My Mom’s Dutch Stollen

published Dec 4, 2021
christmas
Dutch Stollen Recipe

This yeasted sweet bread is studded with candied fruit, nuts, and a layer of almond paste running throughout. Usually toasted in the oven and served warm as a snack.

Serves12 to 16

Makes1 (16-inch) stollen

Prep45 minutes

Cook45 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
bread with slices out in front
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

My mom is Dutch (from the Netherlands, not Denmark) which means every year she makes a traditional Dutch stollen for Christmas morning. When I asked her about it, she equated the importance of having a stollen at Christmas to having a turkey at Thanksgiving.

Stollen, or kerstbrood or kertststol in Dutch, is a yeasted sweet bread studded with candied fruit and nuts with a log of almond paste running through it. It’s a massive loaf — meant to feed a crowd — and the whole thing gets generously dusted with a layer of powdered sugar. To me, the joy of stollen is that you don’t have to be precious about the shape, and you can be flexible on what you include in the dough based on your preferences.

Because my mom’s recipe makes a comically large loaf, I’m sharing the halved recipe here (although it still feeds a crowd). I suggest eating it lightly toasted and slathered with butter for breakfast like we do — although you’ll likely find yourself snacking on it throughout the day.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

The history of Dutch stollen is a bit murky. The first-ever stollen was said to have been made in 14th-century Germany, after a Bishop held a contest for local bakers. These first iterations were stodgy and bland, as butter was rationed and not able to be included. Later, the inclusion of butter significantly improved the texture and flavor of the bread, and a few centuries later different fillings were added. There’s not much information on how stollen became a fixture of a Dutch Christmas, but since the countries are neighbors it’s not hard to imagine that the loaf gradually made its way over the border. 

Today, most people in the Netherlands buy their stollen in bakeries or the grocery store, but my mom, ever the over-achiever, set out to make her own version at 16. When she moved to New York in her 20s she started making it once again, clinging to the nostalgia of Christmases past, eventually imparting the tradition onto me.

If You’re Making a Dutch Stollen, a Few Tips

  1. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving: The powdered sugar is a crucial part of stollen, but if you add it too far in advance, it’ll melt into the bread and won’t provide the same wow factor. Wait until you’re about to serve it for the full effect, and be generous! 
  2. Choose your own fillings: The recipe calls for 2 pounds of assorted raisins, slivered almonds, and candied fruit. As long as you keep the filling amount to 2 pounds, you can really add what you like. Golden raisins, currants, chopped apricots, and even brandied dried fruit are all great options.

Dutch Stollen Recipe

This yeasted sweet bread is studded with candied fruit, nuts, and a layer of almond paste running throughout. Usually toasted in the oven and served warm as a snack.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Makes 1 (16-inch) stollen

Serves 12 to 16

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks

    (8 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 1/2 cup

    sour cream

  • 3/4 cup

    milk (any percentage fat) or water

  • 1

    (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 4 1/2 cups

    plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting

  • 1 pound

    assorted raisins, slivered almonds, and coarsely chopped candied fruits (about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Cooking spray or neutral oil, for coating the bowl

  • 7 ounces

    almond paste (not marzipan)

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Place 2 sticks of the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place 2 large eggs, 1 large egg yolk, and 1/2 cup sour cream on the counter and let everything sit at room temperature until the butter is softened.

  2. Meanwhile, place 3/4 cup milk or water in a large heatproof measuring cup or medium bowl. Microwave until warm to the touch (105ºF to 115ºF), about 40 seconds. Add 1 packet active dry yeast and stir to combine. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes (if the yeast doesn’t foam, try again with new yeast). Add 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour and stir to combine. Cover and let sit in a warm place until light and foamy, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  3. Place 1 pound assorted raisins, slivered almonds, and chopped candied fruits in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour, and toss until well-coated.

  4. Beat the butter with the paddle attachment on medium speed until lightened, about 2 minutes. With the mixer still running, add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat the eggs and egg yolk in one at a time on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes (it will look curdled).

  5. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Finely grate the zest of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 teaspoon) into the bowl. Add the sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, beat on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute.

  6. Swap out the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment. Add the yeast mixture and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add the remaining 4 cups all-purpose flour and beat until the dough is smooth, elastic, very sticky, and soft, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray or neutral oil.

  7. Scrape the dough into the greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, roll 7 ounces almond paste into a 13-inch-long log about 3/4-inch wide. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or neutral oil, or line with parchment paper.

  8. Generously dust a work surface with all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the flour. Sprinkle with half of the floured fruits and nuts and fold the dough over it to cover. Pat the dough down, then sprinkle with the remaining floured fruits and nuts and fold again until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

  9. Flatten the dough into a 13x9-inch oval with a long side closer to you. Place the almond paste on the lower third of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter: Fold the bottom third up and over the almond paste, then fold the top third down. Press the ends to seal and form into an elongated shape that’s about 13x7-inches.

  10. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet seam-side down and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot until puffed, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.

  11. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Uncover the stollen and brush with the butter. Bake until lightly golden brown or an internal temperature of 190ºF, 45 to 50 minutes. Check after 30 minutes: If it is browning too quickly, lightly cover with aluminum foil and continue baking. Let the stollen cool completely on the baking sheet, about 1 1/2 hours. Generously dust with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The stollen can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap when cooled and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.