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Sourdough Stollen Recipe

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Stollen is a traditional German bread served at Christmas time. Studded with dried fruits, marzipan and citrus zest, this enriched bread is a delicious treat made even better with sourdough starter.

slices of sourdough stollen on white platter

Stollen is a perfect bread to serve during the Christmas holiday season. Studded with rum soaked fruit, orange and lemon zest, almonds and almond paste and a generous coating in powdered sugar. 

Plus its great because you are supposed to make it ahead of time and then let it sit, so you can easily add it into your busy schedule. 

Serve this bread with butter, apricot jam, and a cup of coffee. It’s great on Christmas morning, in the afternoon with a cup of tea, or anytime you need a little treat.

If you love making traditional holiday desserts, you have GOT to try your hand at my povitica recipe, too! Its phenomenal!

overhead view of stollen on platter with cut slices beside

How to make Stollen with sourdough starter

For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below.

NOTE: Remember that the temperature and humidity of your house play a role in how long sourdough takes to ferment. If your house is cooler, it could take longer for your dough to reach the right stage. If your house is warmer, it could take less than the given times. Watch the dough, not the clock! The times given are for an ambient temperature of 70 F.

Make the levain.

  1. The night before, mix together the sourdough starter (it can be unfed at this point), flour, milk and sugar in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow to sit in a warm place overnight (about 12 hours), until doubled.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dried fruits and either spiced rum or apple juice. Cover with plastic wrap and set it on the counter overnight.
stollen levain before and after overnight rest

Mix the dough.

  1. In the morning, to the large bowl with the levain, add the flour, milk, sugar, and salt. 
  2. Knead the ingredients into the dough until the dough seems dry. Cover the dough.
  3. Take the butter out of the fridge and cube it. Allow the butter and the dough to sit and rest for 1 hour at room temperature. 
  4. Add the butter to the dough and knead until it is combined.
sourdough stollen dough

Add in the fruits and zest.

  1. Drain the fruit and pat dry. Zest the oranges and lemons and chop the almonds. Mix the fruits, zest, and almonds into a medium bowl.
  2. Press the dough into a large rectangle. You want to gently press it out, don’t stretch it.
  3. Sprinkle ⅓ of the dried fruits, zest, and nuts over the dough, and fold the dough over the fillings to seal them in.
  4. Press the dough out into a large rectangle a second time, and add half of the remaining fruit and zest mixture evenly over the dough. Fold the dough over the added ingredients to seal it inside.
  5. Press the dough out into a large rectangle for a third time, and add the remaining fruit and zest mixture and fold the dough over the mixture to seal it inside.
mixing dried fruit into dough

Proof the dough.

  1. Place the dough into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to proof until doubled, about 6 hours. 

*If you want to place the dough in the fridge for an overnight proofing, you could place the bowl of dough in the fridge after 2 hours at room temperature.

proofing stollen dough in bowl

Shape the dough.

  1. Take the marzipan out of the package and divide into two equal sections. Roll each section of marzipan into a cylinder about 10” long.
  2. Divide the dough in half and gently press one of the halves into a rectangle about 12” x 8”. 
  3. Place one marzipan cylinder into the center of the spread out dough long wise (the marzipan should be about 10” so you want to put it in the same direction as the dough so there is some overhang of dough about 1” on either side).
  4. Fold the ends of the dough over the marzipan log and then roll the dough around the marzipan to seal it in.
  5. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. 
  6. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.
shaping stollen loaves

Final Proof

  1. Proof for an hour, or until puffy. The dough won’t double in size, but it should look airier.

Bake the stollen.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and place the baking sheet in the center of the oven. 
  3. Bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the bread to a wire rack, and immediately brush melted butter all over the bread – even the bottom.
  5. Wait 15 minutes to allow the butter to soak in, and then brush with a second player of melted butter.
  6. Place the bread in a dish with a lip on the edge and dust generously with powdered sugar. And by dust, I kind of mean roll it around in the powdered sugar. You want every part of your bread covered with a thick coating of powdered sugar. This helps to create a seal on the bread which helps keep it fresh. There is no such thing as too much powdered sugar. 
  7. Cool completely, and then give the loaves a second dusting of powdered sugar.

