This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.
Hi Bold Bakers!
German Christmas Stollen has been around for hundreds of years, although its recipe has certainly improved since the 1500s (thanks to the Pope!). For many families, it isn’t Christmas without a delicious, sweet, flakey Stollen.
Every bite of my Homemade Stollen tastes like Christmas. This yeasted bread is filled with the flavor of spices, rum-soaked dried candied citrus peel, raisins, and a rich layer of sweet marzipan.
[ Want more holiday bread? Try my Bishop’s Bread recipe! ]
Now, this recipe is a bit lengthier than my regular recipes, but the extra ingredients and effort are so worth it! This classic Christmas bread is a huge reward for taking the extra steps! It’s a part of my Bold Baking Holidays Worldwide series — where I’m bringing you lovely holiday recipes from around the world. Check my Holiday Baking Headquarters for the full list.
What Is Stollen?
Stollen, or German Christmas Bread, is a cake-like bread filled with dried fruit that has been soaked in rum, candied orange peels, raisins, and a whole lot of flavor!
It’s a tradition to eat stollen around the Christmas season in Germany. Before it became the delicious treat you enjoy now, it was originally made with just flour, yeast, oil, and water — and it was pretty, well, bad. Since the Advent season was a time of fasting, bakers were not allowed to use butter. That changed when Pope Innocent VIII sent the “Butter-Letter” to the prince-elector of Saxony, allowing butter to be used by his family, and then everyone was allowed to use butter once Saxony became Protestant.
Now, the bread is popular worldwide!
What You Need To Make Stollen
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer (optional)
- Plastic wrap or a damp towel
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
How To Make Stollen
This traditional recipe does take a few extra steps, but it is so worth it! Here is how you make stollen (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):
- To make the dough, combine the raisins, candied citrus peel, chopped almonds, and rum in a bowl. Set aside to soak.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine lukewarm milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Allow it to stand for about 10 minutes.
- Once the yeast has proofed and is frothy, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar, the all-purpose flour, egg, egg yolks, softened butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, cardamom, mace, and cinnamon.
- If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix on low speed for 10 minutes. You can also knead the dough with your hands for 15 minutes instead. After kneading, place the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size. This usually takes around 1 hour.
- Once the dough has risen, if there is liquid remaining, drain the fruit and nuts that have been soaking in the rum. Knead the fruit and nuts mixture into the dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into an oval that is about one inch (3cm) thick.
- Divide the marzipan in half. Roll each half of the marzipan into a log that is the same length as the oval of dough. Press the log of marzipan down the middle of each loaf.
- For each oval, fold one side of the dough over the marzipan to cover it and press down on the seam to seal the dough. Then, fold the other side of the dough just over the marzipan again to cover it with a second layer of dough. Don’t pull the dough to the edge. Just fold it over to cover the marzipan with the second layer. Press down on this top layer at the seam along the length of the marzipan to seal.
- Put both of the loaves onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover it loosely with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow the loaves to rise for about an hour until they are puffed.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for about 30-40 minutes, until they are golden brown.
- Allow the loaves to cool for 5 minutes and then poke holes all over the loaves with a wooden skewer. Brush both the loaves all over with melted butter and then generously coat the loaves in powdered sugar.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Stollen
- I like to use a combination of black and golden raisins in the bread for the different flavors that each offers.
- You can use my Homemade Candied mixed Peel for this recipe!
- You can make your own Homemade Marzipan for this recipe!
- If you prefer not to soak the nuts and fruit in rum, you can use an equal amount of orange juice.
- This is a great make-ahead recipe! The flavor improves over a few days as the bread soaks in the flavor of the dried fruit.
How Do I Store Stollen?
You can store stollen (try saying that ten times fast) in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. If you would like to store it for longer, stollen can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Make More Holiday Recipes!
And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!
Full (and printable) recipe below!