What is Christmas Stollen?
This Christmas Stollen with Rum Glaze is worth repeating year after year. It’s a dense, yeasted bread studded with rum-soaked dried fruit. It gets a blanketing of powdered sugar to remind us of the snowy German landscape. Yes, please. It makes an ideal Christmas morning breakfast.
Where did Christmas Stollen come from?
Stollen is of German origins, and it dates back to the 14th century. Butter and sugar were precious commodities, so I think ours must be far superior to the dry cake it must have been back then. All over Germany and surrounding parts, people gift delicious loaves of Stollen every Christmas.
How do you make Stollen?
I got the recipe inspiration from Slate and customized it to what we had in the pantry (and liquor cabinet.) First, you let a cupful of chopped, dried fruit of your choice macerate in some brandy,
It may seem like an odd choice of fruit, but I had a tropical fruit salad mix in the pantry. I’m a big fan of using what you have. Plus, the assortment of colors was divine.
I let the fruit sit in the rum overnight. The next morning, I started on the dough–a mixture of sugar, butter, flour, yeast, whole milk, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and spices like ginger and cinnamon. After that, I let the dough rise once for a few hours. Then, I mixed it with the fruit, shaped it into loaves, and then let the individual loaves rise once again. The loaves quickly bake in about 30 minutes (depending on the size of your loaves.)
With 3 tablespoons of the leftover rum from the fruit-soaking, I made a glaze. I combined the rum with 1 cup of powdered sugar and the juice of half of a lemon. I drizzled this over two of the warm loaves after they came out of the oven. Likewise, the other two loaves I sprinkled gingered sugar over and then dusted them with confectioner’s sugar. After they dried, I covered all four of them in a generous dusting of powdered sugar.
If you wrap them tightly, the stollen should keep over a week or more. And what’s even more amazing is that stollen tastes even better after a few days. I made four small loaves from this recipe and varied the toppings.
Christmas Stollen with Rum Glaze
Although it takes some time, this Christmas stollen, a dense yeasted cake is worth every minute, is redolent with rum-soaked fruit and a hint of lemon zest. It's the best accompaniment for coffee on Christmas morning.
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried fruit papaya, mango, kiwi, apricots, pears, etc
- 1 cup rum
- 1½ cups butter divided
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 4 cups flour all purpose
- 1 cup sugar divided
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 1/4 ounce packet active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs large
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Oil or butter for greasing the bowl and baking sheet
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
Combine the fruit and rum in a small bowl. Stir to combine, cover, and let sit at room temperature while you make the dough or overnight if time allows.
Combine 2 sticks of the butter and the milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the butter melts). Combine the flour, ¼ cup of the sugar, the zest, the yeast, 1 teaspoon of the ground ginger, the cinnamon, and the salt in a large bowl. When the butter mixture cools to 100°F—it will feel warm but not hot—add it to the flour mixture and stir with the dough-hook attachment of a stand mixer or by hand. Lightly beat together the eggs and vanilla and stir them into the dough.
Knead the dough with the dough-hook attachment of a stand mixer or by hand until it feels smooth and elastic, about 7-10 minutes. Grease a large bowl, add the dough, and turn it over to coat it lightly with oil or butter. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, put it in a warm place, and let the dough rise for 2 hours.
Punch down the dough and add the fruit mixture. Knead the dough in the bowl with the dough-hook attachment of a stand mixer or by hand until the fruit is evenly incorporated. (The dough will be sticky.)
Grease a baking sheet and shape the dough, as well as you can, into 2 to 4 long, oval loaves on the baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, put it in a warm place, and let the loaves rise for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the baking sheet and bake until the loaves are golden brown, about 35 minutes (for smaller loaves) to 1 hour (for larger loaves).
When the stollen is done, melt the remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave). Brush the tops and sides of the stollen with the butter while the loaves are still warm.
Combine the remaining ¾ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon ground ginger and sprinkle over the stollen. Cool thoroughly. Sprinkle the powdered sugar all over the stollen, pressing lightly to help it stick. Wrap each loaf in foil or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 day before serving.