Moist, flaky, and chock full of fruits, nuts, and marzipan, sweet Gluten Free German Stollen is just like the traditional Christmas bread.
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I don’t know about you, but I had never had stollen before my celiac diagnosis. I’m not quite sure why, but I think it had to do with the fact that all stollen I ever saw were packaged in a box at the grocery store and seemed to sit there for days, or even weeks. I always thought that they were hard and crunchy and something that wouldn’t appeal to me at all.
But if those stollen were anything like this Gluten Free German Stollen, I should have bought up all of them every Christmas! In my later adult years, I’ve found an affinity for all things containing dried fruits and nuts. Like Panettone (check out my recipe for Gluten Free Panettone here). Or my unique Panettone Babka, which I like to call Panebabka! So if these breads are right up your alley, keep reading to see how to make a German stollen that’s sure to please everyone this holiday season.
what is german stollen?
German stollen is a Christmas yeast bread that’s been baked with plenty of dried fruits, nuts, candied citrus peel, and spices. It’s then blanketed (and I mean blanketed) with a heavy layer of powdered sugar, which is reminiscent of the snowy German mountain tops. According to some, stollen can last for at least a month! Yep, you read that right. This “bread” is meant to be eaten weeks after it’s made, and is supposed to get BETTER with age!! I put this theory to the test and you’ll have to read on to find out how it went.
In doing my usual research when creating gluten free recipes, I found that there are many different types of German stollen, such as poppy seed or almond. This particular stollen we’re making is called Christstollen, or Christ Stollen, which is symbolic of the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. Another name for it is Dresdner Stollen, which gets its name from the city of Dresden in Germany. It contains dried fruits, nuts, and a log of marzipan running through it. It’s absolutely delicious!
Ingredients for making German stollen
- Gluten free sweet dough
- Marzipan — you can buy marzipan, just make sure it’s gluten free. The Odense brand of marzipan, while it states it’s gluten free on the front of the package, is NOT actually gluten free when you look at the ingredients. I chose to make my own and I’ve included the recipe for such in the recipe card below. It’s really easy and tastes amazing.
- Raisins — I used both golden and dark raisins
- Amaretto — although this isn’t traditional (traditional is rum or brandy), I love the taste of amaretto so this is what I soaked my fruit with.
- Nuts — I used slivered almonds in mine, but use any nuts you’d like.
- Candied orange peel
- Spices — stollen is traditionally spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, and mace if you can find it (or nutmeg).
- Butter — this is for drizzling onto the warm baked stollen.
- Powdered sugar — I don’t give an amount in the recipe because it just depends on how much you want to sift all over your baked stollen. It’s very traditional to pile it high.
here’s how to make a gluten free Christmas stollen
- If you already have the plain dough in the fridge, you’ll need to knead the fruits, nuts, and spices into it.
- Roll or pat the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick.
- Roll marzipan into a sausage shape and place into the center of the dough. Fold one side just over the marzipan, “tucking” it into the dough. Then fold the other side of dough into the middle, essentially creating a shape like a swaddled baby.
- Take the outer edge of one hand and press down onto the dough to create a divot on one side of the marzipan.
- Allow the stollen to rise in a warm, draft-free area until nearly doubled in size.
- Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Cool for 5 minutes and then pole holes all over stollen with a skewer. Brush liberal amounts of butter all over stollen and sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. Allow to cool completely and wrap tightly.
gluten free german stollen faqs
Yes, any dried fruit and/or nuts will work great in stollen. Chopped dried apricots, dried cherries, or mixed candied fruits and pistachios or walnuts can be substituted for any of the fruits in this stollen.
This German stollen will keep for 2-3 weeks! The booze in the dough and the brushing of butter and blanketing of powdered sugar helps preserve the stollen and it actually tastes better with time. You can wrap it well in plastic wrap and then again in foil, and if you’d like to keep it longer, unwrap it and reapply butter and powdered sugar to preserve it further.
I like to eat slices of gluten free stollen plain or toasted with butter or jam.
more gluten free christmas breads and pastries
- Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls
- Panettone Babka (Panebabka)
- Challah Bread
- Brioche au Chocolat (Chocolate Custard Rolls)
- Showstopping Star Bread
- Chocolate Babka
- Cinnamon Knots
- Orange Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Wreath
If you’ve never tried stollen or don’t think you’ll like it, give this Gluten Free German Stollen a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this traditional Christmas fruit bread.
Gluten Free German Stollen
- ½ recipe Gluten Free Sweet Dough
- 1 recipe Homemade Marzipan recipe follows (or use store bought gluten free marzipan)
- 1½ cups (200g) currants, raisins, golden raisins or any combination of these
- ½ cup (50g) candied orange peel
- 1 mini bottle (50ml) Amaretto Disaronno (rum may be used instead)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp nutmeg (½ tsp mace and ¼ tsp nutmeg can be substituted)
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ cup (54g) slivered almonds
- butter, melted and powdered sugar for coating
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (94g) powdered sugar
- 1¾ cups (175g) ground almonds
Soak the Fruit
- Place all of the fruit (including the orange peel) in a medium bowl and pour the amaretto (or rum) over. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature overnight.
Make the Dough
- Follow the instructions to make the gluten free sweet dough through step 2 of "mix the dough and proof." Keep in the refrigerator until ready.
Make the Marzipan
- In a medium heat-safe bowl, combine the egg with the granulated and powdered sugars and whisk completely. Place the bowl over a smaller pot with one inch of simmering water. Heat mixture for 5 minutes, whisking slowly, until sugars have completely dissolved.
- Remove from the heat. Add the ground almonds to a large bowl and pour the egg mixture over the almonds and combine the two using a spatula. It will seem dry. Dump it out onto your countertop and knead it briefly until some of the natural oils release and the marzipan becomes smooth. Roll the marzipan into a large sausage shape and wrap with plastic wrap. Set aside until needed.
Shape and Bake the Stollen
- Remove the dough from the fridge and press or roll dough out to a ½-inch thick rectangle on a well-floured board. I use my hands for this, but you can use a rolling pin.
- Add the spices, soaked fruits, and nuts to the middle and fold the sides of the dough over to encase. Knead the fruits and nuts into the dough, adding more flour as necessary to avoid too much stickiness (the fruits will add extra liquid to the dough so it's okay to add more flour to compensate for this).
- Roll dough out into an oval shape that's roughly ½-inch thick. Place the marzipan sausage into the middle of the oval. Fold one side of the dough over the marzipan, lightly pressing to seal the marzipan in. Then take the other side and fold it up and to the top of the dough (on top of the marzipan). Seal each end well. Then take the outside edge of your hand and press down on the side of where the marzipan is laying to give it that classic stollen shape.
- Place dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size. The time will vary depending on how cold the dough was to begin with and how warm your proofing area is.
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. When stollen has risen, bake it for about 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden brown and the internal temperature is about 175° F.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Using a skewer, poke stollen all over several times. Brush melted butter liberally over stollen and then sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar, trying to get as much of the stollen covered as possible (this will help keep the stollen from drying out).
- When completely cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. When ready to serve, cut slices from the middle and then push back the pieces to the center before re-wrapping. To keep longer than a week, remove the stollen from the wrap and brush it again with melted butter and dust liberally with powdered sugar.
Inspired and adapted by Cupcake Jemma’s Delicious Christmas Stollen
Did you make this recipe? Snap a pic and tag @letthemeatglutenfreecake on Instagram so I can see your creation!