Stollen

stollen sliced & ready

I rarely make bread for reasons that should be obvious: it’s hard to justify spending the day at home mixing, kneading, and baking bread when you live in a city where there’s likely at least four very good bakeries within a two block radius. Unless, of course, it’s the middle of winter and the idea of braving 0º temperatures is less-than-appealing.

stollen dough in mixer stollen ingredients

Before the deep-chill set in this week, the previous week I was going to my dentist, and stopped in at the nearby Kayser bakery* (one might say I chose my dentist based on the proximity to that bakery, but I’ll deny it), and they were selling their terrific Stollen, which they make for the holidays. The small loaves cost only €3, which makes them, in my opinion, the best bargain in Paris.


I thought it was a typo, but sure enough, at the register, that was indeed the correct price. After I handed over a few coins, I slid one in my bag and headed home, where it got devoured pretty quickly.

stollen dough in 4ths

The problem was, after I polished off that one, I wanted more. But looking out the window at the snowy tundra that Paris became this week, laziness got the best of me and staying inside was the more comfortable, and prudent, option.

paris-first snowfall

For some reason, I didn’t get the memo when I moved to Paris that winter actually existed here. One keeps hearing people swoon about ‘Springtime in Paris’, but the grisaille of Paris, the drab winter when the sun is kaput by 5pm, isn’t exactly conducive to jubilation. And the spectacular beauty of the city blanketed with snow can be enjoyed from the confines of one’s apartment, I’ve discovered.

When I moved to California twenty or so years ago, I left all my winter duds behind in New York. But a few year later, when the first Arctic blast of Paris winter made my California-friendly jacket as effective as a wispy Victoria’s Secret teddy, I had to do some serious shopping for winter duds. I’m wised up and ready, and just to step outside, I now bundle up in long underwear, silk glove liners, mittens, winter cap, silk undershirt, a thermal top, a sweater, a vest of polarfleece (which is normally interdit in Paris, unless it has a nautical motif), wool overcoat, all finished with an expertly-tied scarf, the mark of the vrai Parisien that I aspire to be.

nutmeg stollen dough

Speaking of California, a while back I spent time in the kitchen at Spago in Los Angeles, and remember Wolfgang Puck telling us how they used to make Stollen when he was a kid and worked in a bakery in Austria: “Vee took a lot of butter, melted it in a veery veery beeg pot…” (making a big circular hoop with his arms to show us how big it was) “….and ve vood dunk zee whole loaves in it!

This Stollen recipe, which is for those you not afraid of butter, uses nearly a pound, 1/2 kilo, of it. That said, it’s meant to be served in small slices and around the holidays. So you have at least four months to work off all that butter before you can’t hide behind that bulky polarfleece sailing vest any longer.

butter & stollen

This is a fairly close adaptation of a recipe Melissa Clark wrote for the New York Times, from Hans Röckenwagner. And since I wasn’t so keen on getting bundled up and heading across town for more Stollen, I decided to give it a try in my kitchen.

(Aside from being grounded at home for most of the day when baking bread, when a recipe says, “Put in an warm place for an hour”, I want to say, “If there was a warm place in my apartment, I’d be resting there instead of the dough” because my apartment is barely warmer than outside.)

sugaring stollen

I veered from the recipe, making four small loaves rather than two big ones. And if you’re expecting all that mixing and rising to make a dough that’s puffy and light, this ain’t it. With several cups of dried fruit, candied peel, and nuts, these are dense little dough balls of holiday cheer.

powdered sugar stollen slices

People sometimes make disparaging remarks about Stollen, because the loaves can be dense and not especially delicate. And these were no exception. I liked them because they weren’t too sweet, but they are quite “substantial” in heft. So like Paris in the winter, one shouldn’t expect anything light and spring-like.

Three of my loaves of Stollen got given away as gifts, and I saved one for me. But when that’s gone, I think I’ll brave the elements and head back over to his bakery, and let Eric Kayser do all the work. While I’m no slacker when it comes to do-it-yourself cooking projects, I’m just not a bread baker, and am happy to leave it to others from now on. But if you’re trapped indoors with some time on your hands, kneading some Stollen dough might be just the thing to warm you up.

