At the café, we’ve been baking stollen. Home-made stollen is a lot less sweet and more subtle in flavour, so we have managed to convert quite a lot of stollen haters.In Germany, stollen is usually eaten with butter. Every year, I like to experiment with different spices, fruit and nuts. You can find quite a variety of recipes online from local traditions to pistachio-apricot-cointreau ones. If you don’t do alcohol, it’s no problem to leave it away. You can also get pre-soaked fruit (non-alcoholic) in most supermarkets nowadays, but it is also exciting to experiment with different soaking agents such as flower waters.
This year, we soaked about 300g-400g of raisins, sultanas and cranberries in a mixture of rum, port and brandy, with freshly grated orange peel, cinnamon sticks and vanilla. Leave everything to sit for at least a day – several if possible. When done, drain and mix with about 200g of candied peel (e.g. orange, lemon, lime).
For the dough, combine about 375 g of plain flour with a packet of yeast, or prepare the dough with a cube of fresh yeast. Add 50-100 g of sugar, 100ml warm milk, vanilla flavouring, 2 eggs, 125-175g of melted butter, 100g of ground almonds and a pinch of salt. We vary the spice mixture. In the last batch, we put about a heaped teaspoon of mace, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger (sometimes we put aniseed). I think we put some extra ginger in afterwards and some more freshly grated lemon and orange peel.
Basically, we let the yeast dough rise until it’s fluffy. We then knead it and bash it around for a while (the more kneading, the better the stollen) and finally add the fruit. The dough is then kneaded again and shape it into one big or several small stollen by shaping a chunky rectangle or square and flipping one side two thirds over the other. If you like marzipan, put a roll of it into the flap of your stollen.
Let the stollen rise again. (Picture shows stollen with marzipan underneath the ‘hump’. Forgot to take a picture of the finished ones, but can maybe obtain one soon.)
Preheat the oven to the hottest temperature. Put in the stollen and reduce the heat to around 160-180 degrees. Big ones need around 1 hour. As soon as the stollen is out of the oven, brush it with melted butter. Once cooled, rub it with icing sugar. Leave for at least 48 hours. We leave ours for around 5 weeks. They keep for a few months.
If you want a stollen for immediate consumption, look for recipes for ‘Quarkstollen’. These don’t need to rest. There is an example English recipe for it here. If you cannot find quark, use 0% or full fat Greek yoghurt.