Stollen, traditionally served during the period of Advent, originated in the German city of Dresden in the 1500s.
Due to fasting restrictions, it was a basic, often tasteless type of bread. As the fasting restrictions were lifted, Stollen evolved into the rich, festive Stollen of today, containing dried fruit, marzipan and often nuts. This oval-shaped loaf, dusted with powder sugar symbolizes a swaddled Christ Child.
In 1994, the Dresden Stollen Festival came into being. Each year, a giant Stollen weighing several tons is baked by the Bakers of Dresden, and pieces are sold to the public, for charity, on the second Saturday of Advent.
Due to our strong German heritage in South Africa, Stollen, Lebkuchen (Pfefferkuchen) and numerous delectable spicy biscuits have become part of the Christmas tradition in many households.
Treat your family to a homemade Christmas Stollen this year!
- 2½ cups unbleached bread flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼-ounce sachets (4½ teaspoons) instant active dry yeast
- ¾ cup milk
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons marmalade
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ⅔ cup seedless raisins
- ⅓ cup dried tart cherries
- 1 7-ounce box marzipan almond candy dough
- confectioners powder sugar
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat the milk and butter in a jug or small saucepan until the butter has melted.
- Whisk the egg and add the milk-butter mixture.
- Add this to the dry ingredients, together with the marmalade, and knead until smooth and elastic – either with the dough hook attachment of a table model food mixer, or on a lightly floured surface, by hand. (See notes).
- Add the dried fruits and continue kneading until well mixed.
- Form the dough into a large round, sprinkle a few drops of oil into the mixing bowl, and turn the dough in the bowl to coat with a thin layer of oil.
- Cover with a damp dishcloth and place in a warm area to rise for 60-80 minutes, until doubled in volume.
- Deflate lightly and shape into a large oval.
- Roll the marzipan into a rope and place in the center of the dough.
- Fold the dough over, and pinch the ends to seal.
- Place on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet and set aside in a warm place to double in volume again – 40-60 minutes.
- Bake at 375˚F for 10 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 325˚F and bake for a further 30-35 minutes until done.
- When cold, sprinkle with a coating of powder sugar.
The rising period is longer than is the case with normal bread, due to the addition of butter, milk and egg.