What is Stollen Bread?

It’s always fun to learn about new foods that you can make yourself. Enjoying new foods is such a great part of life, and you wouldn’t be able to do this without learning about foods you’ve never even heard of before.

Stollen bread is pretty popular in Germany, and many people around the world know of the treat. But if you’ve only recently heard of it, you’re probably wondering what it is and if you should try it.

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What is stollen bread? Stollen bread is a popular German treat that is typically made around the Holidays, but can be enjoyed all year round. It is sweet and flaky, commonly filled with nuts and fruits and topped with lots of powdered sugar. It is reminiscent of a fruit cake, but with a different texture.

What is Stollen Bread Made Out Of?

Stollen bread is made out of all your typical pastry ingredients: Flour, milk, butter, eggs, yeast and sugar. Of course, these are just the base, and the bread is filled with all sorts of nuts and fruits, which are the things that really make it shine. These are usually soaked in rum before they are added in, which makes for a moister bread and helps preserve it for longer.

Fruit and nut items that are usually put in stollen bread include almonds, candied orange or lemon peels, and raisins. These are the most common additions.

Stollen with candied fruit

The bread also contains things like orange or lemon zest, cardamom, cinnamon, and mace. All of these spices help give it that delicious signature flavor. 

Stollen bread can also have marzipan in it, though this isn’t necessary to have a delicious end result. It’s just a fun addition that is commonly used for extra flavor.

Finally, stollen bread is always topped with a lot of powdered sugar. It’s very rare to see this bread without its trademark powdered sugar dusting on top.

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What Does Stollen Bread Taste Like?

Stollen bread basically tastes how you would imagine it to taste after hearing the list of ingredients. It’s pretty fruity, but you can also taste the cardamom, cinnamon, and mace. It also commonly has marzipan on the inside, which is an almond paste that adds a great flavor.

As previously said, a lot of people might compare the taste of stollen to that of fruit cake. They both have fruits, nuts, and spices that give them a similar flavor to one another.

But since the bread is from Germany it isn’t as sweet as a lot of American desserts, it’s not really as sweet as fruit cake. Still, you can definitely taste the sugar that’s in it.

Since it is a bread, it definitely has a bread-like flavor. So though it’s sweet, don’t expect it to be like a cake or a fluffy pastry. It’s still bread, just a more sugary and flavorful version.

What is the Texture of Stollen Bread?

Despite the fact that stollen is a bread, it tends to be pretty dense. There isn’t much air in it and it’s not as fluffy as some other breads can be. So though there are other textures provided by the fruits and nuts, the bread itself is very dense.

Brushing stollen with glaze

Since there are fruits and nuts, you will find chewy pieces and crunchy pieces as you eat your stollen. A lot of people love these texture contrasts and other people hate them, so proceed with caution.

I personally find the different textures to make for a more exciting eating experience because you never know what you’ll find in the next bite.

How is Stollen Bread Served?

Stollen bread can be served plain or with butter, jam or honey. Most people like it best when it’s been warmed in the oven or microwave, but it is also common to just slice a piece off of the loaf and eat it as is.

Stollen bread isn’t usually served with anything besides butter, jam or honey. However, some people enjoy sipping some coffee with it and say that the texture is even better with a hot beverage. Eating your bread in these different ways is a great way to figure out how you like it best.

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Is Stollen Bread Hard to Make?

As long as you’re able to bake cakes or breads pretty easily, you will be able to make stollen easily as well. It is a long process because you have to wait for the dough to rise a couple different times, then wrap it up for 2-3 weeks for optimal flavor. Though this process is long, it’s not super challenging and it’s worth it in the end.

When you make your stollen bread, simply add all of the ingredients together however the recipe says. Usually, you’ll let your yeast activate in milk, then add it into your other ingredients. Then you’ll let the dough rise and add the fruits and nuts. Then all you’ll have to do is knead the dough and let it rise again.

Stollen with marzipan

If you’re adding marzipan, you will also have to make that and incorporate it in once the dough is fully ready and you are finally shaping the bread loaf. 

So if you have some minimal baking skills already, stollen bread isn’t going to be super challenging to make. For most people, the hardest part is going to be the patience required while waiting for the bread to be completely ready to eat.

Final Thoughts

Stollen bread is a tasty German dessert that often gets confused with fruit cake. And though the two are somewhat similar, they are also very different.

The bread is perfect for a holiday gathering, but it is also delicious at any time of the year, and if you really love it you can make it whenever you see fit.

If you haven’t tried stollen bread yet, you definitely should give it a go. Now that you know that it’s not super difficult to make, maybe you’ll be inspired to get in the kitchen and start baking!  Don’t miss our German stollen bread recipe!

Whatever you do, we hope that you enjoyed this article and that it helped you understand more about stollen bread.

About the authors: Charlie and Courtney found Prepared Cooks in 2020 as an informational food blog that helps answer some of the most common food questions. They strive to publish content that focuses on the simple and essential tips for preparing cooks, from beginners to experts!