I really love to bake and a few years ago, I wanted to give Christmas gifts of baking for the chefs and co-workers at the restaurant and market I worked at. So I started exploring traditional and unique things from cultures around the world. I came across this holiday German Ginger Orange Stollen recipe. I was so taken by the look of it with all of that powdered sugar on top and it looked like it had been found in a sugary snow storm. I never had it before so I had no idea what it would taste like and that’s all part of the fun of baking something new. I was told that one of my grandmothers uncle’s were German. That could be what drew me to it. I’m glad I was.
This was also the same year I baked the traditional Italian Panettone from scratch. You know, those pretty wrapped loves of bread or cake if you will, that you see in all the high end stores at holiday time. I didn’t know how involved this was until I tackled it but was well worth the effort too. Eataly is a great source for getting an authentic Panettone and comes in so many flavors! Check out this post for that and more things Italian.
Ok, back to the Stollen. Those piles of powdered sugar got me with the dried fruits and almonds that get soaked in Cointreau overnight AND an ambrosian center of marzipan was all it took. I have made this German Stollen a total of 3 times and it has been about 3 years since I last made it and was requested every year since! I couldn’t let another year go by without making it again. Not only was I amazed at how flavorful this bread is, but other people I gave it to as gifts had their eyes open to something new.
What exactly is it? Here is the Wikipedia definition:
|A Christmas Stollen|
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Region or state||Saxony|
|Main ingredients||Candied fruit or dried fruit, nuts, spices (cardamom and cinnamon); sugar, powdered sugar or icing sugar|
|Cookbook: Stollen Media: Stollen|
Stollen (German pronunciation: [ˈʃtɔlən] (listen) or [ʃtɔln] (listen)) is a fruit bread of nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit, coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar. It is a traditional German bread eaten during the Christmas season, when it is called Weihnachtsstollen (after “Weihnachten“, the German word for Christmas) or Christstollen (after Christ).
You can read so much more history about Stollen. There is even a festival for stollen that takes place in Dresden. You will also find many different recipes, but they will have the same elements in common.
One really great thing about this treat is that you can and should make it 2-3 weeks BEFORE you want to eat it. That’s right, this bread gets better the longer it sits so if you are planning to make it for Christmas, plan ahead and make it as soon as December arrives. You may need to make some mini loaves so you can try out your handy work or so no one with cut the main ones before you’re ready to serve them.
The first time I made mini loves and dotted them with marcona almonds to decorate and used pistachio paste inside instead of marzipan. The second time I also made mini loaves, but without the dried fruits and nuts and filled them with marzipan and almond paste. This last time I did every thing and split the recipe into 2 loaves. One had marzipan and the other had a pistachio paste filling as you can see in the photos.
This is a yeast dough but doesn’t get too big when is has time to rest. I suppose because of the fruits and nuts. If you have a dough hook this will help a great deal but is not necessary. You can knead the dough by hand.
The dough gets its Christmas scent from orange zest, cardamom, nutmeg, dried citrus peel, ground ginger, and that lovely ‘drunken’ dried fruit. Before the powdered sugar is piled, the loaves get a sprinkle of sugar spiced up with cardamom all over. You also would think this bread was crazy sweet, but it really isn’t. I mean it’s sweet yes, but not a sickly sweet. Everything balances perfectly.
BTW: It freezes beautifully! That’s if it even makes it there.
Make sure you have enough room in your kitchen for the steps and an area for buttering and dusting the sugar layers. As with any multi layered recipes, prepping is key.
Make this 2-3 weeks before for the best flavor.
Make sure you use dried fruits like cherries, cranberries, golden raisons, candied citrus peel
The liquor can be switched out from Cointreau to Grand Marnier or Rum. Just make sure you soak the fruit overnight for maximum flavor.
Use the freshest ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and yeast.
Don’t leave out the orange zest.
The dough will only rise a little unlike traditional yeast doughs that will double in size.
Brush with melted butter immediately after it comes out of the oven so the bread can soak it up and use ALL of the butter. The bread needs this to keep it moist while it sits.
Use ALL of the powdered sugar. The more you use, the better it looks and will keep.
Wrap securely with parchment paper a few times and put in a covered container.
Ginger Orange Stollen
Traditional Christmas recipe
- 1 cup golden raisons or other dried fruit of choice chopped into small bits of the same size
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 2/3 cup liqueur like Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or Spiced Rum
- 1 1/2 cups butter 3 sticks ) softened
- 1/3 cup whole milk not skim
- 2 large eggs
- 4 1/3 cups AP flour
- 1 1/3 cups almond flour/meal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp fresh yeast
- 1/2 cup candied lemon peel
- 1/2 cup candied orange peel
- Zest of one large orange
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cardamom plus 1 tsp for cardamom sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 oz marzipan, pistachio, or almond paste for filling plus 1 oz marzipan for the dough
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Butter or oil for greasing the bowl
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugaar
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
A day in advance of baking:
Mix dried fruit, nuts and liqueur together in a bowl and let them sit overnight.
Day of baking:
Heat up milk to lukewarm. In a 2 cup measuring cup or medium size bowl mix the yeast in the milk with a fork until it is dissolved. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar and 3 tbsp flour. Cover with plastic and let sit for 20 minutes. This will rise quite a bit.
In a mixer with the dough hook, combine the yeast mixture, flour, nutmeg, ground ginger, cardamom, orange zest, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla, almond flour and 1 oz marzipan and knead until dough forms.
Add soaked fruit and nuts to the dough. You may need to do this by hand. make sure the mixture is evenly incorporated.
Cover the dough and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
Preheat you oven to 350F
Punch down and knead the dough again. Divide into 2 if making 2 loaves. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Form each of the 2 doughs into an oval shaped loaf at least 3 inches apart. To make the loaves, flatten one side of the dough. Shape the marzipan or pistachio paste into a long log about an inch in diameter and place about 3 inches from the edge not quite in the middle and keeping 2 inches at each end. Bring up the flattened end about 1/4 up, then press out and fold over the other side about 3/4 over closing up the loaf. The dough should be hugging the marzipan. There should be a small mound on top of the loaf. Make sure the loaf is sealed all around.
Bake the stollen for about 45 -60 minutes until there are golden brown. You know they are done when the loaves sound hollow when knocking on the bottom.
While the bread is baking, melt the butter and make the cardamom sugar to sprinkle on top.
Immediately brush the loaves with the melted butter. Don’t forget to brush the bottoms. Continue to let the loaves soak up the butter then add another layer. Then sprinkle each loaf with the cardamom sugar.
Put on a cooling rack and let completely cool. This will take about an hour.
On a large baking sheet, liberally coat the loaves with the powdered sugar. ( Don’t wear black like I did. )
Wrap the loaves in parchment paper and seal well. Store in a covered container. Cover with another layer of powdered sugar before slicing and serving.
This bread can be sliced and put into the freezer and stored up to 6 months! Just wrap it tightly. It actually gets better the longer it sits so you can make this way ahead of time for gifts and the holidays!