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Christmas Stollen with Sweet Stiff Starter

Stollen is a special holiday bread filled with nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit, coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar. It is a traditional German bread enjoyed throughout the year, but it is especially popular during the Christmas season.

Christmas is coming soon and if you want to treat your friends and family with festive and yummy bread, here is a special sourdough version of Stollen recipe for you, inspired by the Daring Gourmet.

Ingredients

Sweet Stiff Sourdough Starter 

  • 20 g sourdough starter
  • 45 g water
  • 100 g bread flour
  • 7 g sugar

Dough

  • 250 g warm milk
  • 150 g sweet stiff starter
  • 500 g flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 g sugar
  • 150 g soft butter 
  • 10 g salt 
  • Vanilla
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • Spices optional (1/2 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 cinnamon )
  • 0.5 g dry yeast (optional, to reduce sourness)

Fruits & Nuts

  • 1/2 cup raisins 
  • 1/2 cup candied orange and lemon peel 
  • 1/2 maraschino cherries (diced) 
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup quality dark rum

Glaze & Dusting

  • 50g unsalted butter (melted)
  • powdered sugar for generous dusting

Marzipan (optional)

  • 70 g fine almond flour
  • 85 g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 45 g honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional for kneading)

Directions

Day 1

Starter

  • 10 pm dissolve sugar in the water, add starter and whisk together, add flour, mix well, form a ball, make a cross shaped cut on top of the ball, place in a container, cover and let it sit at room temp 74-78F until it increases in volume in 2 or more times.
  • Stiff sweet starter has lower hydration comparing to regular liquid starter and will help to lower the acidity of the final product (learn how to make sourdough starter from scratch here).

Marzipan 

  • Place almond flour and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add almond extract and honey, blend for 1 minute until it sticks together. If marzipan seems dry, add in another teaspoon of honey and keep blending.
  • Finish kneading marzipan with butter until it becomes smooth. It should feel stiff and be a little sticky.
  • Wrap the marzipan in plastic and seal it in a ziplock bag. Refrigerate for an hour or so until it’s cool enough to handle. You can keep it in the fridge for 6 weeks or freeze for 6 months or longer.

Day 2

  • Place raisins, candied citrus peel, cherries in a medium bowl and pour the rum over it. Stir it well. Set aside and let the fruit mixture soak in rum while the dough rises.
  • Clean almonds from their skins, chop them up.

Dough

  • 8 am add milk, sweet stiff starter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, spices, flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. 
  • Knead the dough on medium speed for 7-8 minutes. Once gluten is developed and the dough came up together, add soft butter, continue mixing for 5-10 more minutes.
  • When all the butter is mixed in, the dough becomes smooth and shiny, and you are able to perform a windowpane test.
  • Remove the dough, lightly spray the bowl with a little oil, place the dough back into the bowl, cover and place it in a warm place to rise until it almost doubles in size (at least 3-5 hours at 74-80F). 
  • 11 am press down the dough and add the soaked fruit mixture to it (the mixture should have absorbed all the rum by now but if there is excess liquid, pour it out before completing this step). 
  • Using the dough hook, knead the fruit/nut mixture into the dough until well incorporated (about 3- 6 minutes on low speed). If the dough is too wet to handle, add a little bit of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. 

Shaping 

  • Place the dough onto a floured work surface and cut it in two equal halves.  Press or roll each piece into an oval shape (about 1 inch thick).  
  • Roll a piece of marzipan into a log, it should be as long as your oval dough piece. Place marzipan into the middle of the dough. Grab the top part of the dough and fold it over to cover the marzipan, then fold the bottom part over on top of the previously folded part so that the edge of is almost in the middle of the stollen (see images below). 
  • Use your hand and fingers to press down along one side of the marzipan to create a Stollen-specific curve .
  • Place the stollen on a lined baking sheet.  
  • Cover the stollen with a plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for 1-2 hours until it becomes puffy. 

Baking

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the stollen for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Internal temperature should reach 190 F.
  • Let it cool down  for couple minutes, then use a toothpick to poke holes all over the stollen. This will allow the melted butter to seep in.
  • Generously brush your stollen with the melted butter while the stollen is still warm. Immediately sprinkle with a generous amount of powdered sugar.
  • Let the stollen cool completely.  You may want to give it another dusting of powdered sugar once cooled.
  • The stollen is ready to be eaten right away or you can wrap it tight in plastic and airtight bag and left to “mature” in a cool place for a couple of weeks.

Enjoy your Christmas Stollen!

12 thoughts on “Christmas Stollen with Sweet Stiff Starter

  1. Thank you for sharing! I love your receipes! Regards from Argentina!

    1. Thank you!

  2. I follow your IG and I love your recipes and explanations.
    I’m surprised to find out that you haven’t given due credit to The Daring Gourmet in your recipe, since you have copied her recipe almost word by word. I see you’ve done some changes, so I think it would be great adding to your recipe something like “inspired by” or so.

    1. Daven, thank you!
      Great point. Just added my inspiration.
      Have a Merry Christmas🙏

  3. Hello! This is a wonderful recipe, does it yield two loaves, or just one?
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you! It yields 2 loaves

  4. I’m getting ready to make the recipe and had a question: my kitchen is cold (70 degrees or so) and so proofing always takes longer than expected. Could I do the first rise overnight on the kitchen counter, or do you think this would result in over proofing?

    1. John, hi!
      Definitely you can leave first dough to proof on the counter

  5. We love Stollen so I was excited to make one with sourdough starter. I’m so glad I did. It was amazing, so soft, flavourful and easy to make. I’ll definitely be making this again.😊

    1. Thank you so much for your kind feedback . Happy you liked it 🙏

  6. […] adapted from Daring Gourmet’s and Natasha’s Stollen […]

  7. Oi. Boa noite
    Parece maravilhosa essa receita. Vou fazer aqui no Brasil. Adoro suas postagens e seus pães. Parabéns e gratidão por compartilhar seu conhecimento conosco. Muita energia positiva pra você. Bjs

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