Stollen

Four individual loaves

Adapted from the New York Times from a recipe by Melissa Clark and Hans Röckenwagner

I made some changes, including adding some rye flour, for extra flavor. But that makes the loaves slightly heavier, so feel free to use all-purpose flour in its place if you wish. You can certainly swap out any dried fruits you want although I’d keep the tang of the dried cherries or cranberries in there, if you can find them; the little nuggets will brighten up your winter just a bit.

2/3 cup (110 g) dark raisins
2/3 cup (110 g) golden raisins (sultanas)
1/2 cup (80 g) dried cranberries or cherries
1/3 cup (80 ml) dark rum or orange juice
1 cup (160 g) slivered or sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup (60 ml) water

  • 2 1/2 (one envelope, 20 g) teaspoons powdered yeast
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk (whole or low-fat), at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (490 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) rye flour (or use similar amount all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) plus 3 tablespoons (45 g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest, preferably unsprayed
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 cup (225 g), plus 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup (50 g) chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup (50 g) diced candied citrus peel
1/2 cup (70 g) powdered sugar, or more, if necessary

1. Mix both kinds of raisins with the cranberries or cherries with the dark rum or orange juice, then cover. In another bowl, mix the almonds with the water, and cover. Let both sit at least an hour, or overnight.

2. Pour the milk in a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir briefly, then stir in 1 cup (140 g) of the flour until smooth to make a starter. Cover, and let rest one hour.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, or by hand, stir together the remaining 2 1/2 cups (350 g) flour, the rye flour, 3 tablespoons (45 g) sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of the dried ginger, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, citrus zest, and vanilla. Pour in the 1 cup (8 ounces, 225 g) of the melted butter, honey, and the egg yolk, and mix on medium speed until the mixture is moistened uniformly.

4. While mixing, add the yeasted starter, one-third at a time, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Once added, continue to beat for about four minutes until almost smooth: it should resemble cookie dough. Add the dried fruits (and any liquid), candied ginger, citrus peel, and almonds, and beat until they’re well-distributed

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead a few times, then place back in the mixer bowl, cover, and let rest in a warm place for one hour.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead the dough again, then return it to the bowl. Let rest for another hour.

7. Divide the dough into four pieces and shape each one into a oval, and place them evenly-spaced apart on an insulated baking sheet.

(The original recipe says to stack two rimmed baking sheets on top of each other, so you can do that if you don’t have one.)

8. Cover the loaves with a clean tea towel and let rest in a warm place for one hour.

9. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Remove the tea towel and bake the loaves for 45 minutes, or until they’re deep golden brown. (Note: Recipe advises that when they’re done, the internal temperature should read 190F, 88C if using an instant-read thermometer.)

10. While they loaves are baking, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar and 1 teaspoon dried ginger. When the breads come out of the oven, generously brush the remaining 3/4 cup (6 ounces, 170 g) melted butter over the hot loaves, letting the butter saturate the breads, repeating until all the butter is absorbed.

(I was a daredevil and lifted the loaves, to saturate the bottoms. Which you can do if you feel nimble enough so you don’t break the loaves.)

11. Rub the gingered sugar mixture over the top and side of each loaf then let rest on the baking sheet until room temperature.

12. Sift the powdered sugar over, under, and around the breads, rubbing it in with your hands. They wrap the loaves on the baking sheet in a large plastic bag and let them sit for two days. After two days, the loaves are ready to eat, or can be wrapped as gifts. You may wish to sift additional powdered sugar over the top in case they need another dusting.

Storage: Stollen can be stored for at least a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature. Or frozen for at least one month.

Interesting Stollen Recipes from Around the Web

Extra Moist Stollen (Dan Lepard)

Marzipan Stollen (LA Times)

Stollen (Sara’s Secrets, Food Network)

Stollen Moments (King Arthur Flour)

Quark Stollen (Delicious Days)

Stollen (Joe Pastry)

Gluten-Free Stollen (Gluten a Go-Go)

Faux Stollen (Roving Gastronome)

Joy of Cooking Stollen (Under the High Chair)

Date, Almond and Clementine Stollen (The British Larder)

*If you do go to Kayser bakery on the rue Montorgeuil around the holidays, do stop in to Stohrer for some Zimtsterne, another favorite Christmas treat in Paris.

77 comments

  • Funny enough, I never thought of stollen as bread, but rather as cake. Anyway I adore the stuff…you should try to make it’s little brother Stollenkonfekt *drool*

  • Stollen looks like quite a delightful Christmas treat, and sounds like a far superior alternative to the tradition of fruitcake. Given that I am stuck indoors until Spring’s thaw and I have no fear of butter, I am looking forward to trying this recipe.

  • We’re starting the Christmas Baking Week-End today, all the German traditions are very important at home… If you try baking a stollen again, you should put some marzipan inside, it’s a lot less dry to eat (I think Eric Kayser’s one has some?).

  • stollen in germany is normally not considered to be a bread but cake. my mom used to tell me that it should be stored for two weeks before eating (wrapped up in aluminium foil) so that it can develop its flavour. it can be stored even longer.

  • Paris in the snow, how lovely!

    Nothing wrong with choosing your dentist based on nearby bakeries! After every cleaning as a reward I go to a wonderful cafe nearby my dentist for an amazing chocolate chip shortbread. It used to be lemon scones, but that cafe closed.

  • Berti and a: Am not sure what the difference between “cake” and “bread” is.

    This has yeast and is kneaded, then shaped into loaves. And it has a lot less sugar than a traditional ‘cake’, so am not sure what the official definition of cake or bread is. Maybe this is a hybrid?

  • I had one when I was younger but I don’t think it was traditional, it was not dense like you describe. However, it sounds a lot like the fruit cakes my grandmother used to make for the holidays. I need to find a bakery that makes the real deal so as to make sure what I am getting. Thanks for the post and the recipe, I bake but not bread, but I may try this recipe once.

  • Hi David. We love Stollen here in snowy Cambridge. We put Marzipan in it though. I Was wondering if i could add it to your recipe and how you think it would affect the outcome? thanks. love the blog and got the macaron recipe book last week.
    Awesome !!!!!

  • Bread vs. cake: This is simply a linguistic question. Just think of the good old banana bread. We’d definitely call that a cake in German, too.

    Paris in the snow really is beautiful … Snow makes everything look so lovely and serene.

  • My grandmother was from Vienna and used to put marzipan in as well. Any suggestions on how to add?

  • shira & stephen: I haven’t tried it with marzipan, so can’t advise. But I linked to a Marzipan Stollen recipe at the end of the post which you might want to try.

    Rotaeffchen: Actually, I asked the same question with my Banana Cake vs Banana Bread post. I think it’s one of the great unresolved issues in baking! ; )

  • I am not quite sure at this point, if I regret having found your blog after losing 34lbs. You are setting me up for my next challenge in life. To learn how to cook good quality food and try to maintain a decent weight! Thanks for sharing all that you do.
    By the way I was one of those ignorant Americans that didn’t know there is ” real” weather in my dream city!

  • i want to steal and eat your stollen. then it will be stolen.
    mwahahahaha.

  • lovely photo of snow in paris. but, my gods, how cold is it that you have to dress for the artic??

  • This is the last thing I have time for today but it sure is tempting!

  • Stollen…..nice.

    BUT YOU HAVE A VIEW OF THE POMIDOU FROM YOUR APARTMENT??????????

    Very envious!

  • for me, loaf shape = bread and the yeast definitely makes it bread. It’s an interesting question though because banana bread is definitely closer to a dessert cake than a crusty bread you would serve with dinner.

  • I’ve been wondering where to get good stollen around here (as I’m fairly certain the mass-produced ones at Casino are not what I’m looking for), so thanks for the tip. And D’oh! I just passed a Maison Kayser and didn’t stop in. Rats. Maybe I’ll just have to make my own.

  • I think I may have to try this. I’ve never had stollen before and this looks far better than everything I’ve seen in the stores.