The bread can be enjoyed right away, but some people swear you shouldn’t cut into it until the next day at the very least to allow the flavors to take full effect. And traditionally, the bread is allowed to “mature” for 4-6 weeks before eating. 

baking stollen

Baker’s Schedule

Understanding the timing of this recipe and how it can fit in your schedule is an important way to make sure your recipe turns out well for you. To figure out a baker’s schedule, I like to work backwards from when I want the bread to be done baking to figure out when I need to start. This recipe takes a total of 10 hours 30 minutes plus an overnight rest for the levain. So 22 hours in total. 

Here is the timeline for baking these:

  • Levain: 12 hours (overnight)
  • Mixing the dough: 2 hours
  • Proofing: 6 hours (You can instead place the dough in the fridge for an overnight cold fermentation to increase the sourdough flavor and help with your timing)
  • Shaping: 30 minutes
  • Final Proof: 1 hour
  • Baking:  50 minutes
two loaves of sourdough stollen cut in half and stacked on each other to show inside

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a sourdough starter to make this bread?

Yes, you do! This bread was specifically designed to use with sourdough starter. If you don’t have one, and you want to make one, you can follow my guide on how to make a sourdough starter.

What kind of sourdough starter does this recipe use?

This recipe uses a 100% hydration sourdough starter. It does not matter what kind of flour you use to feed your starter with, this recipe will work with it. If you do not know what hydration your starter is, please read my guide on feeding a sourdough starter. This recipe can be made with starter that is unfed and straight from the fridge since we make a levain with it. You can also use fed, active starter. The choice is yours!

New to sourdough? Read my Ultimate Guide to Sourdough for Beginners to answer all the questions you have!

Do I have to soak the fruit in rum? 

You can choose to soak your dried fruits in rum, spiced rum, or brandy. If you want something non-alcoholic, you can also use apple juice or apple cider. In a pinch you could use plain water, too, but using something with some flavor will help give your soaked fruit, and therefore bread, extra flavor. Do NOT skip soaking them, it’s better to soak them in plain water than nothing at all. 

two freshly baked stollen loaves on wire rack coated with powdered sugar

How to store Stollen bread

Stollen is great to enjoy right away, but it also keeps really well! To store, wrap the completely cooled stollen tightly in plastic wrap, and then in a layer of aluminum foil, and then place it in an airtight bag and store in a cool place (somewhere between 40 and 60 degrees F). The stollen can stay like this for several weeks. And as it sits in this airtight container, the fruit and zest matures and it all ends up tasting better!

Once you start cutting into it and eating your loaf, keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Food tastes better when its shared! If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate below!

Yield: 24 Servings

Sourdough Stollen

slices of sourdough stollen on white platter

Stollen is a traditional German bread served at Christmas time. Studded with dried fruits, marzipan and citrus zest, this enriched bread is a delicious treat made even better with sourdough starter.

Prep Time 22 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 22 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

Levain:

  • 250 grams all purpose flour
  • 250 grams sourdough starter
  • 120 grams whole milk
  • 10 grams granulated sugar

Fruit mixture

  • 100 grams golden raisins
  • 100 grams raisins
  • 100 grams dried apricots, chopped
  • 60 grams dried cranberries
  • 100 grams spiced rum
  • 3 oranges, zested
  • 2 lemons, zested

Final Dough

  • 250 grams all purpose flour
  • 50 grams whole milk
  • 40 grams granulated sugar
  • 10 grams salt
  • 150 grams unsalted butter

Topping

  • 50 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 50 grams powdered sugar

Instructions

Make the levain.

