German Christmas Bread Stollen

I love marzipan, so it should come as no surprise about my love for the German Christmas Cake called Bread Stollen; with its' rich citrus, spices and internal layer of marzipan.

Making your own is truly a treat, my home-made version is less sweet and stodgy as the commercial version, lighter and full of delicious dried fruit and spices. Delicious sliced and accompanied by a glass of warm mulled wine or glogg. Be prepared to put aside a good few hours to prepare though as it is slower rising than bread and sticker to work with, saying that though it is a fairly simple recipe so don't be daunted.

Stollen, ready to roll into shape
Stollen dusted in icing suger
Toasted Stollen ready to eat

Preparation: 20-30 minutes plus 3 hours rising

Cooking: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients

Fruit

  • 100g raisins
  • 40g currants
  • 75g glaced dried mixed citrus peel, finely chopped
  • 60g undyed glaced cherries
  • 75ml dark rum
  • 50g flaked almonds

Dough

  • 1x 7g sachet of instant yeast
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (if unable to find grind the seeds from green cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 small eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100g melted butter
  • 200ml warm milk
  • 250g marzipan, divided into 2 and rolled into 18cm long sausage shape

To Finish

  • 50g melted butter
  • 50g icing sugar

Method

  1. Fruit: Place all the dried fruit (set aside the almond flakes for later) and cover in the rum, soak for 3 hours or overnight. Strain the rum from the fruit and reserve for the dough.
  2. Dough: Sieve the flour, spices into the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the sugar and salt, and sprinkle over the instant dried yeast.
  3. Using the dough hook on the electric mixer gradually beat in the luke reserved rum, egg melted butter and finally the warm milk. The mixture will be sticky at first but continue to beat for 8-10 minutes on a moderate speed until the dough is less sticky, more stretchy and shiny.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, gradually and gently knead the dried fruit and the almond flakes into the dough adding more flour to the surface as needed until the fruit and almonds are well incorporated.
  5. Knead the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, cover with cling film or a lightly floured tea towel and place in a warm place to rise. Leave for 1 to 1 1/2 hours to rise, the dough should double in size.
  6. Divide the dough into two and roll each piece on a floured surface into 23-17cm rectangles. Place a long side towards you and just off the middle lengthwise make an indentation with a rolling pin, place the marzipan along the indentation. Fold the longside of the dough furthest way from the marzipan over to the other side dough, press to seal the dough and press down on either end to seal. Place on greased and floured baking trays, cover lightly with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. The dough should rise by around another half.
  7. Preheat an oven to 180C. Place the loaves in the hot preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until they are golden.
  8. To Finish: Remove the loaves from the oven and place the loaves cooling rack. Brush all over with the melted butter, then dust with plenty of icing sugar. Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing
  9. To Store: Wrap lightly in cling film and store in a well sealed tin. The loaf will keep for up to 5 days.