Stollen moments

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Have you ever had stollen?

If the answer is “Yes, I’ve had that dried-out, hard stuff they sell at the supermarket, and if that’s stollen you can keep it – preferably far away” – then you haven’t had stollen at its best.

Or what I’d consider its best: fresh stollen, a loaf that’s intriguingly half cake, half biscuit in texture. A moist loaf scented with citrus and vanilla, studded with tasty dried fruit, enrobed in melted butter, and showered with confectioners’ sugar.

Now THAT’S stollen. Not traditional bakery stollen, but easy homemade stollen, much more familiar to our American palates than the austerely dry/crumbly German-style stollen sold at supermarkets during the holidays.

I didn’t used to like stollen – but that was before reader Laura Lane sent us her recipe, which she aptly named “The I Don’t Have Time to Make Stollen Stollen.”

It’s fast: fast as any quick bread, since baking powder – not yeast – is responsible for its rise. It stirs together easy as cookie dough. You end up with two nice loaves – one to keep, one to give away. And tasty?

Not only is this “The I Don’t Have Time to Make Stollen Stollen.”

It’s “The I Didn’t Think I Liked Stollen But Boy Was I Wrong Stollen.”

A.k.a. Our Easiest Stollen.

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Let’s start with two of our test-kitchen favorites, flavors that’ll take your homemade stollen from average to WOW: Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor, a citrus/vanilla/butter flavor emulsion found in professional bakeries. And lemon oil, the perfect stand-in for freshly grated lemon peel. Just a touch – 1/4 teaspoon or less– yields vibrant lemon flavor. No need to buy a fresh lemon; no grating.

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And here’s our favorite fruit blend, a tasty mixture of dried fruits I use year-round in cookies, muffins, and bread. Apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates, and cranberries – no peel, no citron. What’s not to like?

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Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Next, whisk together the following:

2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

If you’re planning on using salted butter, reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon.

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Add 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter, cut in pats.

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Blend the butter into the flour mixture to form uneven crumbs.

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Next, mix the following in a separate bowl:

1 cup ricotta cheese, part-skim milk type preferred
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor, optional but good
1/4 teaspoon lemon oil or 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia

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Stir it all up; all it takes is a few quick strokes with a whisk or spoon. Did I mention this is EASY?

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Next come 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted. Toasted means baked in a 350°F oven till they go from white (l), to tan (r).

Or, since you’re preheating your oven to 325°F, go ahead and use that temperature; it’ll just take a bit longer, perhaps 15 minutes, as opposed to 10 to 12 minutes. Whatever, keep your eye on them. Ovens vary, and nuts can very quickly go from perfectly toasted to burned.

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Add 1 cup dried fruit and the toasted slivered almonds to the flour mixture; stir till evenly distributed.

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Then add the wet to the dry ingredients.

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Mix until everything is moistened.

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Now you’re going to divide the dough in half. A scale always helps with this task, but you can certainly eyeball it.

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Here we are, two sticky balls of dough on a nicely floured work surface. In this case, a silicone mat.

Why use a flexible mat instead of just shaping dough on your plain wood or formica countertop?

Well, have you ever tried to pick up your countertop, tip it over the wastebasket to shake off the flour, then carry it to the sink to rinse it off?

HA! Didn’t think so.

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Shape each piece of dough into a 7” x 8” oval. Don’t make yourself crazy about this; approximate size is fine.

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Fold kind of in half. KIND of – leave the top about 1/2” short of the edge of the bottom.

Gently press the dough to seal it about 1” in back of the open edge; this will make the traditional stollen shape. It’s also the familiar Parker House roll shape, if you’ve ever made them.

Question: Do you fold the stollen lengthwise…

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…or crosswise?

Lengthwise will give you a longer, narrower stollen, with shorter slices; folding crosswise will give you a wider, fatter stollen, with longer slices.

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See what I mean? Your choice entirely.

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Place the shaped stollen on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes.

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They’ll be very lightly browned, especially around the edges; a cake tester inserted into the center of one should come out clean.

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They also may crack across the top. That’s OK; butter and sugar will hide a world of sins.

Get your butter and sugar ready: 6 tablespoons melted butter, and about 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar.

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Brush each warm stollen heavily with melted butter, using about half of the total amount; you’ll be using the rest later.

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Use a sieve or sifter to coat each stollen with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar.