  1. The night before, mix together the sourdough starter (it can be unfed at this point), flour, milk and sugar in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow to sit in a warm place overnight (about 12 hours), until doubled.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dried fruits and either spiced rum or apple juice. Cover with plastic wrap and set it on the counter overnight.

Mix the dough.

  1. In the morning, to the large bowl with the levain, add the flour, milk, sugar, and salt.
  2. Knead the ingredients into the dough until the dough seems dry. Cover the dough.
  3. Take the butter out of the fridge and cube it.
  4. Allow the butter and the dough to sit and rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
  5. Add the butter to the dough and knead until it is combined.
  6. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Drain the fruit and pat dry. Zest the oranges and lemons and chop the almonds. Mix the fruits, zest, and almonds into a medium bowl.
  8. Press the dough into a large rectangle. You want to gently press it out, don’t stretch it.
  9. Sprinkle ⅓ of the dried fruits, zest, and nuts over the dough, and fold the dough over the fillings to seal them in.
  10. Press the dough out into a large rectangle a second time, and add half of the remaining fruit and zest mixture evenly over the dough. Fold the dough over the added ingredients to seal it inside.
  11. Press the dough out into a large rectangle for a third time, and add the remaining fruit and zest mixture and fold the dough over the mixture to seal it inside.

Proof the dough.

  1. Place the dough into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to proof until doubled, about 6 hours.

    *If you want to place the dough in the fridge for an overnight proofing, you could place the bowl of dough in the fridge after 2 hours at room temperature.

Shape the dough.

  1. Take the marzipan out of the package and divide into two equal sections.
  2. Roll each section of marzipan into a cylinder about 10” long.
  3. Divide the dough in half and gently press one of the halves into a rectangle about 12” x 8”.
  4. Place one marzipan cylinder into the center of the spread out dough long wise (the marzipan should be about 10” so you want to put it in the same direction as the dough so there is some overhang of dough about 1” on either side).
  5. Fold the ends of the dough over the marzipan log and then roll the dough around the marzipan to seal it in.
  6. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.

Final Proof

  1. Proof for an hour, or until puffy. The dough won’t double in size, but it should look airier.

Bake the stollen.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and place the baking sheet in the center of the oven.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the bread to a wire rack, and immediately brush melted butter all over the bread - even the bottom.
  5. Wait 15 minutes to allow the butter to soak in, and then brush with a second player of melted butter.
  6. Place the bread in a dish with a lip on the edge and dust generously with powdered sugar. You want every part of your bread covered with a thick coating of powdered sugar. This helps to create a seal on the bread which helps keep it fresh. There is no such thing as too much powdered sugar.
  7. Cool completely, and then give the loaves a second dusting of powdered sugar.

Notes

NOTE: Remember that the temperature and humidity of your house play a role in how long sourdough takes to ferment. If your house is cooler, it could take longer for your dough to reach the right stage. If your house is warmer, it could take less than the given times. Watch the dough, not the clock! The times given are for a house with an ambient temperature of 70 F.

Storage:

Stollen is great to enjoy right away, but it also keeps really well! To store, wrap the completely cooled stollen tightly in plastic wrap, and then in a layer of aluminum foil, and then place it in an airtight bag and store in a cool place (somewhere between 40 and 60 degrees F). The stollen can stay like this for several weeks. And as it sits in this airtight container, the fruit and zest matures and it all ends up tasting better!

Once you start cutting into it and eating your loaf, keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 15gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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Natalie

Wednesday 28th of September 2022

What a delicious treat this is! I never tried this great dessert before. My parents loved it, thank you!

Adena Mallett

Thursday 13th of January 2011

Kerry: "Where'd you steal it from?"

BAHAHA!

Stephanie

Sunday 2nd of January 2011

good job! your looks beautiful!

Also your dog is too cute

Anonymous

Thursday 30th of December 2010

Everything looks wonderful!!!

ann

Wednesday 29th of December 2010

Wow, that stollen wreath is very impressive. Well done!

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