German Sourdough Christmas Stollen—It’s a Keeper

German Sourdough Christmas Stollen—It’s a Keeper

In the winter of 1969, when I moved to Germany at Christmas time, I first tasted this delightful German Christmas bread, known as Stollen. Growing up at home, our mom made a traditional rum-flavored fruit cake as part of our holiday fare. It was heavy with nuts, citron, and dried fruit—we all ate it politely, but I am sure that no one really loved it. And it really is nothing like stollen in Germany


Stollen, also known as Christstollen or Weihnachtsstollen, is more cake-like, had less fruit, and was actually leavened bread. I enjoyed it much more than mom’s fruit cake.

But I was surprised to learn of stollen’s symbolic meaning. I had always supposed the powdered sugar represented snow on a winter log, but in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter Reinharts explains that the stollen:

“…symbolizes the blanket of the baby Jesus, and the colored fruits represent the gifts of the Magi.  As in nearly every festival bread, the story aspect of this loaf is culturally important, for it is a way parents teach their children about their heritage.”

Author: Darryl Alder, is a retired BSA Professional Scouter and outdoorsman, who spent too many hours over a campfire using a dutch oven, and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire. He blogs for, loves to test new recipes for the home baker, and for the bakery when those recipes are scalable; at either site just search RECIPE for one of Martha Levie’s or his many sourdough baking ideas.
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