Merry Christmas! I promise you that if you make bread, Christmas Stollen is an easy bread to tackle. I’m a little too organized, so I simplified the steps and the ingredient groups. You just need to prep accordingly to let the nuts and fruit soak and allow the bread to rise. Stollen is a traditional German bread made with dried fruits, candied citrus, nuts, and spices dating back to the late 1300s or early 1400s from Dresden, Germany. Our neighbors use an old recipe and gift us Stollen each Christmas that we swap for our homemade cut-out cookies and Spritz. We munch on Stollen on Christmas morning as we open presents and enjoy each other’s company. I kept this version simple using the dried fruit and sliced almonds that I had, but I’d highly recommend buying or making your own candied citrus. By using yeast instead of making a quick bread, this Christmas bread becomes dense and chewy.
Ingredients (makes 2 loaves, each with 18 slices).
For the Filling:
- 1/2 c brandy
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 T lemon zest
- 1 T fresh orange juice
- 1 T orange zest
- 1/2 c raw slivered, blanched almonds
- 1 T candied ginger, finely chopped
- 1 c unsweetened dried fruit (I used a mix of raisins, cranberries, cherries, & blueberries)
- 2 t turbinado sugar
- 1 t vanilla
For the Sponge:
- 1 packet (1 T scant) instant yeast
- 2 T turbinado sugar
- 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk (at room temperature!)
- 3/4 c flour
For the Dough:
- 3 T unsweetened almond milk
- 1 egg
- 1 t vanilla
- 1/2 c unsalted butter (softened at room temperature!)
- 1 T turbinado sugar
- 1 c flour
- 2/3 c whole wheat flour *
- 1 t salt
- 3/4 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- 1/2 t cardamom
- 1/2 t nutmeg
For the Glaze:
- Melted butter or cooking spray
- Powdered sugar
* NOTE: I had whole wheat flour that I wanted to use up. Feel free to use 1+ 2/3 c flour total.
- Combine ingredients for the filling in a shallow bowl and mix well. Refrigerate while the dough rises or ideally overnight to soak.
- Make the sponge by combining yeast, sugar, and milk at room temp. Mixture should be frothy and you’ll see bubbles. Stir in flour with wooden spoon to combine. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise for at least 1 hr; the sponge should double in size.
- Start the dough but heating milk until just warm to the touch. In a large bowl, mix warmed milk, egg, vanilla, and butter at room temp. Add sugar and stir well.
- Tear the sponge (aka the dough that’s been rising from step 2) into about 2″ pieces and combine with egg mixture. Dough should not be homogenous at this point (so don’t worry!).
- Combine flour through spices in a small bowl and mix well. Add half of the dry ingredients for the egg/sponge mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a thick batter forms. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until the dough is a shaggy mass.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, unfloured surface and knead for 3-5 min. Dough will be very sticky.
- The fruit/nut mixture should have absorbed most of the brandy and liquid. If not, drain any excess. Incorporate the filling into the dough, kneading until evenly distributed. Dough should still be very sticky and fruit and nuts should remain in the dough when you’re done.
- I added 1-2 T flour here in 1/2 T increments because the liquid from the fruit made the dough even stickier.
- Transfer dough to a clean, but lightly oiled bowl. Cover again and let rise for 45-60 min.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two pieces. Shape each piece into a cylinder about 9″ x 3″ then press down on it until the dough is one-inch thick. Imagine the dough in thirds lengthwise and you’ll fold one edge into the center repeated by the other, so you the edge are smooth and you have a crease down the center. Let rise for an additional 30-60 min.
- Preheat oven to 325º F when dough has risen.
- Transfer down to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 min until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack for 5-10 min.
- Pierce top of loaves all over with a toothpick. Lightly coat with oil, whether cooking spray or melted butter. Generously dust with powdered sugar until white coating forms — it will absorb as it cools.
- Allow to cool, and wrap in plastic or foil. Try to let sit for at least 24-48 hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and the bread to absorb the powdered sugar (see photos for the difference in powdered sugar).
- Slice and enjoy!
Adapted from Food 52‘s “Stollen” and created with a family tradition in mind.
Nutrition for 1 of 36 slices.
87 calories • 3.3 g fat (37%) • 11 g carbs (55%) •1.5 g protein (8%) • 0.8 g fiber • 4.5 g sugar • 90 mg sodium
* These are estimates based off specific products I used and how I entered ingredients in a fitness tracker. This is completely subjective and used to give a rough nutritional estimate.