This Christmas stollen recipe (without marzipan) makes a lovely festive loaf of bread that is perfect for slicing and toasting on Christmas morning.
There was a bakery in our neighbourhood, years ago, that used to sell stollen at Christmas time. Stollen wasn't something we grew up eating, but when that bakery opened up and started making it, we happily added stollen to our Christmas traditions. But then, the bakery closed, and thus ended our Christmas stollen tradition, until I started making it myself, more than a decade later.
This Christmas bread recipe is a variation of the traditional stollen bread. Real stollen features a hefty hunk of marzipan. It's tucked inside the stollen loaf before baking, and so when you cut into the baked bread, every slice has a sweet marzipan centre.
I like to toast my slices of stollen in my toaster, so as much as I love marzipan, I'm not sure my toaster would appreciate it, so I bake my stollen without marzipan. We save the marzipan to garnish our white fruitcake.
The traditional stollen is also bathed in melted butter after baking and coated in a thick layer of powdered sugar, much like a powdered donut loaf bread. This is a delicious way to garnish stollen, but again, because I like to toast it for breakfast, I skip both the marzipan and the powdered sugar coating.
We vary the type and amount of candied and dried fruits that we add to our stollen every year. The fruits we use are honestly dependent on what's left in the cupboard on Christmas eve. This bread is a good way of using up the odds and ends of ingredients left after most of the Christmas baking is done.
Christmas stollen bread
- 80 grams (½ cup) sultana raisins
- 60 grams (½ cup) chopped candied fruit mix
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) spiced or dark rum
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) warm water 100–110ºF
- 8 grams (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
- 125 mL (½ cup) whole milk (3.25 % fat)
- 70 grams (5 tbsp) unsalted butter room temperature
- 385 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 2.5 mL (½ tsp) Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 2.5 mL (½ tsp) ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 5 mL (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
- 43 grams (½ cup) sliced almonds optional
Prepare the fruit:
- Mix the raisins and the chopped candied fruit with the rum. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside to soak at room temperature.
Make the dough:
- Pour the warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast. Stir and let stand 5 minutes. The yeast will get foamy (that’s how you know it’s good!).
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the milk and butter and microwave to heat/melt the butter. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
- Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add vanilla extract.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
- Then add the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. Mix for about 2 minutes. The dough should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Add in the soaked fruit and almonds. Mix on low speed to incorporate.
- Switch from the paddle to the dough hook, and knead the dough for approximately 6 minutes. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the surface of the ball of dough (at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball).
- Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, dry place for one to two hours or until doubled.
Bake the bread:
- Preheat oven to 325°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Remove the top shelf because the bread is quite tall.
- Shape the dough into a loaf, and fit it in a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan that has been fitted with a rectangle of parchment at the bottom. Let it rest while the oven is preheating.
- Bake the stollen for 50–60 minutes. The bread will bake to a deep golden brown colour, and you will know it is done when the internal temperature measures 190°F/88°C in the centre of the loaf. It should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom (a tell-tale sign that a bread is baked through).
- Remove the stollen from the oven and let it cool completely out of the pan, on a wire rack, then wrap in foil to store.
Other Christmas bread recipes to try
If you want a more elaborate Christmas bread recipe, try one of these: