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Christmas Stollen~Daring Bakers’ Challenge

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The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
I had never seen, made, nor tasted Stollen before this challenge. Oh, my, it is good!  Even the dough tasted wonderful…infused with orange, lemon and cinnamon…the aroma in my kitchen was incredible!  I am sending this to my father-in-law as he and I seem to be the only ones in the family who truly enjoy fruit and nuts in our bread. It is a beautiful and delicious holiday bread.  Thank you, Penny, for this outstanding recipe!

Stollen Wreath…recipe from Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking

Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people


¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk
10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins
3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath
Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.


Soak the raisins. In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside. See Note under raisins.

To make the dough

Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. 
Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts. 

In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.
Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It 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 mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red! 

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). 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 dough onto the counter because 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.

Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want. 

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. 

Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.

Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.

Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.

The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.

Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents! 

When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm


The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.

1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap. 

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17 comments on “Christmas Stollen~Daring Bakers’ Challenge”

  1. WoW!!!! Lizzy that stollen looks perfect and I’m sure delicious! I’ve never made one before myself. Your father-in-law will be happy to receive this. You did an amazingly good job on the Stollen Wreath.
    Lambeau :-)))))

  2. Your stollen is beautiful. And I’m so glad to got to learn about stollen, it’s one of my favorite holiday treats. There’s nothing quite like homemade Stollen! 🙂 You did an amazing job on the Stollen wreath.

    Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels

  3. Lizzy … Your Stollen is absolutely gorgeous!!!!

  4. Lizzy-I’m so far behind with comments; have to start back from your coconut bark, the Bethlehem cookies, sweet Lambeau in the snow (freezing?) and of course you gorgeous stollen. What a baking week you’ve had…and still keep going, staying “skinny” like my daughter, Lora…sheesh! If I keep gazing at all your beuatiful and delicious goodies, I will gain 5 lbs, just doing that!

    Seriously, your stollen is a labor of love, and I am so impressed with the way it turned out (why wouldn’t it?)
    Printed out your recipe, and will try it for next year…God willing.
    Merry Christmas to you my friend, and to your loved ones!

  5. Absolutely beautiful, lizzy. What a project though!! I adore a bread like this. Not too sweet.

  6. Lindsey, Erica, Lizzie and Kim! You are ALL so lovely and generous with your compliments! Thank you! Kim, wish I could take credit for the excellent explanation/recipe, but Penny deserves the praise. Merry Christmas to you all…looking forward to 2011 and more baking 🙂

  7. Thanks, Sandra! A big WHEW that it turned out~

  8. Thank you so much, SugarPlumFairy and Lora! Glad we all can enjoy the holidays with such yummy treats! Happy baking 🙂

  9. Aw, thanks, Leef! I’m on a roll with breads…may have to try a brioche next!

  10. Beautiful Lizzy…I have never seen a stollen done in a wreath shape before…it looks delicious!
    Merry Christmas!

  11. Oh, my goodness, I was surprised to read that you’ve never tasted stollen before. I wonder if it’s a cultural thing as I grew up with sweet breads (not to be confused with sweetbreads)such as babka. There’s not much of a stretch among Teutonic, Slavic, and Polish cuisine.

    Your stollen looks beautiful and is styled so nicely.


  12. Gorgeous!! I opted out this month due to crazy holidays. Bread looks fantastic!

  13. Linda, thank you! Isn’t the wreath festive?
    Renee, I made mine early…this week has been crazy with baking!!!
    Carole, I know! I haven’t had babka, either!

    Merry Christmas to you all~~~

  14. Thanks, Carolyn!

  15. Your stollen looks fantastic! Seeing your pictures reminds me of how amazing this bread is. Well done!

  16. Your stollen looks fabulous, absolutely perfect! Very well done!!

  17. Thank you Cookinva and Namratha!! It sure was delicious!

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