Stollen Plait

stollen plait

Baking stollen is one of the very few Christmas traditions that I have and I make it in some form or another every year. I don’t think I have ever baked the exact same recipe twice, I like to play around with it and try new recipes, I have tried many variations ranging from a very traditional German recipe to cinnamon roll style stollen buns. The one constant is that it must contain marzipan; I LOVE marzipan and will happily eat chunks of it out of the packet as I bake, although I try to control myself so that I have enough left for whatever it is that I am baking…

braided stollen

This year I decided to go for a fairly traditional stollen recipe, but shaped into a three strand braid rather than the traditional folded stollen with a log of marzipan down the centre. The dough is rolled out into a square and sliced into three strips, you then roll out the marzipan into three sausages and place one on each strip, roll the marzipan up in the dough so you have three sausages of dough with a strip of marzipan in the centre of each, then braid them together tightly. Shaping the bread like this results in the marzipan being more evenly spread throughout the loaf, rather than just having a lump of it in the middle.

marzipan stollen braid

The dough is enriched with milk, butter and egg, sweetened with honey and flavoured with a heady mix of  cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, vanilla and orange and lemon zest, truly Christmassy. After the dough has had it’s first rise, you knead in dried fruit that has been soaked in rum or orange juice so that it becomes plump and flavourful. I just used the packets of pre-mixed dried fruit – raisins, sultanas, currants and mixed peel with some dried cranberries thrown in but you can use whatever dried fruit you like; dried cherries are delicious (especially a mix of cherries and cranberries), and chopped dried apricot works really well with the almond in the marzipan.

stollen plait

The dough can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to two days if you want to split up the workload a little, and the baked stollen will keep for a week if it is well buttered and smothered in icing sugar and is kept tightly wrapped so it is airtight. It is best to leave the stollen for a day or two before slicing to allow the crumb to become a little firmer though it is still utterly delicious if sliced as soon as it is cold. This stollen to me epitomises the taste of Christmas and I can’t help myself from slicing a slither off to nibble on every time I go into the kitchen…For a proper Christmas experience I accompany it with a cheeky glass of mulled wine whilst curled up on the sofa next to the Christmas tree (unfortunately I don’t have a fireplace…if I did then curled up in front of a roaring fire would definitely be the best place to eat it…).

christmas plaited stollen

Stollen Plait

  • Servings: 1 large loaf
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 225ml (scant cup) full fat milk
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g (1/3 cup) butter, cubed
  • 500g (4 1/4 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 10g (3tsp) fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 150g (5 + 1/3 oz) mixed dried fruits
  • 50g (2 oz) dried cranberries
  • 3tbsp rum or orange juice
  • 300g (10 1/2 oz) marzipan
  • melted butter and icing sugar to glaze

Pour the milk and honey into a pan and heat until it just starts to come up to the boil, remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and butter and set aside to cool, swirling now and then until the butter has melted. Meanwhile, mix the flour, yeast, salt and spices together in a large bowl. When the milk has cooled to body temperature, pour it into the bowl of dry ingredients. Add the egg and orange and lemon zest, and mix together with a spoon, then with your hands, until the mixture comes together as a dough.

Tip out onto an un-floured work surface (or use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook) and knead for 10 mins or until smooth and elastic; the dough will be sticky at first but after a little kneading it should become smooth (you may need to use a dough scraper to prise it off the work surface), try to avoid adding any extra flour unless the dough is really wet.  Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl, cover with greased cling film and leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour. You can put the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days at this point; just bring back to room temperature for half an hour or so before continuing.

Whilst the dough is rising, place the mixed dried fruit, cranberries and rum or orange juice in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and microwave on high for one minute then set aside until cool.

When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto the work surface and punch it down. Drain the soaked fruit and knead it into the dough. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or a silicone liner. Roll the dough out into a square, roughly 40 x 40cm, then slice it into 3 long strips.

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Break the marzipan into 3 balls, then roll each out into a sausage the same length as the strips of dough. Place one marzipan sausage on top of each strip of dough, then roll the dough up around the marzipan – so you have 3 long sausages of marzipan-filled dough.

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Flip the dough over so the seams are underneath, then pinch the 3 ends together. Tightly plait the dough, keeping the seams underneath, pinch the ends together to seal and tuck them under slightly when you finish, it is best to do this directly on the baking sheet so you don’t have to transfer it.

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Place the plait on the prepared baking tray if you didn’t plait directly on it. Cover loosely with a sheet of oiled cling film or place inside a large, clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 30 minutes to an hour or until doubled in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Bake the stollen on the middle shelf of the oven for 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through, cover with tinfoil after 15 minutes or so if it starts to get too dark brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool, brush liberally all over with melted butter whilst the braid is still warm then dust generously with a thick layer of icing sugar, don’t skimp on the butter and sugar as it helps to keep the stollen moist. Leave until completely cold before slicing, will keep for a week if tightly wrapped.

(recipe adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spiced-stollen-plait)

I am sharing this with Foodie Fridays, Fiesta Friday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Create Link InspireTotally Talented Tuesdays

#CookBlogShare

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37 Comments on Stollen Plait

  1. apuginthekitchen
    December 16, 2014 at 1:04 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful Stollen, I want to make it this year, It was always a holiday tradition that I abandoned for some reason. Love your braided loaf, it’s beautiful and your recipes sounds quite easy. Happy Holidays.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 16, 2014 at 2:08 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 I can’t for the life of me remember when the tradition started or why, but I’ve been baking it every year for a long time. Happy Christmas!

