Dresden, a two-hour drive from Berlin, is the hometown of the real Christstollen (Christmas Stollen). It’s serious business: about 130 bakers make these famous breads every year. There is one more or less secret basic recipe, but all bakers make their own variations. Traditionally, you should buy a stollen two to four weeks before Christmas. I usually do not plan that far ahead. You can also make the bread yourself, of course. This is my own quick version: it’s a soft cake-like bread and already tastes good the very next morning. A good tip from the Dresden bakers: start slicing your bread from the middle, push the two remaining halves back together to prevent your stollen from drying out.
Bread, serves 8
Action Time: 30 minutes + 3-6 soaking and resting + 45 minutes oven time
17.5 oz/500 g (spelt)flour
7 oz/200 g almond flour
0.35 oz/10 g instant yeast or active dry yeast
2.6 oz/75 g sugar
1 tsp salt
grated zest of 1 organic orange
7 oz/200 g butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3.5 oz/100 ml milk, at room temperature
softened butter for brushing
icing sugar for sprinkling
For the fruit mixture:
100 g currants
100 g raisins
100 g apricots cut in pieces
juice of 1 orange
3 tbsp calvados or dark rum
Extra: greased 900 g/2 lb loaf tin lined with parchment paper (optional), sieve
1. Put all the ingredients for the fruit mixture in a small saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Cover the pan and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and the orange zest. Mix in the melted butter and eggs; add the milk little by little. Knead well, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1-2 hours, preferably on a warm spot.
3. Drain the fruit mixture in a sieve and add the fruit to the dough. Knead it well and let it rise for another 1-2 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C (don’t use the convection mode: the bread will turn out too dry). Place the dough in the loaf tin. Or you can give it an authentic stollen shape. Shape the dough with flour-dusted hands (the dough is a bit sticky) into an oval loaf. Fold the dough in half lengthwise; leaving 1 inch of the bottom edge exposed. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. For this version without a tin the baking time will be slightly shorter.
5. Bake the stollen for about 45-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven, brush top and sides with some soft butter and sprinkle with a generous amount of icing sugar. Let cool on a cooling rack.