Daring Baker Challenge -Christmas Stollen

Christmas Stollen Wreath

I am so pleased with the success I have had with this recipe.  Thank you to Penny from Sweet Sadies Baking for hosting this challenge of the Daring Bakers.  I can honestly say this is a recipe I never would have tried if it wasn’t part of the “Daring Bakers Challenge”

When I read through the list of ingredients and procedures I was a little concerned.  I have made bread before, but never a bread mix which takes two days to proof! I have never used butter in my bread, and I have never made bread by hand, (my trusty bread maker is always by my side).

Initially it looked as if the 5 1/2 cups of flour would require this to be a hand made bread, but I decided to try and do the initial mix, proof and knead in the machine.  I am happy to report that all went well. As such, my instructions are for a German Stollen made in a breadmaker.

Penny has allowed variation in the fruit and the soaking liquor so I chose to use dried blueberries and cranberries soaked in Grand Marnier instead of the usual raisons in rum. I was hoping to add more of a citrus zing to the bread.  Given that the recipe already included citrus peel and orange and lemon rind I thought the flavour of the Grand Marnier would compliment well.

I had also intended to make an almond marzipan centre to the wreath but some how during the rolling process I completely forgot to add it to the dough.  Not to worry it turned out beautifully anyway.

This is definitely something I will make for future Christmas celebrations.  I like the quantity of loaf this recipe makes although; I will probably make a series of smaller wreaths or loaves as gifts, rather than just the one masterpiece.

The recipe below has been supplied by Penny from Sweet Sadies Baking, I have merely reproduced it on my site.

German Stollen


¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water

2 packages or 14 grams active dry yeast

1 cup (240 ml) milk

140 grams butter

5½ cups all-purpose plain flour

½ cup (115 gms) sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract or orange extract

135 grams mixed peel

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup dried cranberries

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)

1 cup flaked almonds

Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath

Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.



1. Soak the cranberries and blueberries in a bowl with the Grand Marnier, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

3. Microwave 1 cup milk and 140 gm butter until the butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm.

4. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

Dough Ingredients

5. In a breadmaker place flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests. Add the yeast, egg mixture and butter mixture and put the bread maker on a dough only setting. Allow the breadmaker to run through the dough cycle.

Adding peel

6. Take the dough out of the breadmaker at the end of the second cycle and place into a bigger bowl. Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds. Mix with your hands to incorporate. If you are using cherries they are added now. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

Proofing stollen

7. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes. The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

after proofing

8. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

Christmas Stollen

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.

2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

3. Preheat oven to moderate 160°C  with the oven rack on the middle shelf.


4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 40 x 61 cms and 6 mm thick.

Rolling the Stollen wreath

5. If adding marzipan it gets placed in a long line at the edge of the dough.

6. Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

7. Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

Shaping a stollen wreath

8. Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, 5 cm intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

9. Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

10. Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

11. Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

12. Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.

German Stollen Wreath

13. Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter. Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first. The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.

Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!  When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

German Stollen Wreath-2

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