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  2. Ginger
    December 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm (2 years ago)

    What a beautiful stollen – I love the plait form as you don’t get that lump of marzipan in the middle 😉

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you! I prefer the marzipan to be spread throughout the loaf so you get some in almost every bite 🙂

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Hilda 🙂 I always mean to make my own marzipan then never get round to actually doing it, I’m sure it’s much nicer than the shop bought stuff! Your stollen looks delish 🙂

      Reply
  3. Alison
    December 18, 2014 at 11:35 am (2 years ago)

    I love stollen, it looks fabulous when plaited as well.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, it is one of my favourite Christmas bakes (I have many…)

      Reply
  4. Sneaky Veg
    December 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Looks delicious, I’ve never plaited my stollen before but you’ve inspired me to give it a go! #CookBlogShare

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you! This is the first time I’ve tried plaiting it and I prefer it – you get a more even spread of marzipan 🙂

      Reply
  5. spiceinthecity
    December 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow that a gorgeous stollen! I love the idea of plaiting it 🙂

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 This is the first time I’ve tried plaiting one and I really liked it – you get marzipan in each bite rather than in a lump in the middle

      Reply
  6. carolinescookingblog
    December 19, 2014 at 7:23 pm (2 years ago)

    I love stollen, I always mean to try making it and I am so with you that it has to have marzipan in there – makes all the difference! The plait looks lovely as well.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 To me the marzipan makes it, without it it is just fruit bread

      Reply
  7. dishofdailylife
    December 19, 2014 at 11:58 pm (2 years ago)

    Your stollen is absolutely beautiful! I am so glad you shared it with us at Foodie Fridays! Pinning!

    Reply
  8. Jhuls
    December 20, 2014 at 10:06 am (2 years ago)

    Whoa! This is so gorgeous, Hanna. This is my first time to hear about Stollen, and I am absolutely loving it. Thanks for bringing at FF #47, at least I’ll have the chance to try it for the first time. 😀 Happy weekend, Hanna.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Jhuls 🙂 glad I could introduce you to something new! Happy holidays!

      Reply
  9. HonestMum (@HonestMummy)
    December 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm (2 years ago)

    Stunning stollen. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

    Reply
  10. Sadia Mohamed
    December 20, 2014 at 4:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Yummy stollen! Would love to try this one.

    Reply
  11. skd
    December 20, 2014 at 5:29 pm (2 years ago)

    Looks so delicious and you have demonstrated it so well ☺

    Reply
  12. Selma's Table
    December 20, 2014 at 8:42 pm (2 years ago)

    Hannah, your stollen is gorgeous and I love how you have plaited it. You have made the whole process look very easy and I may give this a go since Lidl have sold out of my favourite mini stollens!! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Selma 🙂 It is fairly simple to make, and very satisfying! Have a great Christmas!

      Reply
  13. Beth Somers
    December 21, 2014 at 11:18 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful! I also love Stollen, and especially with marzipan. Love the way you put it into all three of the plaits so that there’s a bit of it in most bites! It really is a gorgeous loaf.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  14. lucyparissi
    January 2, 2015 at 6:22 pm (2 years ago)

    I love Stollen so much – but haven’t made it in some time. I love the plait idea – genius! Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare and a very happy 2015!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 3, 2015 at 3:28 pm (2 years ago)

      I bake a different one every Christmas, the plait has been one of my favourites 🙂 happy new year!

      Reply
  15. Janine
    January 19, 2015 at 3:28 am (2 years ago)

    Gorgeous bread – I’ve never seen a bread that was stuffed then braided, must taste amazing from all of the different flavours!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:37 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 It does taste really good!

      Reply
  16. Berrin
    April 8, 2016 at 4:53 pm (8 months ago)

    I must say Hannah,this is best stollen I have ever eaten!!!!I know it is not the right time for it but I always bake whatever takes my fancy….It is very light and fluffy,just right amount of spices and fruit and sweetness.I made it this afternoon and already half has gone!,IT IS SOO GOOD!!!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      April 13, 2016 at 6:54 pm (8 months ago)

      Oh fantastic! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I agree that there shouldn’t be set times of the year for baked goods, I would happily eat stollen all year round 🙂

      Reply
  17. Jenny
    November 5, 2016 at 3:41 am (1 month ago)

    I Know you arent vegan but i was wondering what vegan egg sub you would recommend with this as well as your almond twisted bread? NEEDING to make this for the holidays. thank you!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      November 5, 2016 at 8:29 am (1 month ago)

      Hi Jenny, I’ve never tried using a vegan egg substitute before but I think that in this case it would be best to simply omit the egg from the dough and add a little more milk and butter (or vegan substitutes) to compensate. Eggs generally have two purposes in baking – as a binder or as a leavener but in the case of bread they are used more to help keep the crumb soft so it shouldn’t affect the bread unduly to just leave it out as long as you adjust the moisture levels accordingly.
      For the almond twisted bread I would omit the egg from the dough as above, and try replacing the egg whites in the filling with a flax egg. It can be glazed with just milk rather than egg yolk. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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