Christmas Stollen and 10 Bread Baking Gift Ideas

Christmas Stollen is a great tradition this time of year. A sweet loaf that is studded with fruit, spiced with cardamom and a little treat of almond paste runs through it. Once it comes out of the oven we dust it with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar to look like the snow outside. If there is any left the next day it makes amazing French toast. This is a loaf that also makes a great gift for the holidays.

Speaking of gifts for the bakers on your list, here are 10 great ideas for those who love to bake and folks who want to learn how.

The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – A perfect place for both experienced bakers and new comers to start. We also have a GF version: Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Bread Baking Craftsy Class – An in depth video class that will guide you through the mixing, shaping and baking of our Master recipe. We’ll make dozens of breads, including everything from a boule to sticky buns. You’ll see our tips for shaping properly and getting the best results from all your breads, no matter which dough you use. If you buy the class through our site you’ll get $20 off the price of the class. Hope you’ll join us.

More gift ideas at the end of the post.

100% white whole wheat Christmas Stollen from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes enough for three 1 1/2 pound loaves

6 cups White Whole Wheat Flour

1 tablespoon granulated Red Star Baking Yeast

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom

1/4 cup Vital Wheat Gluten

2 cups lukewarm water

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (see the book for other alternatives)

1/2 cup honey

4 large eggs

1/4 cup brandy (OJ or black tea can be substituted)

1 1/2 cups finely chopped dried and/or candied fruit (you choose your favorites. I used cherries, raisins, craisins, and  apricots.)

1/2 cup Almond Paste, per loaf

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

Confectioners’ sugar for the top

Mixing the dough: Dump the flour, yeast, salt, cardamom, and vital wheat gluten in a 6-Quart Round Food-Storage Container with Lid and stir them together with a spoon or dough whisk. Add the water, butter, honey, eggs, brandy and dried fruit, mix until well incorporated. No kneading! Cover loosely and let stand on the counter for 2 hours. This dough will be sticky, but much easier to handle after it has been refrigerated for several hours. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days or frozen for 2 weeks.

For a version that is a little more decadent, you can use the Brioche Dough (page 189, ABin5) and add the cardamom, the dried fruit fruit and replace 1/4 of the water for the brandy.

On baking day take a 1 1/2 pound (small cantaloupe-size) piece of dough from the bucket.

Using plenty of flour roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick oval. Form the 1/2 cup almond paste into a rope and lay it onto the dough about a 1/3 of the way from the end.

Fold the dough over the almond paste…

in thirds, so that it forms an S-shape…

when you look at it from the end.

Place the loaf on a Sheet Pan with parchment or a Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat and loosely cover with plastic and let it rest for 90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F degree, with rack in the middle of the oven.

Once it has rested brush with the egg wash and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Let the loaf cool for about 20 minutes and then Sprinkle it with confections’ sugar…

Until it is completely covered and looks like snow!

Here are our top 10 gift recommendations for getting anyone on your holiday list started with bread baking:

The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – A perfect place for both experienced bakers and new comers to start. We also have a GF version: Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Baking Revolution Continues with 90 New, Delicious and Easy Recipes Made with Gluten-Free Flours

Bread Baking Craftsy Class – An in depth video class that will guide you through the mixing, shaping and baking of our Master recipe. We’ll make dozens of breads, including everything from a basic boule to sweet sticky buns. You’ll see our tips for shaping properly and getting the best results from all your breads, no matter which dough you use. If you buy the class through our site you’ll get $20 off the price of the class. Hope you’ll join us.

6-Quart Round Storage Container – the most convenient container to mix and store your dough.

Danish Dough Whisk – The coolest tool you’ll have in your kitchen. It makes mixing our dough even easier.

Scissors – long bladed shears are great for cutting dough from the bucket and for cutting loaves like the epi.

Oven Thermometer – check to make sure your oven is running true to temp with an independent thermometer.

Baking Stone– this classic stone is tried and true, but quite thick, so requires a longer preheat or a thin Rectangular Baking Stone – this stone is thinner, so it heats up quickly and can be used on the grill.

Baking Steel – this baking surface heats up quickly and retains great heat

Pizza Peel– this is perfect for sliding pizzas and breads onto the hot stone.