  • Feine Backwaren werden aus Teigen oder Massen durch Backen, Rösten, Trocknen oder andere Verfahren hergestellt. Im Unterschied zu Brot und Kleingebäck enthalten sie mehr als zehn Teile Fett und Zucker auf 90 Teile Getreide beziehungsweise Getreideerzeugnisse und/oder Stärke.
    http://www.was-wir-essen.de/abisz/backwaren.php

    Pastry Products are made from doughs that are baked, roasted, dried or procecced in any other way. The difference between bread or cookies and pastry products is that the latter contain more than ten parts of fat and sugar to 90 parts cereals or ceral products and/or starch respectively.

    My somewhat clumsy translation of the definition of pastry products from an affiliated page of the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

    What that basically means is that Stollen are cake and not bread. I somehow feel very German right now :-D

  • I just came across my Grandmother’s handwritten Stollen recipe. It is at least 60 years old. She was Norwegian and we used to have Yulebra (sp?) which is a lighter version of Stollen with dried fruits, raisins and a wee bit of cardamom. I’ll have to compare your recipe to hers–after another cup of coffee.

  • Wow that recipe really makes a doughy cake, doesn’t it? Honestly, it looks more like fruitcake than Stollen, though. I think it might be the recipe. If I remember correctly, the Stollen I tried in Germany was definitely more like a bread and soft. The texture is hard to describe, but it shouldn’t look like the texture in the photo :P

  • Amy: This indeed is a rather dense stollen. The picture in the Times show a similar texture, so it’s intended to be that way. I don’t mind it that way, but it is different than some of the other Stollens, which I linked to so people could see some of the other interesting ones out there.

    Berit: Well, I sure don’t want to argue with the German Ministry! Thanks~

  • No problem :-D

  • Beste David.
    Could You please have a look at this page of Arden’s foodblog I often read with as much pleasure as yours.
    http://uitdekeukenvanarden.blogspot.com
    Unfortunately it is in Dutch but if you like i can translate the “Stol- story” ( 15 december)
    Stollen are eaten a lot this time of year here in the Netherlands. They are defenitely not as ‘dense’ as you describe. ( Nowadays the stol is very commercialized and they managed to make us eat it with Eastern and Pentecote as well but then with a slightly different filling)

  • SAF makes a yeast specifically for high sugar doughs. It’s amazing what a difference the yeast makes when baking stollen. We’ve used the Gold Label SAF for all our stollens and feasted on a lighter, more bread texture stollen.

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/saf-gold-instant-yeast-16-oz

  • Oh, David – if you ever do get an inkling to visit the tundra, I will welcome you with open, slightly frost-bitten arms. I live, apparently, in the coldest place on Earth
    (well, after Siberia). I had to trek out to write a couple of exams this past week, and after my last one, I decided to walk 6 blocks to a local chocolate shop to celebrate the end of term. Once I got the feeling back in my extremities, I had the sudden urge to punch myself in the face – but then I had a bite of Domori Porcelana and thought better of it. I do plan to hibernate, though, until I can walk outside without my nose hairs freezing (it’s lucky the sun shines all the time, or I think life here would just shut down for a few weeks); the stollen might be a nice project to occupy my time. :)

  • About marzipan Stollen, and Stollen generally:

    It was my understanding that Stollen is traditionally baked in a very specific shape. Form an oval of the dough. Place a log of marzipan in the middle if you like. Fold the dough over most BUT NOT ALL of the way to the other edge; you see the two distinct layers, and the top doesn’t fully cover the bottom. Thus it looks like a blanket folded over to keep the baby christ child warm. (Marzipan = Christ Child?!)

    I have also read that you should use CLARIFIED butter to bathe the Stollen before the sugar coating, because clarified butter won’t go rancid in storage, and Stollen can be stored for several weeks at room temperature. I don’t know if this really makes a difference though. Personally I omit the butter/sugar coating. My friends and colleagues have yet to complain.

    The cranberries and cherries are perhaps not traditional but are very beautiful – dried apricots are nice in this unorthodox regard, too. Ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and rye flour are not ingredients I’ve seen in Stollen before (cardamom, yes) but I would very happily try some of this!

