepared baking tin that has been lightly oiled and cover with some oiled clingfilm.  Leave in a warm place to rise to double the volume again, which should take about 60 minutes.
Prepared Loaf Ready For Second Rising

Prepared Loaf Ready For Second Rising

Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F.  Bake the stollen loaf for about 30 minutes until it is brown and it sounds hollow when tapped.  While warm, brush the surface with some melted butter and leave to cool.  When cool, dust it with icing sugar. 

Sprinkle Icing Sugar Over The Baked Stollen

Sprinkle Icing Sugar Over The Baked Stollen


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11 Responses to “Recipe For German Stollen”

  1. […] the stollen just yet, the reason for which will become apparent, but I mention it because it was a German stollen recipe on the Steenberg’s blog which first got me interested in making […]

  2. spice tins says:

    magnetic spice rack…

    […]Recipe For German Stollen | Axel and Sophie Steenbergs Blog: News, Views and Chat about Spices, Tea, Recipes and the Environment[…]…

  3. Fiona Tricarico says:

    I’m desperately looking for someone who bakes home makes German Stollen and other German Christmas treats for our Christmas Fair in Parsons Green on Dec 1st.

    I used to live in Vienna and I miss the Christmas markets that they have over there, so we are creating a boutique European Christmas Fair in Parsons Green. The Fair won’t be complete without some Stollen. Help!

  4. Candida says:

    I cannot believe this recipe has so few responses and didn’t come up top of the hits when I was trying to find a recipe! I have been all over the web, translating from German, discarding a huge number of English-language sources who seem to believe you can’t have a baked product at Christmas WITHOUT glace cherries, baking the rest and waiting, and generally getting very frustrated at being unable to find anything that would reproduce the stollen I remember receiving from Germany every year (from behind the wall, I think it was about the only thing they could get out). Even Paul Hollywood was WAY off the mark.
    And here it is! Something that isn’t a cake, isn’t really a bread, isn’t even an enriched bread like a brioche or panettone, but is denser without being heavy, utterly its own creature, and mildly sweet around the intense sweetness of the fruit. The spices are right (I know some quibble at anything more than mace, but to me the cardamom is essential) and making my own marzipan was a revelation – of course this homemade version is better for a stollen, because it is grainier and slightly softer than the very smooth type sold in UK stores primarily for icing cakes, a different job entirely.
    So thank you. Made my Christmas. May you sell a thousand tins of stollen spice and have everyone baking their own every year.

  5. […] cinnamon, and I approve of Delia’s addition of fresh citrus. Another intriguing slant is the steeping of the fruit in spiced tea. This authentic recipe is a marzipan-free zone and is a phenomenal looking bake – 700 grammes of […]

  6. Sophie says:

    Hi so sorry we weren’t able to help at the time. Maybe someone will come forward for 2013…

    With best wishes

  7. Kevin M says:

    What a fantastic stollen recipe. Thanks very much. Just done a practice one one before Christmas, It is delicious.
    Thanks again.

  8. Krishna says:

    An excellent recipe. The measurements were exact. Those who partook of the Stollen were impressed, going so far as to say that it was the best they had tasted so far. Thank you so much

  9. Susie says:

    Fantastic recipe!!

    In my creative fashion, I added dates, a little lemon zest, and one half tangerine juice to fruit mixture. I also used a little more chai tea than suggested and had to drain it, as a consequence. I might add a little more cardamom atop the rolled dough to enhance it’s presence—I love the cardamom!

    I also adapted by using whole grain extra finely ground flour instead of white flour and had to add water and oil to soften it. It’s rising now…

    The marzipan turned out quite delicious, as well! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Deborah says:

    Can’t wait for mine to be finished as it smells wonderful. Couple of points though, I make all our bread so know yeast quite well but beginners trying something different for Christmas may well kill the yeast accidentally and when activating in other ingredients it means ditching the whole lot when a separate activation would only waste yeast, milk and a tsp sugar. Also covering the bowl with cling film negates the goodness of the organic dried fruit. Maybe I’m just a crank. Thanks for the recipe

  11. Sophie says:

    No deborah you are not a crank and all good tips.

    Many thanks


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