Stollen is a German holiday treat also known as Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. We'll leave the pronunciation up to the professionals! The addition of raisins and dried or candied fruit to this bread gives it a colorful jewel-studded look, just perfect for a holiday dessert plate. Stollen recipes are passed down from generation to generation. You'll find different families have added their own unique twist over the years so there are many variations.
If you're ready to throw on an apron and make some homemade gifts from the kitchen, stollen is a nice change of pace from the typical sugar overload the holidays bring. Yes, it still has a sweet glaze on top but the bread component is a lot more dialed back than your typical sugar cookie. You'll appreciate the lemon zest coming through and combining with the raisin, pecan, and cherry flavors.
As a gift, stollen is pretty economical to make. The pecans are probably the most expensive ingredient. Pick up a few basic ingredients and maybe some pretty ribbon, crank up the carols and your holiday list will be done in no time. Enjoy!
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 egg yolks, divided
1/2 cup chopped red and green candied cherries
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp. water
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
additional cherries, optional
1 tbsp. milk
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and lemon rind.
3. Cut in butter until crumbly.
4. Add yeast mixture and 2 egg yolks; mix well.
5. Stir in cherries and pecans.
6. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
7. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, the dough will not double.
8. Punch dough down and divide into 4 pieces.
9. Roll three pieces into 15" ropes.
10. Braid ropes; place on a greased baking sheet.
11. Split the last quarter into two pieces and roll 2 - 15" ropes, twist ropes.
12. Press in an indention down the center of the braided loaf.
13. Place twisted dough in the indention.
14. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
15. Beat remaining egg yolk and water and brush over loaf.
16. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes
17. Cover with foil and bake 20-25 minutes longer, cool on a wire rack
18. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over loaf, decorate with cherries