Stollen, 1959 – A Vintage Holiday Recipe Re-Run

Posted on Dec 22 2016 - 4:18am by RetroRuth

If you haven’t decided on that special item to bake for your Christmas get-togethers this weekend, try this!

This week I have a special recipe test for all of you! It is sort of a guest test, but in another way it isn’t. This week, we all get to enjoy a recipe tested out by my mother!


This is Stollen!

Best Loved Foods of Christmas001


5.0 from 2 reviews
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1 unbeaten egg
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups of mixed dried fruit (we used cherries, cranberries, dates, apricots, Zante currants)
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons orange rind
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon rind
  • 4½ to 5 cups of flour
  1. Add yeast to warm water.
  2. Add butter to hot milk and stir until melted. Add sugar, egg, salt and spices. Stir and let cool to lukewarm.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix milk mixture and yeast. Add dried fruits and nuts. Gradually add flour until a stiff dough forms. (We used all 5 cups of flour)
  4. Switch to dough hook and mix in your mixer OR turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 5 minutes or until satiny. Turn into a greased bowl and cover.
  5. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. If it is chilly in your house, turn on your oven to the lowest setting for a bit, then turn off. Slide dough into slightly warmed oven to rise there, leaving the oven door open a crack if possible.
  6. Divide risen dough into three parts and roll each into a 12x7 rectangle. These do NOT need to be perfect. Fold over long side to within one inch of the other side to shape.
  7. Cover formed loaves and let rise again until doubled in size.
  8. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown. While warm, brush with butter and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Though this recipe mostly originated from the Best Loved Foods of Christmas, which was put out in Pillsbury, it was tweaked very slightly by my mother.

If you are wondering what stollen is, it’s a yeast-raised coffee cake from Germany that is primarily made during Christmas. It is similar to many other European bread/cakes like panettone and three king’s cake. If you’ve ever had a New Orleans King’s Cake, you have an idea of what stollen is.

My father loves stollen. Loves it. And the stollen he loves most is his childhood stollen that was made by his aunt. And in the long tradition of good bakers, she never told anyone the recipe she used. So when she passed away, her famous stollen was gone as well.


My father tells a story every Christmas, usually while we are eating that year’s experimental stollen, about his aunt and what a generous woman she was. Every holiday she would make and donate dozens of stollen to their church bake sale, and every year people would go crazy over them. But she would always make a special one for my father, so heavy with fruit and nuts that lifting it, according to my father, it was like lifting a ham.


It shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that my mother has been on a quest to reproduce this recipe for many years now. It turns out that the constant search for the perfect recipe IS hereditary (see my lamb cake quest). After her success remaking her mother’s cheese ball, Mom and I have been working together to find a stollen recipe that would fit the bill for Dad. Since it turned out that my grandmother’s cheese ball was actually a Kraft recipe, we decided to make our way through some of the well-known books of the time and look for stollen recipes. After all, many, many times beloved family recipes turn out to be brand recipes.


Mom finally hit right this year in a recipe from Pillsbury. We were thrilled with how simple it was and how well it came together. There weren’t even that many tweaks. Mom used dried fruits instead of candied fruits and added a small amount of nutmeg.


I wish I could show you a picture of Dad trying it, but we were so excited at our success that we forgot to snap pictures! The only reason I was able to take a picture of a full loaf is because the recipe made three whole loaves. And a day after Mom made these, this one was the only one left.

But here is Tom, wolfing down a slice for science.



“I think this is the best thing your mother has ever made.”

The Verdict: Perfect

From The Tasting Notes

This is exactly the recipe my parents were looking for!  According to Dad, this is exactly the one his aunt made. It has a great flavor, a lovely texture and is simple to make. We definitely prefer using a mix of dried fruits over candied fruit, and the nutmeg is a must. Dad is very, very happy with this one!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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12 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Helen Sch December 22, 2016 at 8:48 am - Reply

    I make Stollen every year too. using a recipe from a german recipe book called Backen mit Lust un Liebe by Roland Goeoek. My aunt gave it to me when I got married to a German- I think she bought the book when she was working there as an au pair in the sixties.

    My husband advised me to make it at least a month in advance to allow it time to mature. It is the same with the little cookies called Plaetzchen.

    My recipie is very similar, but uses raisins, sultanas, currents and candied peel, with mace as well as the other spices. I think it has a heavier texture too.

    When you marry someone from another culture, no-one warns you about all the extra Christmas baking you have to do! Lucky I enjoy it…

  2. Janet Davis Brandy December 22, 2016 at 9:06 am - Reply

    I’ve never made a Stollen, but a friend from Germany sent me one once and it was so good. Made with lots of butter! In my grocer store this year, Entenmann’s Bakery had supplied maybe a dozen Stollen. I wanted to buy one, but the next time I went back, every single one was gone!!! Guess I will have to learn to make one next year – thanks for the recipe, Ruth!!!

  3. Terry December 22, 2016 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful, heart warming story! I’m so glad you found the perfect stollen of years past for your dad!!

  4. Sally M December 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Oooh thank you – I learned to love stollen on a trip to Germany, will definitely try this out!

    (We do have a little family tradition of French toast made from panettone, with berries and cream, for Boxing Day breakfast, but one can never have too much of thee good things…)

  5. Lassie December 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Lots of grocery stores and bakeries have stollen. Aldi, for one. It’s similar to Italian panettone (which is heavenly). Baking it with your own preference for fruits and nuts can only make it better.

  6. chrisanthemama December 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    I’ve made Stollen every year from a James Beard recipe I cut out of the newspaper in 1980. Try soaking the dried fruits in Grand Marnier (and adding the drained GM to the liquid in the recipe)–yum.

  7. OLD AND GRUMPY December 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Starting batch #3 tonight. The dough will keep in the fridge for a few days. Might even make it better.

    The first batch was for Easter.

    The 5 year old and I have been testing dry fruit. She decided that this time we will add dry peaches cut up.

    She is in charge of making the lemon and orange zest. Don’t skimp on the zest!

    The raisins and Cranberries get ripped apart if you put them in too soon . save them for the end.

    It is funny to listen to a bunch of kids try to pronounce Stollen the right (German) way.


  8. Diane December 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I just had a taste of this and it is delicious. Thanks!

  9. Celeste December 28, 2016 at 5:38 am - Reply

    I make Thr stollen from Clementine Paddleford’s book. I leave out the dates and use sanding sugar, with the bigger crystals for crunch on top. I feel that you get a much better result when taking the internal temperature to ensure it is done but not overbaked, and that is 190 degrees.

    • RetroRuth December 15, 2017 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      I have never tried that one! I will have to dig out my book and give it a try.

  10. OLD AND GRUMPY December 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    The 5 year old who is now 7 just made her third batch of Ruth’s Stollen. Third turkey last Thanksgiving.

    It is in the first rising stage. Not as much flour “shrapnel” in the kitchen this year. She still thinks “Yeast Gas” Is funny. If your 90 gas is funny.

    If your 90 you remember the “Mid Century” stuff it was called dinner .

    Thank you for the flash backs and Merry Christmas.

    • RetroRuth December 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Merry Christmas! Hope you are doing well!

      She is growing up so fast. Alex, too. She is four and a half already!

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