    I don’t understand why anyone buys/makes/eats panettone when they could be having Stollen. Why have something light and airy when you can have something rich and dense?

  • Ok, I might have to fast from your site. Every time I come here, I am somehow bound to make what you describe. I can’t keep up. I have three small children, and someday they’ll grow up and tell people that they think they had a mother, but all they remember is some really tired woman in the kitchen who kept handing them slices of stollen spread with lemon curd.

    Maybe just go back to the posts where you talk about all the things I can’t do, like hop on a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean or do an in-flight wine tasting? Then I can just envy you from afar, which takes far less energy and kitchen time.

  • David, I was ready to laugh at you, because I live in a city as cold as that poor woman from Edmonton and I don’t put on that many layers until it gets to be -30ish!

    But then I read about your apartment and you do have my condolences, because nothing is worse than a cold apartment.

  • We are big fans of Stollen in my family and we, I admit it, purchase it at Trader Joe’s. Your recipe looks really tempting but I don’t think that I have the time/patience to make such a long cake with two little kids running around. I’ll keep my butter and energy for une Galette des Rois because, that’s something we can’t find here and that we all miss! I wish I could go back “home” for Christmas! Enjoy despite the snow, the grisaille and the Parisians mood!

  • for the longest time, I too, thought Paris never got heavy snowy winters or the cold. boy was I wrong!
    I have never made stollen, I have to be honest, I always thought it was awful, but now looking at these photos of yours I am so wrong.

  • You have had some very interesting comparable recipes here over time and this is just delightful to do on a nasty cold winter day. I did see on CNBC that the temperatures in Paris, plus snow, were not pleasant, by any means. So, I guess the thermals you had your francophile cousin bring you in the past are helpful, eh? When we visited with you in January 2007, the weather that year was somewhat different–on the cool side, but there were plenty of spring plants out blooming on the Rive Gauche there across from our hotel. My neighbors from Mass, who have an apartment in Rome and are there twice a year, said it is quite nice and not cold there. Maybe a quick sojourn south to Rome would help.

  • Thanks for this recipe, David, my dad loves stollen. Last one I had didn’t quite hit the high mark for him.

    I bet Paris is beautiful in the snow. Keep yerself warm, skip the baking and go to the hot toddies next post! :)

  • I am going to steal this stollen ;-D .. I’m going to make this. So so beautiful.

  • Although I couldn’t help but envisioning you in a “wispy Victoria’s Secret teddy” for a brief moment, I’m sure your “mittens, winter cap, silk undershirt, a thermal top, a sweater, a vest of polarfleece…wool overcoat, all finished with an expertly-tied scarf” is much more becoming ;-)

    The fruitcake bars are delicious, thank you!

  • The stollen looks wonderful-the view from your place priceless and so beautiful with the snow! My husband spent the day baking here – chocolate chip cookies and walnut, craisin, orange scones. House smells wonderful. He hasn’t tackled stollen yet…..thank you for your blogs David. We really enjoy them so much.

  • I was just thinking that tomorrow may be a bread baking day because of possible record snows for NY.

    Also your comment about your cold apt made me laugh because my parents house is always freezing, mainly because my mom is some sort of half penguin or something and thinks 50 degrees it too hot. Whenever I visit, I cook with my jacket on and a hot cup of tea standing by.

  • Good god, these loaves look delectable. Right now in southeastern PA, there’s enough snow on the ground and still coming down, to deter any trips to the grocery. So I’ll make do with my stash of raisins and spices for tomorrow’s baking.

  • Oh my gosh, this looks so good, I am with you though, why bake bread, when there are professionals that do it so much better. I’d like to try this recipe, I did fruit cakes last week, and was thinking of doing panettone next, but this sparks my interest more. Thanks for the recipe, and the description of winter in Paris, somehow I never thought it got that cold there.

  • David, I also have a cold, drafty apartment that makes it a challenge to find the warm place for dough to rise (outside of the time the dog ate six raw chocolate croissants I’d left on a too low table near a heat source; when she threw them up, they looked like they had doubled in size. The temptation to bake them and serve them to a belligerent co-worker was strong). Anyway, I plead guilty to baking sometimes just to heat up the apartment a little.

