What is Stollen?



Photo by Gary Lee on Unsplash

Table of Contents

Stollen History

Stollen Ingredients

Stollen Nutritional Information

How to Make Stollen

Stollen Recipes

Stollen FAQ's

Stollen is a famous type of fruit bread that marks the Christmas season in Germany and around the world. The delicious mix of spices and candied fruit makes the Stollen famous, and its iconic white coating of icing sugar and center lumps are as Christmassy as you can get!

There are many varieties of stollen bread, and some incorporate ingredients such as quark, a soft white cheese used in German baking. Marzipan is also a popular addition, as well as the festive flavors of rum, cardamom, and cinnamon.

The tradition dates back to the 1500s, and the Stollen is much changed from its humble beginning of oats, four, and water. Stollen can be found around the world but remains the Germans favored tradition.

In fact, they have a Stollen Festival each year dedicated to this wonderful fruit bread, which weighs in at almost four tons and is paraded down the city streets.

Stollen History

The iconic german Stollen arose as a Christmas celebratory bread in the 1500s, but the original version was hardly the version we know today. Originally made with only oats, flour, and water, the early Stollen was far from a flavor riot.

In Stollen's birthplace, in Medieval Saxony (in Germany), the Christmas season at the time had many restrictions on baking ingredients. Butter was forbidden at the time, and those who broke the religious bans were heavily fined.

The Stollen was so beloved that it took 40 years for the Pope to allow butter in its ingredients. First only for the royals and later for the populace (with a tithe for the church in compensation!)

The Stollen became sweeter over the centuries with the addition of dried fruits, nuts, and marzipan, which is loved around the world today.

Each year Dresden celebrates its Stollen festival and displays its 4-ton Stollen cake in a carriage to mark Advent. The crowd can enjoy the monster cake for a fee, which is then given to charity.

Stollen Ingredients

The iconic Stollen is a fruit bread somewhat like a cake and is a yeast-risen dough that commonly contains fruit zest in its mix. The basic bread mix contains flour, water, yeast, and a small amount of sugar.

The ingredients differ slightly from place to place, but traditionally the Stollen is studded with:

The Stollen also contains delicious, Christmassy spices and flavors such as:

The characteristic white coating is achieved by dipping the warm baked bread in butter and rolling it in icing sugar.

This white covering represents the Christ child warped in his swaddling clothes, while the traditional fold on the middle shows the camel's backs that the wise men rode on the visit Christ's birth.

The variety of fruit and nuts represent the jewels of the wise men who presented their offerings to the infant Jesus.

Stollen Nutritional Information

According to Nutritionix, stollen bread contains a fair amount of carbs, averaging at 70g of carbs per 110g slice. One slice contains an average of 8,5g of fat, of which half is saturated fats.

While the bread is not a top choice for weight watchers, the good news is that the Stollen is packed full of great vitamins that make up for its high-fat content.

These vitamins include:

Vitamin C - 1%

Vitamin A - 5%

Calcium - 5%

Iron -11%

How to Make Stollen

Although yeast-risen bread can be somewhat intimidating, you can still make this iconic Christmas bread yourself at home. The process starts the night before when all your peels and fruit are soaked in festive rum and water.

The drained rum water is mixed with milk and added to the yeast, flour, eggs, and sugar ingredients. You then add the tasty fruit and nuts and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

The dough is left to double in size and then shaped with the characteristic fold in its center. The cake is then baked, and butter is glazed on its surface. It is coted in a liberal layer of sweet icing sugar when it cools slightly.

Stollen Recipes

There is a multitude of delicious varieties of this famous Christmas bread and usually dictated by local customs and traditions particular to certain areas of Germany. Some of these variations include:

Stollen FAQ's

Stollen is a traditional German fruitcake that is usually made with dried fruits, nuts, and spices. It is often covered with powdered sugar or icing sugar.

The most common ingredients in stollen are dried fruits, nuts, and spices. Other ingredients may include candied fruit, marzipan, or chocolate.

Stollen is typically made by combining the dry ingredients together, then adding the wet ingredients and kneading the dough until it is well combined. The dough is then left to rise before being shaped into a loaf and baked.

The first recorded recipe for stollen dates back to 1474, though it is believed to have been around long before that. The stollen we know today originated in Dresden, Germany in the early 1800s.

Stollen can be eaten as is or sliced and served with butter, jam, or cream cheese.

Stollen is available for purchase at many bakeries and grocery stores, especially around the holidays. You can also order stollen online from various retailers.

One slice of stollen (approximately 28 grams) contains 130 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of protein.

Stollen is a good source of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. It also contains vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Yes, there are stollen recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan diets. There are also stollen recipes that use healthy ingredients such as whole wheat flour and natural sweeteners.

Stollen can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Stollen can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

The shelf life of stollen is 2 weeks when stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Stollen can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

You can extend the shelf life of stollen by storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks or in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.

Yes, stollen can be frozen for up to 3 months. Be sure to wrap it tightly in freezer-safe wrap or store it in a freezer-safe container.

If you eat stollen that has gone bad, you may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Yes, stollen is safe to eat during pregnancy as long as it is consumed in moderation. Pregnant women should avoid eating large quantities of stollen due to the risk of gestational diabetes.

Stollen may not be safe for people with food allergies, particularly those with allergies to nuts, dried fruits, or gluten. If you have food allergies, be sure to check the ingredients list before consuming stollen.

No, stollen is not safe for people with celiac disease as it contains gluten. Those with celiac disease should avoid all products that contain gluten.

No, stollen is not Kosher as it contains dairy products and nuts.

Some stollen substitutes include fruitcake, gingerbread cake, or spiced pound cake. These substitutes may not be identical in taste or texture but can still be enjoyed during the holidays.

Yes, stollen can be made without alcohol by using a non-alcoholic beer or cider in place of the traditionally used rum or brandy. You can also use non-alcoholic vanilla extract or water in place of the rum or brandy.

Shane Jones

Hey there! I'm Shane, the face and hands behind BakeSomeBread. My journey into the world of bread and pastries started over 10 years ago, and what began as a simple hobby quickly turned into an all-consuming passion. While I might not have formal qualifications or fancy titles, I've spent countless hours perfecting my recipes, experimenting with flavors, and, yes, learning from a few (or maybe more than a few) baking blunders along the way.

I've never been featured in glossy magazines, and I don't have any teaching stints to boast about, but what I do have is genuine love for baking and a drive to share that with all of you. Every recipe you find here is a result of my personal adventures in the kitchen—tried, tested, and baked with love.

Trust is a big deal for me. So, while I'm always up for a bit of baking fun, I'm serious when it comes to authenticity. Every bit of advice and every recipe on this site comes straight from my own experience. And hey, if I can help even one of you find joy in baking, then all those flour-covered days and nights have been worth it! Happy baking, folks! Oh, and come and say hi on Social Media too!