Serrated Bread Knife – a sharp bread knife is key to cutting a crisp loaf of bread.

Combine any of these with a bag of all-purpose flour and Red Star Yeast and they will be off and baking.

Happy Holidays.

The winner of our Emile Henry Bread Loaf Baker, Red Star Yeast Platinum Yeast and the copy of our book is Michele. Thank you all for the wonderful comments.

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689 thoughts on “Christmas Stollen and 10 Bread Baking Gift Ideas

    1. Hi Heather,

      Is it the almonds that you don’t like or just almond paste? We give a sliced almond alternative in the book, but if you don’t like almonds this won’t work. You don’t have to have anything in the middle at all.

      Thanks, Zoë

  1. I bake off at least 2-3 loaves of the artisan bread a week! I will be trying out the stollen this week to give as gifts.

    Thank you!

  2. Have both of your books. Love giving them as gifts too!! Make perfect Christmas gifts with a few baking supplies added to basket. Look forward to the new book next year!!

  3. Love almond paste, so this looks like the perfect delivery system to my stomach :D. Can’t wait for your pizza and flatbread book to be published!

  4. I love Artisan Bread in 5 – I make a batch every week – lately we have been obsessed with the Cranberry Cornbread – WOW
    and the pumpernickel
    I like stolen but would like a choice rather than the almond paste as I don’t care for it.

  5. Oh! I think I have everything needed to make this Stollen. Alone tomorrow, I’m gonna try it. Your ABin 5, has changed my life, I LOVE MY KITCHEN AGAIN!

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Because the fresh ground flour tends to be coarser you may need to add less water to the batch. I would start by reducing the water by 1/4 cup and see if it is the right consistency, if it is too dry you can add the rest of the water.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I am retiring soon from 31 years of teaching, and since I will have more time, I want to learn how to bake bread. Your recipe look wonderful.

  7. Came across your basic recipe in Mother Earth Newsletter. Immediately bought the first book and having been making all of our family bread from scratch since. Just ordered your new book for myself for Christmas! The Stollen looks wonderful. Thank you both so much for sharing this easy version of making bread. We have 8 children, several adopted with special needs, and this has helped us save money, plus give them much healthier bread. It looks like our 11 year old with Down Syndrome has Celiac Disease, so I am looking forward to trying your glueten free versions. Thank you again! Please enter me into the drawing!!

  8. What a delight and relief to have found this site and your wonderful recipes. I have developed many food allergies in the past year, including dairy and soy making it very difficult to find any good tasting, safe commercial breads. I felt that baking great bread was impossible for the average person. I now know that I’ve found the solution. I’ve just ordered your books on Amazon and can’t wait to bake my own fabulous breads. A thousand thank yous are coming your way.

  9. I just made Stollen yesterday for the December Daring Kitchen Challenge. I love that this one has almond paste in it. I will have to try that next time!

    (I am in Minneapolis too. Do you ever think the snow will stop?)

  10. Thanks so much for this recipe! I had never made or had it before, and whipped up a batch when this contest was going on. It was so delicious I made more yesterday into 4 small loaves. Everyone at Christmas Eve dinner got one for when they woke up this morning – and they are raving about it! Love your books and method. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    And Merry Christmas. Hope the cabin fever isn’t too bad.

  11. I have to be honest….this is the most difficult web site to navigate. It really needs better organization, etc. I don’t know if anyone will even get this message. I noticed peoples complaints about the Cambro Camwear round container and the fact that the lid doesn’t come with it, etc. I have the answer to your problems. Go to–kitchen-supplies/food-storage/round-food-containers. You can purchase the round 6 qt as well as the lid from the same site and cheaper than There are also other Cambro containers there.

  12. Hey guys,
    Just bought ABi5 and HBi5 last night and am working on the master doughs, but one of the reasons I decided to start baking bread was my gf loves bread more than just about anything on this earth, and loves swedish cardamom bread more than just about any other bread. Any chance of a recipe for that?

  13. My husband said that this was the best stollen I have ever made. I used the brioche from your first book which he insists I have on hand at all times in addition to whatever else I am making. Thanks.