  • Just had some this morning-my sister made it-and oh, I love it too. Hers is also dense (but not w/marzipan), not too sweet, and with candied fruits and this time made with addition of figs, giving it a slight floral note at the end. We like to toast it for breakfast, then smear even a little more butter on the face. Sinful, I know-but so darn good!

  • Jessica, Saffron, and Skippy: The other morning I woke up, and my apartment was toasty-warm. I was shocked! Then I realized I had baked something the night before and forgot to turn the oven off. I don’t recommend heating your apartment with your oven, but perhaps we need to spend more time baking : )

    (Skippy, and I love that your dog ate your raw croissants. Ha!)

    Denise: I think I am the only adult in Paris that wears mittens, but my hands get too cold in the winter in just gloves. I did buy those silk glove liners, which are wonderful. But the mittens stay on—until March…

    Iona: It’s actually hard to get yeast in France, which I think is because there’s so many bakeries, few people bake bread. Although that’s changing and bread machines have become popular with a certain segment of the population. I’ve tried SAF yeast here (which is French, but noticed the one that King Arthur sells is made in Mexico), which I find a little weak, so I brought back some yeast on my last trip to the US just to see the difference.

    Because this dough is so dense, it would likely benefit from a yeast such as the one your described. Thanks for the tip!

    Victor & Rijk: It seems there are lots of variations on Stollen, aren’t there! It’s interesting to see how recipes evolve both within their cultures, and outside of them.

  • I had almost nixed this project, though it’s a family favorite. Your recipe inspired renewed impetus (nothing like a “new” version to spur on the challenge.) Too bad them that loves it drank all the dark rum AND the whiskey substitute (which I wanted for shortbread) that’s in my “baking cupboard.” Just to trick me, “they” left the empty bottles as a neat surprise. Need new hiding place.

    Now it’s pummeling snow, impossible to go out til late in the day. In Julia Child’s My Life in France she talks about the Paris cold….you’re right, not what immediately comes to mind…stay warm.

  • I used to live in Canada and wore mittens — the only way I could keep my hands warm — gloves just don’t work in 20 degree weather!

  • oops I meant to say 20 degree below weather

  • I am PROUD to be your example of someone who is unafraid of butter. Coming from someone who lives in Paris, that is an honor. But Daveed, can you make stollen with butter-flavored Crisco?

  • Hope you staying warm David? Maybe you should bake some of the stollen if only to keep your oven on!!
    Could you please give us a post on how you’re coping with global warming? (couldn’t resist!:0

  • reminds me of home. in Austria we eat lots of Stollen.

  • I loved reading your post. Paris in the snow looks lovely. Cold!!! The bread looks and sounds delicious. I love the dried fruits that make it dense and chewy, but have no time left to make these pretty little loaves. Must be off to mark some things off my list. Happy Holidays!

  • Your stollen looks perfect… – that’s the kind of stollen I would have as a child in North Easter France so I look forward to it!

  • David !
    Thank you for a wonderfull post,and reminder of days past.I am 71 yrs young, and,as a DP (displaced person) in Germany,right after WWII at age 6-7, I ate
    Stollen.Of course I loved it, having been so hungry for such a long time. To this
    day,I have no idea where the German ladies found the ingredients. As to keeping warm,try it at -34F in Fairbanks, Alaska. Again, thank you. T

  • Teresa, Paris in November feels colder than Alaska in December. Trust me, I’ve done the comparison in person.

    Regarding the marzipan, this is a regional thing. Stollen with marzipan is called Leibziger Christstollen (or Weihnachtsstollen), whereas stollen without is sold in the western parts of Germany. Putting marzipan in is heresy IMHO, but I’ll admit it’s delicious.

    And I don’t want to be mean, but the stollen pictured here looks a bit too dense. Apartment too cold = unhappy yeast?

  • I’m going to make this on Christmas Eve — wish me luck!

  • Dense bread for the winter? That looks almost too hard to be a bread.

