Marzipan Stollen

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I have long extolled the virtues of Stollen, the classic German holiday yeasted fruitcake, as not only one of the tastiest ways to get your holiday-bread-shaped-like-baby-Jesus-in-the-manger fix, but as an extremely easy and forgiving bread to make.

This was evident when my colleague Susan and I were charged with making the Stollen for our baking school graduation. We tossed all the ingredients into the mixer and turned our attention to the half-dozen or so other breads on our day’s agenda. Almost an hour later, our cries of “Aaaaahhhh, the Stollen!” brought our panicked instructor running, and once he determined that the bakery was not burning down, he shot us a glare that demanded to know why two grown women couldn’t manage to act more dignified (especially considering, I suppose, the hallowed origins of this bread). The forgotten Stollen, however, didn’t care at all; the mixer was chugging along, with the Stollen dough swirling cheerfully and patiently inside. Most breads are ruined by excessive mixing, but it was going to take much, much more to get this baby’s swaddling in a twist.

My Stollen this year proved itself, fittingly, to be further willing to forgive; I inadvertently left the egg out of the dough, and nothing bad happened. Butter, sugar, and rum-soaked fruit save one from a multitude of sins, it seems.

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This year for the first time, I folded a small rope of marzipan inside each loaf. This is traditional in some versions, but not mandatory, so feel free to leave it out. Or use twice as much, if you prefer.

The shaping of the Stollen is slightly more involved than the mixing, but even here, whatever you do will be forgiven. (Remember: you have butter, sugar, rum-soaked fruits–and, of course, baby Jesus–on your side.) Once the dough has been divided, preshaped into balls and bench-rested, the shaping proceeds like this:

Form a blunt-ended batard and flatten it slightly with your hand. With a thin rolling pin or wooden spoon handle placed lengthwise and just off-center, press down firmly, separating the dough into two sections. Roll out the cleft connecting the sections so it is about an inch wide.

stollen-shape-2-wild-yeast-300 stollen-shape-2a-wild-yeast-300

Roll marzipan (about 45 grams for a small loaf) into a rope about an inch shorter than the dough’s length. Place the marzipan rope in the cleft and tuck the dough up around the ends. Fold the smaller section of dough over to rest upon the larger one. If there are fruits on the surface, prick them off and tuck them back inside so they don’t burn during baking.

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Marzipan Stollen

Yield: 1500 g (4 small loaves)

Time:

  • Soak the fruits: 12 hours
  • Mix and ferment sponge: 12 hours (can be simultaneous with fruit-soaking)
  • Mix dough: 20 – 30 minutes
  • First fermentation : 30 minutes
  • Preshape, rest, and shape: 30 minutes
  • Proof: 90 minutes
  • Bake: 30 minutes

Soaker Ingredients:

(Note: It’s easy to make your own candied citrus peel. Here’s one recipe.)

  • 204 g raisins
  • 61 g candied orange peel
  • 92 g candied lemon peel
  • 82 g slivered almonds
  • 34 g rum

Sponge Ingredients:

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 348 grams flour
  • 53 grams milk
  • 18.6 grams (2 Tablespoons) osmotolerant yeast or 25.3 grams (2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 8 grams (1-1/3 teaspoons) salt
  • 8 grams (2-1/3 teaspoons) diastatic malt powder (omit if you don’t have it)
  • 51 grams sugar
  • 53 grams egg (about one large egg)
  • 5 grams grated lemon zest (one average lemon)
  • 5 grams grated orange zest (one small orange)
  • 1/3 teaspoon of each of these ground spices: cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, allspice, nutmeg
  • 273 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (should be pliable)
  • all of the sponge
  • all of the soaker
  • about 180 grams of marzipan, divided into four pieces

Finishing Ingredients:

  • clarified butter
  • fine granulated sugar
  • powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

Method:

  1. Combine the soaker ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for about 12 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the sponge ingredients in another medium bowl. Cover and ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the final dough ingredients except the soaker and the marzipan. Mix in slow speed until all the ingredients are incorporated, about 4 or 5 minutes.
  4. Continue mixing in medium speed until the gluten reaches full development. The dough should come together around the hook and should no longer stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl. This could take about 20 minutes or more, but will depend on your mixer.
  5. Add the soaked fruits and mix on slow speed just until they are evenly distributed through the dough.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered container. Cover and ferment for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  7. Turn the dough onto the counter. Divide into four pieces of about 375 grams each. Preshape the dough into balls and let them rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
  8. Shape the loaves as shown above and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets (two per sheet). Slip them into a large plastic bag with a bowl of warm water. Proof for about 90 minutes, replenishing the water when it cools.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F on convection setting or 400F on regular bake setting. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes, open the oven door briefly to allow any remaining steam to escape, and bake for another 15-20 minutes. If you do not have convection, you may need to rotate the position of the baking sheets halfway through the bake to ensure even browning.
  11. While the loaves are still warm, brush them with clarified butter. Dredge them in fine granulated sugar, brushing off the excess.
  12. When cool, sift powdered sugar over the loaves. You can leave the stollen out overnight to let the loaves dry and the sugar crust up a bit.
  13. To store, wrap tightly in foil; it will keep for several days.
  14. To serve, slice thinly.

Susan

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    I love stollen :-) and it is really forgiving, that’s right. I stopped kneading intensively since a professional baker (which stollen wins awards regularly) told me that he kneads only until everything is well combined. I tried and it works very well indeed.
    But I have to argue a little bit about point 13 in the recipe :-) A “real” german stollen has to be stored at least two weeks (better four or longer) to let it ripe. That’s why here in Germany the stollen is baked already in November (or latest on first advent to be served during the christmas holidays). The flavour will develop during this time and the consistency will change, too. Either it will get very dry (bad recipe) or it will get a firmer, but mellow and moist consistency (good recipe). Some years ago I started to use water rough in my stollen recipe and that makes a really moist stollen.
    Merry christmas to you from Germany!

    • says

      Stefanie, you are so correct. I bake my stollen/s the latest at the beginning of December to get a 3-week resting period on the refrigerator. The flavour is wonderful and the ‘crumb’ sets beautifully.

    • says

      I have made stollen several times and love it. But when I went to ‘age’ it one time, it did get stale. So I am guessing that my recipe was one of the ‘bad’ ones. I will try yours this next season. We always eat some fresh, but I will try to save some for aging and see how it improves. Thanks.

  2. mehmet says

    i wonder if it is possible to make this without using a mixer. i guess the kneading time would be very long since it takes 20 mins with a mixer, it would be at least 40 mins kneading. any suggestions ? and also would you advise baking this with sourdough ?

    • Eric says

      I grew up with Stollen every Christmas. My family is all German and my mother did not have a mixer. So yes, she used her hands to mix this and it was not a fun task and cringes when I mention it to her ;))

  3. Gilda Tristão de Oliveira says

    Mehmet, I use my bread maker to to the kneading, in the kneading function and take the dough out to rise as explained in the recipe . It works very well. I have been doing this for 3 years now, with the previous stollen recipe dear Susan posted.

    • mehmet ali says

      i tried the recipe without mixer and my friends loved it :) thank you very much for the recipe.

      next time i ll replace the sponge with sourdough to see how it works. i have %100 hydration sourdoug so i ll go with 160 grams + 40 grams flour. the dough was a bit too sticky to knead with hands, but as i said it turned out well, i kneaded about 25-30 minutes in total.

  4. Gilda Tristão de Oliveira says

    Susan, this looks amazing and is a “must try” for sure. Hope Christmas was great and wish you a Happy New Year.

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  6. shelly matheis says

    Love this website, but it always seems to go quiet right after Christmas. Last year the recipe for Panettone was up for several months

  7. Nancy says

    Mine got very dark and lots of the fruit burned on the outside. Flavor is excellent and we’ll see how well it keeps!

  8. Kathy says

    I want to thank you for all the wonderful recipes, instruction, and inspiration over the years of your blog. Even though it has been a year since you posted, I still check back from time to see if there is something new. I know these things run their course. Best wishes

  9. mlaiuppa says

    What has happened to Wild Yeast? Over a year since this post. Did you move? Is this subscription only now?

  10. says

    It look absolutely beautiful I must say. I do not bake my own bread often, but you just made me. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

  11. says

    you making my hungry..just to share whenever I feel baking/ chef role inside of me,
    is i limit the flour, its like 2:1 ratio, flour between water, for example.. every 4oz of bread flour, is 2 oz of water…

  12. says

    Oh yeah! They are so adorable~~ Thank you for sharing!! Love these stuff very much >.< With these I think I will start drawing my own

  13. says

    I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. I hope I will see again..

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  15. Tim Stopper says

    I love this blog and have passed Norwich sourdough recipe on too many of my friends who are home Bakers. A question about this holiday stollen recipe. What are your thoughts on using a Sourdough for fermentation? Thanks, and happy baking!

  16. says

    A great and new dish from the familiar ingredients. Most importantly, you teach very detailed and easy to understand. Thanks a lot. I will cook for my family.

  17. says

    Thanks for another informative web site. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I’m just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

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