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Dresden Stollen (German Christmas Stollen)

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This classic recipe for Dresden Stollen is a buttery German festive favorite, packed with dried fruit and citrus zest before being dusted liberally with confectioners sugar.

Front view of sliced Dresden Stollen on a wood cutting board

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Since 1474, Dresden Christmas Stollen has been a favorite advent season treat. A buttery, moist and heavy cake-like fruit bread made simply with yeast, dried fruits and the zests of citrus. Liberally dusted with confectioners sugar, it’s a tradition all of its own.

Especially in Dresden, Germany where they have an official website dedicated to this buttery deliciousness.

As they point out, each Christmas Stollen (originally called Striezel) is unique. With centuries of recipes passed from one family to the next, stollens vary from generation to generation.

But generally, required ingredients contain “raisins, butter, sweet and bitter almonds, candied orange and lemon peel, flour, water, and yeast… Also, whole milk or whole milk powder, crystal sugar, clarified butter, lemon zest, table salt, powder sugar, and stollen spices.”

Plate of Dresden Stollen slices.

History of the Dresden Stollen

The Dresdner Christstollen is a piece of cultural history.

It’s been said Dresden Stollen “was baked for the first time at the Council of Trent in 1545, and was made with flour, yeast, oil, and water.” Then Saxon Prince Ernst decided the bread was hard and tasteless, due to the oil used in the bread. Writing to the Pope for permission to use butter, the resulting recipe delivered a moist and buttery bread that survived the centuries to find its way to Christmas tables today.

For a taste of how authentic Dresdner Stollen is made, this bakery video will give you a flavor of how stollen is made in large quantities and ideas on shaping the bread.

YouTube video
Close up of a cut stollen loaf dusted with icing sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this stollen recipe a cake or a bread?

Stollen is a yeasted sweet bread, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it is a cake due to the amount of sugar and ingredients that are commonly found in a classic fruit cake.

How long does stollen last?

When the dried fruit is soaked in rum or brandy, Stollen is a long-lasting yeast bread that gets better with age. If you keep it well wrapped and in a cool, dark place it should last a couple of months, which is perfect as that just about covers the entire holiday period!

Close up of a sliced stollen stuffed with dried fruit.

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Front view of sliced Dresden Stollen on a wood cutting board

German Dresden Christmas Stollen

Since 1474, Dresden Christmas Stollen has been a favorite advent season treat. A buttery, moist and heavy cake-like fruit bread made simply with yeast, dried fruits and the zests of citrus. Liberally dusted with confectioners sugar, it’s a tradition all of its own.
4.9 from 10 votes
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Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Author: Stephanie Wilson

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup dried fruit I like raisins, golden raisins, cranberries, and currants
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds or pecans, walnuts
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • Put the dried fruit in a bowl with 1/4 cup of orange juice and let soak while heating the milk. You can substitute rum or brandy for the soaking liquid if you wish, which would help preserve the stollen for longer.
  • In a saucepan, add milk, 1/2 cup butter, granulated sugar, and salt; warm until the butter is almost melted. Let the milk cool to lukewarm before stirring in the yeast. It's important the milk is just warm and not hot. Otherwise, it will kill the yeast. Let sit for 15 minutes, or until frothy.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add 2 cups flour, cardamom, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Once the yeast has activated, pour the butter/yeast mixture into the flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat on low for 30 seconds; scrape the bowl. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring in as much of the remaining 2 cups of flour as you can.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer and on a lightly floured surface, knead in the soaked fruit, orange zest, and almonds.

First Rise:

  • Shape the dough into a ball and add to an oil-coated bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free space until double; about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Second Rise:

  • Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into equal halves; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
  • Roll each dough into a long oval shape about 1-inch in thickness. Using a small rolling pin or the handle of a wooden spoon, make about a 2-inch wide trench down the length of the oval on the left side, about 1/3 of the way in. Press down until the trench almost reaches the bottom of the dough. Then take the edge of the oval where the trench is, and fold it up and over the right side. Then make a smaller divot with the rolling pin on the same side after it's folded over to give it that characteristic stollen shape. Transfer the loaves to the prepared baking sheet.
    This is easier to understand by watching it on video. If you want to watch this process, see the video I've included in the post. They begin to shape the dough at about 2:05 in the video.
  • Cover and let rise until nearly dough; about an hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake:

  • Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden. If you want to use an instant-read thermometer, the bread should reach 190°F. Remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a rack for cooling.
  • While still warm, brush the stollen with melted butter and dredge in granulated sugar. Let cool and then dust liberally with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 91mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 159IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Bread
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Christmas Stollen, German Stollen, Stollen

3 Comments

    1. Hi Brooke, you’re right, there isn’t any marizpan or almond paste in this recipe. I knew they included in the bakery video but was hoping their technique of shaping stollen would be helpful!

  1. Would love to make but instructions after second dough rising seem to be missing something. Fold dough in half? Pictures would be helpful. Otherwise recipe looks great!

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