  • Hi David,

    I’ve got a good friend who’s an excellent baker and is nice enough to send me her home-baked stollen, which I’m eagerly waiting right now. Hers as I remembered was also quite dense in texture, but not heavy at all – I mean, she uses a hefty lot of butter so it’s not light, I know, but well, my point is, yours look good to me, whether it is bread or cake.

    I’ve recently tried one from Maison Kayser in Tokyo, by the way, and I must be honest to say I wasn’t all that impressed. It wasn’t bad, but the thick icing made the whole thing way too sweet and I really couldn’t taste the dough. Even with the icing rubbed off, it still wasn’t particularly good. Then again, breads/pastries from Maison Kayser in Japan are known to be hardly the same as the ones you have in Paris, after all.

    Take care, enjoy (looking at) the snow!

  • paris is still my favorite city on earth…snow and all.

  • O: Yes, it’s a pretty dense loaf. But I compared mine to the photo in the New York Times, where the recipe is from (linked in the post & recipe), and it looks exactly the same. I think it’s just a denser version than many folks might be used to. Although the chilly apartment might be taking it’s toll, and not just on me!

    deb: N’existe pas en France!

  • You can find the fresh yeast at the ‘boulanger’ – mine can sell you as many as you want (if they have it). I also ufind the fresh yeast cube in my local supermarket (Carrefour), near the pâtisserie. I have stopped using dried yeast since I discovered that you can find fresh yeast in France also.

  • This sounds a little heretical, but after years of slaving over the yeast stuff, my family now makes a quickbread version of stollen. Given that even the yeast-bread version is so dense, there’s not much of a difference in the end result–and you can put a batch together in less than an hur. There’s still plenty of butter in it, which is what matters to me! I posted the recipe this year on my blog:

    http://rovinggastronome.com/mainblog/2009/12/09/faux-stollen-just-as-tasty-as-the-real-thing/

  • Looks delish! I don’t blame you for staying inside! I wish I could have done the same, but I have school. Maybe I’ll be luckier when I make it to college.

    Anyway, don’t blame you for adding some rye flour for flavor. I’ll have to try this recipe soon. Until then, it will be bookmarked.

    Great post, David!

  • David,

    After 3 lovely years we have just moved back to Australia from Paris – and it seems we left too soon (or just in time if you’re my husband!) – 10 days ago it was still averaging above 5 degrees. I so wish I had those last moments in the snow! However I can’t complain as we have spent the last week by the pool, wearing almost less than one layer.

    And so we have Christmas in Australia, where the idea of a traditional hot pudding has me melting into a puddle! But you have wonderfully solved the problem – Stollen – not pudding, but still – lots of prep and more dried fruit than you could hope to eat in one sitting. Thank you.

  • I bought my hubby a Stollen last week and he is just LOVING every fattening morsel of it! I will definitely leave it up to the professionals when it comes to the baking side of things :)

  • Hello David –

    Love your site & your books…I’m always inspired after I’ve seen your blog!

    I followed your stollen recipe & it look fabulous! Its on day 2 of its “nap” snuggled in powder sugar & wrapped tightly in wrap…Can’t wait to sample it!

    If you’d like to take a peek, I have lots of pics:

    http://www.gourmethotdishdisasters.blogspot.com

    Thanks for all you do!

    Happy Holidays,
    Angela
    San Diego, CA

  • We have had this every year for the holidays since I was born (in Germany). I looked forward to it every year. Now my mother lives in Tacoma, Wa and gets it from an incredible german bakery just down the road. Ours have always had powdered sugar/icing sugar on top, which I’ve grown to prefer. Gosh they’re good.

  • Dear David,

    Thank you so much for approving of my stollen recipe. Thank you for the link. I was interested on joining on one of you walks on Paris as I have this burning desire to conquer Paris as I never had a pleasant foodie experience when visiting (and I have been to Paris many times). You are a busy man as all your walks seem to be fully booked. Any how I suppose I will have to book now for 2011.

  • There is one good reason to bake your own bread at home – the entire house smells absolutely wonderful!!! Don’t you agree?? But I get what you mean that Paris does have so many bakeries so getting fresh bread is just too easy. By the way, I absolutely adored Paris when I visited in October for my honeymoon. The weather was great – even though it was a little rainy. But I bet it must be gorgeous with the powdery white snow… perfect for the holidays.

