German Stollen is a sweet German Christmas bread made of rum-soaked raisins, almonds, citrus, and marzipan nestled in an easy yeast dough. I grew up in Germany, and had MANY Stollen in my life, but THIS recipe makes the best Stollen I have ever had! I finish my Stollen with a touch of spice to bring together the most warming flavors.
In the past, when I had the choice between Plätzchen (German Christmas cookies) and Stollen, I usually skipped eating Stollen. That's because it can be so dry and dense.
However, this recipe is moist and fluffy and quite addictive when paired with a cup of coffee or hot tea.
This Stollen recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients and simple-to-understand step-by-step instructions, so you can easily create authentic German Stollen from wherever you are in the world.
Stollen was first mentioned in Germany in 1329. It has grown in popularity and is now baked and eaten throughout the world. In Germany, it is baked all year round, but during Christmas time, it is also known as Christstollen or Weihnachtsstollen.
How to make Stollen
When making Stollen, it's best to think ahead. It traditionally rests for one to two weeks after baking to fully develop all of its flavors.
However, we ate the first loaf right after baking. It was SO GOOD!
This German Christmas bread recipe makes two loaves, so I have another loaf in the fridge waiting. But you do not have to wait to eat it or find a compromise like we did.
I start by soaking my raisins and almond slivers in some rum and hot water overnight.
The next day, I make a yeast dough from a quick roux, a sponge, and all the ingredients, including the drained raisins. I hand-shape 2 skinny logs of marzipan (optional) to add in the middle of each loaf before baking.
Right after baking, I brush the Stollen with melted butter and sprinkle it with sugar. Once completely cooled, I cover it in powdered sugar wrap it up, and let it rest in a cool place (I put mine in the fridge). However, feel free to break this rule and eat it immediately like we did with our first loaf. It was absolutely delicious and addictive.
This Stollen recipe is moist and fluffy unlike other Stollen I have had in the past. It definitely makes the best Stollen I have ever had!
How to store Stollen
If you can resist eating your Stollen right after baking, follow these steps to store it.
Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to keep in all the moisture. Then store it in a cool spot (like that cold spare bedroom or that cold room in your basement) for one to two weeks.
I just keep my Stollen in the fridge, which is perfectly acceptable too. It's important to wrap it up after each time you eat some, so it stays moist and fluffy.
An hour before eating this German Christmas bread, move it to a warm spot, so it gets a chance to regain its fluffy texture.
You don't need any hard-to-find ingredients to make authentic German Stollen.
- raisins. Use whichever raisins you can find. I used Thompson raisins.
- almonds. I soak the almonds with the raisins to avoid them from drawing moisture from the Stollen.
- rum. Rum adds a classic warming flavor to your Stollen. You can add a little bit of vanilla extract instead if you'd like to skip using rum.
- milk. I use 2 percent cow's milk but feel free to use a different kind of milk or even a dairy-free alternative.
- yeast. Active-dry yeast works great in this recipe.
- flour. I use a high-gluten all-purpose flour for almost all of my baking.
- butter. The better the butter, the better your Stollen. After baking, you will brush it with melted butter and I can definitely taste the difference. I use grass-fed butter.
- sugar. Just pure cane sugar.
- cinnamon. I use a Ceylon cinnamon, but any variety will do.
- nutmeg. I like to grind nutmeg fresh (I also use it in my homemade Spätzle, cheese fondue, and more). It's so much more flavorful than
- vanilla bean. The real deal. I usually buy some in bulk online, so I have them ready for Vanillekipferl (my favorite German vanilla bean Christmas cookies), Dampfnudeln (steamed dumplings with vanilla bean sauce) and Milchreis (homemade rice pudding).
- orange zest. I use a little bit of orange zest in my Stollen instead of the candied orange that I don't really care for as much. Make sure you use organic orange.
- lemon zest. I also use a little lemon zest instead of candied lemon. Make sure you use organic lemon.
- marzipan. Marzipan is an almond paste that is commonly used in German baked goods and can be eaten on its own too or used for cake decorating. You can optionally add this into your Stollen as the last step before baking.
- powdered sugar. After the Stollen has completely cooled, you will 'preserve it' in powdered sugar and wrap it tightly to keep it from drying out.
Watch this short video showing you how to make authentic German Stollen at home.
More German Christmas baking recipes
I love making all the Plätzchen (German Christmas cookies), my favorites being my Vanillekipferl (vanilla bean cookies and they were also my Oma's favorite). Stutenkerle (Weckmänner) is another fun German Christmas baking project, especially for St Nicholas Day on December 6th.
Authentic German Stollen
- 150 grams raisins
- 100 grams slivered almonds
- 30 milliliters rum
- boiling water
- 30 grams all-purpose flour
- 150 milliliters milk
Add in when shaping loaves
- 100 grams marzipan shape into two logs right before adding in
For immediately after baking
- 50 grams butter
- 50 grams sugar
For after the loaves have cooled
- 150 grams powdered sugar
The night before baking
- The night before baking, add the raisins, slivered almonds and rum into a small bowl, then pour boiling water into the boil until the raisin-almond mixture is just covered. Stir, cover and let rest at room temperature overnight. This helps soften the raisins and almonds and keeps the Stollen more moist.150 grams raisins, 100 grams slivered almonds, 30 milliliters rum, boiling water
- The next morning, make your roux by combining the flour and milk in a pot and heat for about 3 minutes while constantly stirring. The consistency should be like a thick pudding. Put in a bowl and let it cool.30 grams all-purpose flour, 150 milliliters milk
- For the sponge dough, heat the milk to luke warm, then stir together with the yeast and let it sit and activate for 5 minutes. If the mixture is not bubbly, start over. Your milk have been too hot or too cold.Add the flour and knead together. Put in a small bowl, cover and let rest in a warm spot for 45 minutes.100 milliliters milk, 15 grams active-dry yeast, 100 grams all-purpose flour
Main Stollen Dough
- For the main dough, combine the room temperature butter, spices, sugar and salt and whip until creamy.Drain any liquids from the raisin-almond mixture.Scrape the vanilla bean and add to the bowl with the raisins. Zest the lemon and orange and add to the bowl with the raisins.In a large bowl, add the flour, zest, the roux, sponge dough. Knead together until combined. Now add the raisin-almond-zest-vanilla mixture and knead until combined.Cover the bowl and let rest in a warm spot for 1 to 2 hours. The dough should have doubled in size.250 grams butter, 75 grams sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt, 400 grams all-purpose flour, 1 vanilla bean, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Divide the dough in two and shape each dough into an oval shape. Do not knead the dough, but just gently shape it instead. Kneading will release too many air bubbles. Divide the marzipan into 2 and shape two logs the length of the loaves.100 grams marzipan
- Press a ditch into the loaves, then add the marzipan logs and close the loaves back up, pressing together the seams. The seam will be on top.Cover with a linen towel and let rise for 30 more minutes in a warm spot.Preheat oven to 200℃ (390℉).
- Place loaves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes.Reduce temperature to 350 for last 15 minutes of baking.Bake to 90℃ or 195℉ internal temperature. I love using this instant-read thermometer for baking and cooking!
- After baking, brush the loaves with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Let cool completely.50 grams butter, 50 grams sugar
- Once cooled, cover in powdered sugar and wrap in plastic wrap or foil.150 grams powdered sugar
- Now, if you can be patient, let your Stollen rest in a cool spot (or fridge) for about one week before cutting up and serving. This will help the Stollen to develop its flavors.However, this is not a must. We ate one loaf immediately (and it was moist, fluffy and delicious) and I have the other resting in the fridge until we're ready to eat it.