Ah, stollen. It’s one of those breads which people have an opinion on. In the UK we are used to the sickly sweet bread with mixed fruit and a big rope of sugary marzipan running through the middle. It’s usually the marzipan that has the Marmite effect on people.
Well you’ll be pleased to know that the number of stollen varieties is huge. By huge, if you can imagine that Dresden in Germany hosts a market each Christmas dedicated to stollen, then you will start to appreciate what you might be missing out of if you are a marzipan naysayer.
Let’s take a look at why stollen is so special.
First off, it’s an enriched bread. By this, we mean that it has butter and eggs added in the dough which makes it deliciously dense. Mixed fruit is also added, which have been steeped in booze for a good week or so. This imparts an amazing festive dimension to the stollen flavour, which is often lacking in the supermarket varieties. After that, you are simply limited by your imagination.
You don’t even have to have marzipan running though. A delicious variety of stollen has a poppy seed mixture in the middle which adds an amazing depth. Check out the incredible recipe by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. It’s pretty much foolproof.
This stunning plaited stollen is called a Strietzel, and is packed with Christmas colours.
Tradition holds that stollen is to represent the manager that Jesus slept in as a baby – a perfect Christmas analogy. Part of the process of making stollen is after knocking back the dough into a rectangle, you lay the baby Jesus (AKA marzipan sausage) in the middle and wrap it up in a blanket of dough.
Once it is out of the oven and cooled, you drench it with layer upon alternate layer of melted butter and sugar, before finally dusting the whole thing with snow (icing sugar).
Stollen doesn’t have to divide opinions – there is a recipe out there for everyone!
We had great full baking stollen along with cinnamon buns, mince pies and panettone on our Festive Baking class on Friday. A brilliant day was had, with a delicious festive lunch with wine, crackers and mulled wine in the afternoon!
If you would like to book a place on an upcoming class, our Festive dates are booking out quick!
Quick here to find a date that is suitable for you.