  14. I’m planning on making your stollen to give as Christmas gifts this year. How long will the loaves of stollen stay fresh and good for gift giving? We start our two and a half day drive on Saturday, if I bake the bread on Friday will it be dry on Monday or Tuesday? I was thinking of wrapping each loaf in plastic wrap, refrigerating them over night and traveling with them in the cooler. Do you think that this would work? Normally when I bake any of the breads from your books they are devoured by the next day so I’ve never had to test this plan. 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Stollen is often saved and served days later, in fact some recipes claim it shouldn’t be served on the same day. It is one of the few breads I think can handle the wait. Enjoy!

      Cheers, Zoë

      1. Thank you! The dough is currently in the refrigerator after two hours on the counter. It did not rise at all in that two hours. Should I be concerned? It is a very cold day here in Colorado so my kitchen is far from warm today. I’m hoping that that is the reason and that it will still bake beautifully on Thursday or Friday!

      2. Hi Jennifer,

        If the dough didn’t rise at all, it is probably an issue with the yeast. Your yeast may be expired or the water you used was too hot or too cold.

        If the dough hasn’t risen at all by now, then it probably won’t rise in the oven. Let me know if you’ve seen any change.

        Thanks, Zoë

      3. Hi Zoe, Stollen is original from Germany and we bake it normally end of november or beginning of december to eat it at christmas. Stollen has to rest for several weeks to be really good to eat! You can store it in a tin box in a cold place, but not in the fridge!

  15. Is there a way that I could make the Christmas stollen with white unbl eached flour or at least alight whole wheat?I have wonderful memories of this stollen made with white flour

      1. Thank you. I can’t believe that I’ making s much great bread. Thanks to you and zoe.My whole family thanks you

  16. I see that the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of almond paste. Is that for all three loaves? In the photo, it looks as though there’s about 1/2 cup of almond paste rolled up in that one loaf. Maybe my eyes are deceiving me. Thanks for any reply. I’m thinking of making this for gifts this week.

  17. I see that Dulcinea suggested making a white flour stollen from the brioche recipe, page 300 in the New AB5, which calls for 7 1/2 cups white flour. Your 100% Whole Wheat Stollen (HBin5, page 279) calls for 6 cups white whole wheat flour. If I used the brioche recipe, how much of the candied fruit mixture would you advise? I plan to make the white whole wheat version too.

    1. Hi Rita,

      I actually advise you to start with the Panettone recipe and just add the cardamom in place of the zest. Replace equal amounts of the water for the brandy. Follow the directions for the almond paste and you will have a closer dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thank you, Zoe. I’ll use the Panettone for a white stollen version. I’m anxious to try your shaping method for the stollen in HB5. I’ve never done it that way — it looks like a great way to do it.

  18. Question regarding Gluten-Free Crusty Boule (recipe on website and in HBin5.)

    Would it be possible for you to post the ingredients for 1 loaf of this bread. Such ingredients are expensive and I would like to make a test batch. If I mess up on the recipe for 4, 1# loaves, I will be very unhappy at wasting all that flour! If I can make one loaf to hone my skills, I will have more confidence in approaching the 4-loaf option. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  19. Hello, I’ve made your basic loaf many, many times and it always turns out very delicious bread. The only problem that I continually have is that the last 1/3 of the dough (I usually get 3 loaves out of one batch) is next to impossible to work with because it is so wet. I am nearly to the point of throwing it out before I get it into the oven. Do you have any advice on what I should do differently? BTW, I follow the recipe exactly using unbleached flour water and flour although I use much less salt than the recipe calls for because I don’t like a lot of salt. Thank you in advance for your help.

  20. Made my first batch of Boule (pg. 26, 2007 edition) yesterday, refrigerated it overnight in our commercial frig. Today the dough was very cold, and during “cloaking” it tended to “tear” on the top instead of stretch. Is the dough too cold? Thanks, Audrey

    1. Yes, it could be. Or, the dough is too dry. Are you using some kind of higher-than-average all-purpose flour (see FAQs page, “Types of Flour…”)? Those need a little more water.

