Home » Stollen – another taste of Christmas (this one’s for babies too)

Stollen – another taste of Christmas (this one’s for babies too)

Another one of my favourite foods at Christmas is stollen (being German it should be spelled with a capital S, but I guess it’s become anglicised enough now to lower case it). This bread-like cake with dried fruit and marzipan has all the good bits of a traditional English Christmas cake, but without the sickly sweet white royal icing, and is generally much lighter (in colour and stodginess). Once again, German trumps British Christmas food. I’ve eaten a fair few stollen in my time (and been through, several times, the inevitable family joke of being a thief – stollen/stolen – it’s all the same to those who don’t sprechen Deutsch; incidentally it’s pronounced something more like ‘shto-luhn’ – ‘o’ as in ‘pot’), but this is the first time I’ve ventured into producing a homemade one. As there is very little sugar in the dough, it’s great for Andrew too, though I left out the nuts, and only put a small amount of sugar-laden marzipan into his ‘stollen bites’.

This recipe is based on one from Delia Smith online. It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read previous baking posts on this blog that I adapted the recipe – no almonds (not great for Andrew), mixed dried fruit instead of separate amounts of raisins, currants, apricots, cherries and dried fruit peel (why bother when Mr Sainsbury can do it for you?), plain flour instead of strong white bread flour (other recipes I have seen for stollen don’t insist on bread flour, though see comments below), and simply dusted with icing sugar to finish instead of a glaze with lemon juice (I’m not overly fussed about lemon and all the stollen I’ve had from Germany just had icing sugar on top).

Ingredients

Ingredients for stollen

This recipe is enough to make 1 large one. I made double this, because you can’t buy smaller packs of marzipan, and stollen is great to freeze, so I made 2 bigger ones and about a dozen small ‘bites’ for Andrew; half of all this went in the freezer.

  •  150 ml milk
  •  50 g caster sugar
  • 2 level teaspoons dried yeast (not easy-blend)
  •  400 g plain flour
  • 110 g softened butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 200 g mixed dried fruit
  • 200 g marzipan
  • icing sugar, sifted, to dust on top

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Warm the milk, until you can just still dip your little finger in it.

    Milk warming up gently by short blasts in microwave

  3. Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar along with the dried yeast and leave it until it forms a frothy head of about 1 inch.

    Warm milk, yeast and sugar: time = 0 minutes

    Warm milk, yeast and sugar: time = 30 minutes

    Frothy milk, lovely yeasty smell

  4. Meanwhile sift 350 g of the flour together with the remaining sugar into a mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre.

    Flour and sugar with well in centre

  5. Pour the milk and yeast mixture into this, then add the softened butter and beaten egg.

    Milk mixture, eggs and butter added to well in flour

  6. Mix everything together either with your hands or with a wooden spoon – until the mixture is well blended and leaves the side of the bowl cleanly.

    Wet and dry ingredients mixed together to form dough, still quite wet and sticky

  7. Then work in the fruit, distributing it as evenly as possible. Knead the dough on a work surface for 5 minutes until it is springy and elastic.

    Dough ready for first round of kneading

    Wet dough from bowl after kneading on a very well floured board

  8. Now leave the dough in a warm place, covered with clingfilm, until it has doubled in size (the time this takes can vary depending on the temperature – it could take up to 2 hours).

    Dough covered in cling film ready to prove

    Dough in oven on minimum temperature, just right to prove

    Dough after proving in warm place for about 1 1/2 hours

  9. Turn the risen dough out on to a board floured with the reserved 50 g of flour, and knock the air out of it and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

    Kneading the dough (thanks to Tom for photography!)

  10. At this stage roll or press out the dough to an oblong 10 x 8 inches. Using your hands, roll out the marzipan to form a sausage shape and place this along the centre of the dough, finishing just short of the edges.

    Flatened dough with marzipan 'sausage' (bit of a flat one!) on top

    Small circle of dough with small blob of marzipan - I then folded the edge of the dough into the centre over the marzipan, and placed it down on the baking sheet to hold the dough edge in

  11. Fold the dough over the marzipan and carefully place the whole thing on a baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for expansion.

    Two bigger stollen and several baby stollen bites, ready for second round of proving

  12. Leave it to prove in a warm place until it has doubled in size again, then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

    Daddy stollen, Mummy stollen, and baby stollens ready to go into oven after second round of proving

  13. Allow it to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before lifting it on to a wire rack to finish cooling.

    Stollen and baby bites looking golden brown, just out of the oven (they only took 20 minutes to cook in our fan oven)

  14. Dust the top with the icing sugar to finish.

    Finished Stollen, complete with snowman

    Marzipan snowman - I had a small chunk of marzipan left, so I made a decoration to go with the snowy look of the icing sugar dusting

    Andrew's stollen bites - no icing sugar added 😉

You can probably tell from the photos that the stollen turned out quite flat. I suspect this is because I didn’t use strong white bread flour (its ‘strength’ holds the air bubbles from the yeast better). But they taste delicious, and Andrew loves his little baby bites too. Plus we’ve got another loaf and some bites in the freezer to enjoy in the New Year.

Do you have special foods that you like to bake/eat at Christmas? Are there cakes/biscuits/other sweet things that remind you of childhood or being with family for Christmas? Do you prefer Christmas foods traditional in other cultures more than those in your own? I’d love to hear about other foody traditions at this time of year. It’s special occasions like this that really inspire me to bake and try out new recipes. I hope you’re enjoying reading about my Christmas baking adventures!

5 Responses to “Stollen – another taste of Christmas (this one’s for babies too)”

  1. […] a deep fat fryer); the third bake was a celebration loaf (for example, Brioche or Stollen). I made a Stollen at Christmas, and the contestants mostly seemed to be proving their doughs for the third bake overnight, so I […]

  2. Natalie Farrow says:

    I have made stollen before but wanted to try and make mini stollen for a family get together, but i just have to say ‘oh my word how clean is your oven, I could never photograph mine. Thanks for your tips. Natalie

    • Ruth says:

      Thank you for the comment 🙂 the oven is only a couple of years old and I’ve never cleaned it myself – we have very helpful mums who clean when they visit us to help us and look after the boys. Hope your mini stollen work out well. I love stollen, and love the fact that it’s that time of year again!

  3. Dulcie says:

    These look amazing, i’m planning to make and freeze some mini stollen loaves this year. I wouldn’t mind asking your advise on how to best treat the stollen once you get it out of the freezer, as i usually eat all my proceeds before they make it the freezer, i haven’t much experience.

    • Ruth says:

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 When I take one or two out of freezer at a time I put them in microwave for 30 secs or so to defrost and eat straight away. Or if they’re for later e.g. as a snack wheb we’re out, I just take them frozen in an airtight box and they defrost by time he eats it. For lots or a big one I’d get them out several hours in advance, or the night before, and leave in airtight container at room temp. Then eat them within a day as they soon lose freshness. Hope this helps!

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