Day 2: Stollen, not Stolen
Stollen. I have made this every year for several years. It is a German Christmas bread that is pretty dense and chock full of fruit. It’s very similar to fruitcake, only it’s a bread. Whenever I begin to talk about making it, it sparks lots of funny jokes in our house about stolen stollen. Cries of, ” he stole my stollen!” and “someone stole the stolen stollen” get sprinkled throughout our conversation. If my whole family were to declare one day that they hated stollen, I would still make it, just to hear them make goofy jokes about it. As it is, almost everyone loves it.
I say almost because the husband is a reluctant stollen lover. For some reason, he eschews any thing made with dark raisins. I get it; dark raisins have a kind of unpleasant bitterness to them, especially when they are baked. Every year, he talks about how he doesn’t like them, and every year, I put them in the stollen anyway, and he likes it. It’s probably the rum. Or maybe it’s the large amount of butter that goes into it.
I compromise a little. This year, I used half dark raisins and half of my rummy fruit mix with candied peel. It’s not all dark in that stollen. Plus, there’s that tube of almond paste that runs the length of the loaf. I don’t put it in every loaf, just two of them, and those two are the ones we keep. I would put it in all four of them, but it just kind of works out that one can of almond paste is enough for the dough and only two of the loaves. One year, I gave one away with the almond paste, and I thought there was going to be a family rebellion. So, I have to keep my almond stollen.
I’ve just realized that I have never tasted an authentic stollen made in Germany. They sell them at the store, but for some reason, I have never bought one. I am not sure I could unless I could be assured that it was a really, really good one. Maybe I will just have to go to Germany at Christmastime one day to experience it myself.
Anyway, if you want to make my recipe, you can find it in Maggie Glezer’s book, Artisan Baking . Or, you could try this recipe by Melissa Clark that is very similar and purports to be authentic. Stollens are great to make and gift away because they keep well for weeks. In fact, they can get better over time.
We usually wait at least a few days before we try one and we have kept one until well into January and it is still good. The stollen is supposed to look like a swaddled baby. You can imagine all the jokes that come from that idea while we are eating it. That’s just another reason to love stollen!