      1. Hi Jeff, Read that FAQ, I’m using typical all purpose flour. The dough seemed wet enough. If I let the hunks sit for a few minutes to warm up a bit will it make a difference in the final product? Audrey

      2. Ok, I’ll check my measuring method. Also read the weights for scaling, will try that, too. Thanks, Audrey

  21. Hello I would like to know if I can use (Whole Wheat Flour) because in Canada , Ontario, Barrie don’t have (white whole wheat flour) ………

    1. Sure can, but a tip: Canadian flours sometimes have more protein than U.S. Since we tested with US flours, may need to slightly increase the water if you find the dough seems drier than you expect.

  22. Hi its Rosa Maggie again and all so for the (Whole wheat brioche) has white whole wheat flour and would like to know if I can use (whole wheat flour) ?

  23. Husband’s favorite recipe from all four books is the Christmas stolen:) Could you tell me how to incorporate quinoa flour into the recipes that call for cooked quinoa? Thanks so much for your wonderful books and recipes for the average busy folks!

    1. Hi Jen,

      Quinoa flour has no gluten, so it can’t be swapped out for very much of the all-purpose flour. It also have a stronger flavor, so a little goes a long way. You can safely add 1/4 cup of it to the recipe with no harm to the recipe. If you want to add more than that, you can experiment, but you’ll want to make a small batch until you get the bread you like.

      Cheers, Zoë

  24. Shalom Zoe and Jeff, my question is about a mixer. I am considering buying one and thought that you are the best to advice on it. My choice is between Kitchen Aid and Kenwood. Do you have any specific recommendations and may be a specific model you can recommend?


    1. Hi Christie,

      I’ve used the Kenwood at the cooking school where I teach. There are many different models, with a wide variety of prices, but they all seem to be a strong machine. I’ve had my 5qt kitchenAid for 20+ years. Jeff has a brand new 6qt and he likes it very much.

      Thanks, Zoë

  25. I am interested in trying both the cornmeal with cranberries and the oatmeal with raisins and walnuts from the original book. I wonder why I can’t just mix them in initially instead of rolling the dough after chilling it and spreading fruit and nuts and then forming the loaves – as I put nuts and seeds in regular loaves and it works fine!


  26. Question for you two. actually i have two of them. First, what type of wheat is the white whole wheat? Is it a hard white wheat or a soft spring white wheat? Reason i ask is lehi roller mills down here sales a 45 pound bucket of hard white wheat berries. I want to grind my own but i do not like the taste of whole wheat all the time hence why i like the white whole wheat but i know there are many varities of white whole wheat and i want the once that tatses less like regular whole wheat. Second question, what did you teach at the univeraity jeff? I like your varied background in IT, physician and teaching. I teach at a high school but was at a university for 2 years in network enginering and math haha. Any way thanks

    1. I believe it’s a hard wheat– at least one of the products I’m aware of says that it’s “high-protein” and that’s the tipoff.

      I’ve taught medical informatics, and now business school courses at the U of MN–an anatomy course for business students interested in medical device companies and a course in evaluating the value of medically innovative companies.

  27. Hello! I am posting a roundup of Christmas brunch recipes on my blog (scheduled for tomorrow) and I included your Stollen. Let me know if you would rather I didn’t include the photo. I of course will give you full credit with a link to this post.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe!

  28. Hi. I have all your previous books, but am new to GF bread baking. I recently bought your GF book, but have a few questions: The Master recipe calls for 6 1/2 cups of flour, but the flour mix makes a total of 12 1/2 cups – not quite enough to make two batches (short 1/2 cup). Could I reduce the amount of liquid so I wouldn’t have to make up another batch of the mix? Second, the Master mix calls for the same amount of psyllium husk as xanthan gum, but the Whole Grain mix (#2) requires doubling the psyllium amount. Is this correct? And lastly, I think the Deli-style Rye is missing some wording. I believe the recipe calls for an egg wash as in the regular recipe, but the GF recipe mentions using water twice. Please clarify. Can’t wait for your next book!

    1. Hi Jeanne,

      You can reduce the water and make two batches of the master or you can try some of the other recipes that require less of the mix #1.

      We found that the mix #2 (whole grain) needed more psyllium to produce a nice loaf, so that amount is correct.

      We find that water really works as well and were trying to keep some of the recipes in the book egg free. If you want to use an egg white wash, you certainly can.

      So glad you are giving these recipes a try. Enjoy! Zoë

    1. No, but lots of whole grain recipes that can probably be adapted. Our second book–Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day–might be the place to start.

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