Food is a part of a culture's tradition and overall identity. Recipes are passed down from one generation to the next, and because of this, younger generations are reminded of who they are and where they came from. I love to make the food my grandparents and great grandparents made. When I cook or bake what they made long ago I feel connected to my ancestors in a way.

Stollen is similar to a fruit cake and is typically enjoyed in the Christmas season. The recipe is traced back anywhere from the 14th to 16th centuries (depending on the source), either way making this is a really old tradition. Stollen was a favorite of my grandfather's — technically anything sweet was a winner in his book — but it was also a traditional bread that his parents and grandparents made. I remember trying stollen, as well as other German baked goods, at his house when I was younger. One slice was never enough. I would devour what I was given then steal glances of longing while I impatiently waited for a chance to sneak a small crumb.  

In honor of my grandfather I attempted making stollen for the first time. It was more time consuming than expected and you have to wait 2 days to eat it — temptation at its finest. So it sits there taunting you for 48 hours, but the wait is well worth it.  

German Stollen

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:4 hrs
  • Total Time:4 hrs 20 mins
  • Servings:2
  • Medium


  • 1 1/3 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk at room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsalted butter melted
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup candied ginger chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
cereal, cake, dough, flour
Elise Webster
  • Step 1

    Mix raisins and cherries together in a small bowl. Add in the rum. Cover and let it sit overnight.

    beans, herb, pepper, black beans, cereal, tea, coffee
    Elise Webster
  • Step 2

    The next day, mix the milk and yeast together, on low speed, until the yeast dissolves. Add 1 cup of flour for about 2 minutes. Set this aside and cover, letting it rest for 40 minutes. This will be your starter.

    bread, flour, egg, cream, butter, milk
    Elise Webster
  • Step 3

    While the starter is resting, mix 3 cups flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and lemon zest.

    butter, pumpkin, cake
    Elise Webster
  • Step 4

    Add 1 cup melted butter and the vanilla extract to the flour mixture. Add in egg yolk. Mix on a low speed for about 1 minute.

    cake, bread, flour, sweet, dough, pastry, cookie
    Elise Webster
  • Step 5

    Divide your starter into 3 equal pieces. It will help if you wet your hands with a little water. Add one piece of the starter to the flour and butter mixture. Beat for 2 minutes. Add in the second piece of starter dough and mix for 2 minutes. Once you add in the third, and final, piece of starter dough, mix for 4 to 5 minutes. the dough should be well mixed and glossy looking.

    dough, cream, flour
    Elise Webster
  • Step 6

    Add in the candied ginger and pecans to the dough and mix. Then add the rum-soaked raisins and cherries.

    raisin, cereal
    Elise Webster
  • Step 7

    Set the dough on a floured surface and begin to knead, for about 5 minutes. Put the dough in a bowl, cover, and let sit for an hour at room temperature, allowing it to rise a little.

    bread, sweet, dairy product, cake, chocolate, cookie
    Elise Webster
  • Step 8

    Lightly grease 2 loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2). Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and place each piece into a separate pan. Cover the pans with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for an hour.

    bread, cake, chocolate, dairy product, cookie, sweet
    ELise Webster
  • Step 9

    Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the loaves for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The internal temperature of a loaf should be around 190°. Once it reaches this temperature, the bread is done. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and brush 1 cup melted butter on to warm loaf. Follow by sprinkling 3/4 cup sugar on the loaves. Once the loaves are cooled, cover and let them sit overnight.

    bread, chocolate, cookie
    Elise Webster
  • Step 10

    In the morning, sprinkle 1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar over the loaves covering the top and sides. Cover loaves again and let sit for 2 days. After these 2 days, sift 1/2 cup confectioners sugar over loaves. Serve and enjoy.

    chips, cream, chocolate
    Elise Webster

If you are feeling adventurous and want to try something new, or are just feeling nostalgic and have some time on your hands try out this traditional German dish. Stollen is perfect for chilly winter days that just seem like they are meant to be spent in the kitchen.