Christmas Stollen Wreath

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

  I didn’t know what to think when I found out the December challenge for The Daring Bakers was to make a Christmas Stollen. I’ve never even heard of stollen before and was slightly apprehensive about making it. When I saw pictures of stollen that other bakers had made I began to get excited. It is so pretty! I love how much it looks like a wreath.

  I bought all the ingredients in the beginning of December but wasn’t quite sure when I was going to make it. We had a snow storm this past weekend and I decided this was the time to make it since I couldn’t really go outside. I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer and it really helped to mix in the ingredients. The dough smelled heavenly as it began to rise. It was sweet with lots of spices but yet still had the doughy scent as well.

  It wasn’t nearly as difficult to make as I thought it would be, though it was time consuming. I had a little trouble pinching the ends of the dough together but once it was in the oven I anxiously awaited the finished bread. My entire house smelled like Christmas while it was baking. This would be the perfect thing to have in the oven whenever company comes over. The end result was stunning! A round, brown bread with fruit pieces sticking out.

  After putting on the butter and powdered sugar it looked amazing. I put a few candied cherries on top and it looked just like a wreath! I wasn’t sure how it would taste, but my husband and I really enjoyed it! The bread wasn’t really like fruitcake-it had the consistency of a cinnamon roll and I loved the candied peel and rum soaked cranberries in it. My husband enjoyed it plain but I thought it was incredible toasted and then slathered in butter. Definitely a recipe I’ll use in years to come!

Stollen Wreath

¼ cup warm water (110º F)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup low fat milk
8 tablespoons butter
5½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 1 orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
½ cup candied orange peel, chopped
¼ cup candied lemon peel, chopped
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried pineapple, chopped
3 tablespoons candied ginger, finely chopped
3 tablespoons rum
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped)
1 cup flaked almonds (optional-I did not use these)
¼ cup melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Powdered sugar for dusting wreath
To make the Stollen dough:

1. In a small bowl, soak the cranberries in the rum for at least an hour and set aside.

2. Pour ¼ cup warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

3. In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

4. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.
5. In a large mixing bowl mix together on low speed the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, lime, and lemon zests.
6. Then mix in the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture, still on low. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
7. Add in the mixed peel, soaked cranberries, pineapple, ginger, and almonds (if added). Mix on low speed to incorporate. Add the cherries and mix by hand so that the dough does not turn red.

8. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. (I ended up adding approximately ¼ cup of flour at this point.) The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes. The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few cranberries will start to fall off the dough onto the counter.

9. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

10. Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.
Shaping the Dough into a Wreath and Baking:

1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.

2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

3. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches and ¼ inch thick.

4. Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

5. Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.
6. Using kitchen scissors make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough. Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

7. Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position.

9. Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
10. Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot. Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter. Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first. The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
11. Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!
12. When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.
The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and one month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.
This post linked to:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *