Often mistaken for a fruitcake, stollen is a special yeast bread made with dried fruit, marzipan and a generous dusting of powdered sugar that has been a German Christmas tradition for seven centuries. In fact, the historic recipe can be traced back to 1329 in Dresden, Germany.
The Bishop's Contest
It is believed the Bishop of Nauruburg held a contest. His goal: to see which local chef could create the tastiest bread baked with specialty ingredients. Although milk and butter were forbidden to be used in accordance with Advent rules at the time, the Bishop was still enamored with the winning entry and ordered a select quantity of grain reserved solely for making the tasty treat.
Sweet and Significant
In their early days, the baked loaves were hefty, weighing approximately 30 pounds each — for maximum enjoyment! In 1650, Prince Ernst von Sachsen petitioned the Pope to lift his restrictions on the use of butter — and the results were glorious. Stollen became so associated with life in Dresden that families had their own set of special utensils. You can even buy a Dresden Stollen Knife today!
A Christmas Sailing Tradition
Although our ships do not currently sail through Dresden where stollen originated, our esteemed Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, Kristin Karst, was born there. To this day, the loaf is her very favorite holiday treat, which we are delighted to serve on board our Christmas Markets river cruises. In the meantime, we invite you to try out our recipe below.
- 3 1/2 oz. mixed dried fruit with peel
- 3/4 cup apple juice
- 1/2 TBS dried yeast
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- 1 oz. blanched whole almonds
- Generous pinch of ground cinnamon
- Generous pinch of ground aniseed or allspice
- Small pinch of ground cloves
- 5 TBS cold marzipan, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 TBS butter, melted
- 1 TBS (or more) icing sugar or powdered sugar
Steps to Prepare:
Step 1: Soak the dried fruit in 1/2 cup of hot water. Gently warm the apple juice for a few mins in a pan, then add the yeast and leave to activate for 10-15 mins (it will start to bubble).
Step 2: Put the flour in a bowl. Stir in the yeast and apple juice mixture to form a smooth dough, then cover and leave to prove somewhere warm until roughly doubled in size, about 1-2 hrs.
Step 3: Drain the fruit and add to the dough along with the nuts, spices and marzipan. Squish everything together, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the fruit stays in the dough.
Step 4: Shape the dough into a sausage shape and put it on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to proof somewhere warm for 30 mins–1 hr. until the dough has risen by about a quarter.
Step 5: Heat oven to 350F. Bake the stollen for 20 mins, then reduce oven temperature to 300F and bake for 25-30 minutes more until golden-brown and firm to the touch.
Step 6: Remove the stollen from the oven and brush all over with the melted butter. Dust generously with the icing sugar and leave to cool completely before slicing. Store any remaining stollen, well wrapped, in an airtight container.
Best served at a table with loved ones. Enjoy!
We invite you to share your baking photos with us at #AmaWaterways.
Learn more about our Christmas Markets river cruises and reach out to your travel advisor to reserve yours today!