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If you do this on parchment, it makes it easy to simply remove the loaves, funnel the parchment, and pour the sugar back into a bowl for the next dusting.

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Whoops, missed a corner.

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That’s better.

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Let the stollen cool completely.

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Then repeat the process. Brush with butter.

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The sugar will seem a little gummy; that’s OK.

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Sprinkle with more sugar.

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Again, coat the stollen heavily. Since the dough itself isn’t very sweet, this won’t be overkill.

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Slice when completely cool.

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See the thick layer of butter/sugar on the right of each slice? This helps preserve the stollen’s freshness. And it adds incredibly rich flavor, as well.

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Imagine your first bite… Can you tell it’ll just melt in your mouth?

Wrap in plastic wrap till ready to serve. Plastic-wrapped stollen will keep well for 2 weeks or so at room temperature.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Our Easiest Stollen.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. lynn perna

    Not so sure if Jeff Hamelman would call this anything more than a glorified scone. It is pretty tasty even though I had no sweet dough flavor I went over board with the Fiori di Sicili . I used raisins and apricots with sliced almonds as I forgot to get slivered. I’ll try cinnamon babka next.

    Reply
  2. Sheila

    I make stollen every year for my extended family – usually getting up early on Christmas Eve to bake all day and gift them that night. I decided to start early this year, I’ve got the first batch rising right now, I’ll have to try yours some other time. But my family won’t consider it stollen unless it’s a sweet yeast bread! I did tweak my grandmother’s recipe though by adding the dried fruit to the dough rather than just sprinkling raisins and nuts on top of the almond filling (I used almond paste by mistake one year, what she always used was Solo Almond pie filling), and I let it rise a second time (she only let it rise once).

    Reply
  3. Cherrie

    could one use “butter extract flavoring” and “lemon extract” for those two ingredients that aren’t readily available in most stores?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Cherrie, if you don’t have lemon oil, you’re better off grating some fresh lemon zest instead-1 to 2 teaspoons, to your taste. Buttery sweet dough is a flavor that really can’t be reproduced by anything else; if you’re not interested in buying it, just leave it out of the recipe. Susan

  4. Cherrie

    Is there a printable version of this? I would like to try to make Stollen for my mom as she said it is a childhood memory of her grandmother. Would be fun if I could nail the version she remembers…the recipe apparently didn’t get passed down.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Cherrie,

      The best way to print off a blog is to copy and paste to Word, and then you can adjust text size, etc. to print off to your liking. Good luck with the stollen search!~ MJ

  5. jeanne

    I substituted 1/2 cup of almond flour and 1/2 cup oatmeal flour. I put whole shelled almonds in the blender to make the almond flour. I use old fashioned rolled oats and blend them in the blender to make the oat flour.

    Reply
  6. Sahara Rose

    I made it yesterday, it turned out amazing although the dough was sticky, I had some trouble forming it by adding more flour… It tasts wonderful the next day but it was gone at the same day!!!!!
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful Christmas Stollen.

    Reply
  7. germanbaecker

    That’s a nice fruit-bread recipe, but that’s no Stollen. The German in me is screaming right now, but I can’t verbalize it, because I am feasting on delicious Stollen – the homemade kind with yeast dough and marzipan center. It’s not dry. It’s filled with delicious roasted almonds, rum marinated raisins and currants and little bits of candied lemon and orange peel. The dough is flavored with sugar and lemon peel and made with yeast, butter and eggs. After baking, the melted butter and powdered sugar crust helps it become the ultimate Christmas treat!

    Thanks for sharing the true taste of Stollen! Those of us with limited experience with the REAL stollen might start here and venture into other recipes suggested by our German baking friends. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  8. petersiege

    I made 20 of these this year- but made them smaller (4 loaves instead of 2 from the recipie) so they would fit better in mailing boxes. I add marzipan and candied cherries- made one batch with Splenda instead of sugar for my diabetic friends and one batch with golden raisins and cranberries for friends that cannot eat pineapple. I am shipping one to my cousin in Germany since I think these are much better than the traditional recipe. Last year the one I sent him was returned to me 3 months latter and it was still good to eat- I soak the fruit in rum so maybe that helped to preserve it.

    Reply
  9. Maeie

    This is absolutely delicious with Pecans and dried Tart Cherries!

    Maeie, you’ve inspired me – I was thinking of making a pumpkin stollen with cranberries and ginger, but think I’ll try this one first. Thanks! PJH

    Reply

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