  • OMG!

    I made a double batch of this Stollen a couple of days ago (which nearly did my KitchenAid mixer in!) and was expecting another dry German confection.

    I cut one of those babies open this evening and I’ve never had such a delicious morsel of Christmas cake.

    I used the buckwheat flour; I used dried cherries and dried cranberries; I soaked the dried fruit in dark rum and the almonds in tangerine juice; I mixed candied lemon and orange peel in equal parts; I clarified the butter for the final soaking and was easily able to brush the undersides of the loaves; I lowered oven temp to about 300 for the final 20 minutes of baking to keep the undersides from getting too brown.

    I highly recommend this recipe. Total time from start to finish was about 5.5 hours for me.

    Thanks, David and Joyeux Noel!

  • Wonderful! We pumped out eight stollen yesterday and the place smelled heavenly. They are now all dusted in icing sugar and wrapped in cellophane to be given out to friends & family tonight.
    Thanks for linking to me!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Hi David,

    Merry Christmas! My husband made a batch of stollen last week and he rested the dough in the fridge. It rose perfectly. His recipe was from “das Bayrisches Kochbuch” and is very similar to yours. German breads tend to be quite dense.

    Thank you for your culinairy inspiration,
    Tuti

  • I know this is what you do for a living but I am still impressed you had all these ingredients on hand.

  • David, my German friend Donna does not cook and bake, and this is a year when she cannot get home to her family. I am going to make this for her and give her the gift of Stollen.
    Thanks for posting the recipe, and I love the term Grisaille applied to Paris in the Winter!

  • It is traditional to include marzipan inside the stollen. Depending on the size of the loaf of stollen (usually about 1 lb.), make small logs of marzipan (2-3 oz.) and lay them in the dough before final shaping. This adds an extra texture and lovely almond flavor.

    Yes, do use clarified butter! Stollen is meant to last for a few months and clarified butter lends a “cleaner” flavor.

    Recently, I was teaching a pastry class where a gentleman told me about his father, a german baker, who made his stollen every year and stored it in the cellar, uncovered. He said it lasted 2+ months and was never dry or crumbly. Most of us don’t have cellars, but having a cold apartment like David is good for stollen!

  • made this for Christmas! I did include some marzipan inside and did 3 loaves instead of 4. I couldn’t bring myself to use quite as much butter as you did, but it turned out fine (I think).

  • Inspired by my pal Antje from Berlin, and having–as we say here in Australia–a few ‘roos loose in the top paddock myself (loose translation – I am nuts), I made stollen following David’s recipe a few days before Christmas.

    Our Christmas is hot and humid, and this year was no exception. The festive season means seafood, mangoes, cherries and watermelon, but the need for northern hemisphere culinary expressions of Christmas are strong. Our house is on the coast (at sea level), humidity about 100%, and the temperature in the high 30s (celsius), but bake stollen I did.

    I used plain flour, dried yeast, dried cranberries, and the prescribed abundance of clarified butter, but no alcohol or marzipan for the recipe, which worked a treat, thanks to David’s detailed and specific instructions.

    Keeping things cool here is a priority, but the two loaves for domestic consumption (the others were gifts) have kept well after being wrapped and stored in the coolest area of my pantry. We like it best toasted, and well, a little extra butter can’t be a bad thing either.

    Bonne annee to all.

  • David, I made this, and I cannot describe it as anything but delicious, because that’s what it is. I wasn’t planning on it, but I am certainly going to go out of my way to make more of this, because with only one batch, I can’t bear to give any of it away. Seriously. Thank you.

  • This Stollen is absolutely fabulous! If it is different than German bakery Stollen ( I lived in Germany for 4 years and had plenty…) it is because the recipe affords more expensive ingredients, i.e. more dried fruit, more rum, more spices. No bakery would be able to be competitive with such expensive ingredients. True, German Stollen can be drier and crumblier, but I’m not sure whether that is an attribute or a failing!
    Loved it and it was pretty easy to make. Just plan to stay home…