Chock full of fruit and nuts, this German Stollen bread recipe smells amazing as it cooks and tastes even better! It is a great recipe to try for the holidays. Keep reading to learn how to make it!
I first tried stollen bread on our trip to Frankenmuth earlier this year. We ate dinner one evening at the Bavarian Inn and they started the meal off by bringing us a basket of fresh bread. I couldn’t get enough of the soft slices of fruit and nut bread slathered in butter. Yum! I asked the waitress about it and was told that it was stollen bread.
So when we got home, I scoured the internet trying to find a copycat recipe and ended up cobbling a fruit stollen recipe together based on a few different recipes and the ingredients list from the Bavarian Inn’s stollen packaging. It turned out pretty darn close to what we had in Frankenmuth.
Over the past few years, my husband have been trying to incorporate more holiday recipes and traditions that reflect our heritage (primarily German and Scandinavian). So this German Christmas Stollen recipe is definitely going to become a regular part of our holiday celebration, along with krumkake and lefse.
German Stollen Bread Recipe Ingredients
- 1 pack of rapid rise dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup milk (not skim)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 cup chopped cashews
- 1 cup chopped dried fruit (I used a mix of golden raisins, cranberries, cherries, pineapple, and apricots)
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all purpose flour
German Christmas Stollen Recipe Instructions
Start by chopping your fruit and nuts. The cranberries and raisins can be left whole. The cherries should be cut in half and the apricots and pineapples chunks need to be chopped into smaller pieces.
Use a nut grinder to coarsely chop the nuts. You can use a food processor, but I have found that it turns some of the nuts to powder before all the pieces are sufficiently small. So I prefer to use an old-fashioned nut grinder to chop the nuts for this Christmas stollen bread recipe. Plus this is a fun task for kids!
Dissolve the yeast in warm water. (It needs to be comfortable to the touch. Too hot and you will kill the yeast.)
Microwave the milk for 1 minute 30 seconds. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into slices and put in the warm milk along with the sugar. This will melt the butter so there is no need to soften it ahead of time. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes before proceeding.
While the milk is cooling, zest the lemon. I use a microplane (citrus zester) to make quick work of it.
When the milk has cooled slightly (it should be warm to the touch), stir in the yeast mixture, egg, fruit, cashews, and lemon zest.
Gradually add the flour, stirring until it is all incorporated.
Knead the dough. I use a bread hook in my KitchenAid stand mixer on speed 2 for 5 minutes. If you prefer to knead by hand, knead for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.
This time of year, our house is fairly cold. So I let my bread rise in my food dehydrator on the lowest setting. We have a box dehydrator from Cabela’s that is similar to the Excalibur. I just remove all the trays, place the bowl of dough on the floor of the dehydrator, and cover with a damp towel. In my dehydrator, it takes 45 minutes to an hour for this German stollen bread recipe to rise.
After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Divide the dough in half and shape into loaves. Place into greased pans, cover, and let rise again.
For the second rise, I place a glass baking dish on the bottom rack of my oven and fill it with boiling water. Then I place the loaves in the oven (not turned on), cover with parchment paper, and let them rise until they fill the loaf pan and rise an inch above the top.
After the dough has risen, remove the parchment paper, turn your oven on to 350 degrees and bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Let the stollen bread cool for 15 minutes in the pan then remove and allow to cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife. Feel free to double this Christmas stollen bread recipe. You can freeze any extra loaves for up to 3 months.
Traditionally Stollen bread is glazed or dusted with powdered sugar , but we prefer ours without. Feel free to sprinkle the top with powdered sugar if you would prefer a sweeter treat!
Printable Christmas Stollen Bread Recipe Card
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I recommend making this fruit stollen recipe a day or two before and serving it for breakfast Christmas morning. As I type this, there are 2 loaves down in my kitchen on cooling racks and the smell is amazing! If there are any leftovers, it makes an absolutely yummy French toast.
While you are here, be sure to check out the rest of our Christmas recipes and crafts. If you make this German stollen bread recipe, you will have to come back here and let me know how you liked it. I would love to hear from you. Be sure to leave a comment below. Merry Christmas!!!