Dresdner Sourdough Stollen
For those who didn’t grow up with it, stollen is a sweet holiday bread that originated in Dresden, Germany, studded with rum-soaked raisins and citrus, and completely coated with sugar. It’s usually served sliced at Christmas with coffee or Christmas punch, sometimes with butter or jam. Often, a thick marzipan tube lines the inside, an extra ‘treasure’ hidden inside. In Germany, it’s popular to leave the Stollen wrapped up in a cool, dark place for months until Easter — which is called “Osterstollen”. The fruit imparts a rich flavour over the long period, while the thick sugar coating helps keep it protected from bacteria.
For Ooni’s first ever stollen recipe, we turned to one of our favourite German sourdough enthusiasts, Hendrik Kleinwaechter. Modern stollen recipes commonly use baking powder to speed up the process, so Hendrik’s is a bit of a throwback, relying on a natural sourdough levain. Because of this, it does require more time (four to five days, ideally) but the resulting flavour and texture make it all worthwhile. While Hendrik notes the benefits resulting in patience, he confides that even rushing a few steps will result in a product far superior to any supermarket alternative (even in Germany). The recipe makes two loaves, which will fit comfortably in any Ooni oven.
Notes: This recipe does require an active sourdough starter. Check out this guide if you’re starting from scratch. From start to finish, this recipe takes 3 days minimum, so prepare well in advance. If you have extra time, feed the stiff starter 3 to 4 days in advance for maximum flavour. This step is not mandatory however. This recipe makes 2 stollen loaves, if you prefer to make one, just half the quantities. If you don’t plan on baking both the same day, you can store the second loaf in the fridge for up to two days before baking.
3 to 5 days total time, 2.5 hours active time
Makes 2 stollen loaves
For the drunken fruit mixture
150 grams dark rum
350 grams raisins
100 grams candied lemon peel
100 grams candied orange peel
100 grams almonds
1 gram lemon zest
For the stiff sourdough starter
20 grams sourdough starter
120 grams white flour
60 grams water
For the stollen loaf
200 grams stiff sourdough starter (from ingredients above)
1,000 grams bread flour
200 grams milk
250 grams melted butter
100 grams sugar
2 grams vanilla extract
10 grams fine sea salt
2 grams cinnamon
1 gram cardamon
1 gram nutmeg
For the glaze
100 grams butter
100 grams icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
Prepare your stiff sourdough starter at least 12 hours in advance of making the dough. If you can, start 2 to 3 days in advance and feed the starter once daily. This helps to switch your starter from bacterial to more yeast based fermentation.
Mix 20 grams of your existing starter with 120 grams of flour and 60 grams of water in a medium jar or sealed container. Stir well to combine, then ensure the lid/seal is closed. The stiffer starter helps create a more active yeast, and will have less sour notes, which is ideal for the stollen.
About 12 hours before you’re ready to bake, prepare the drunken fruit mixture, add the rum, raisins, candied peels, almonds, and zest to a large bowl, mix well, and let it soak.
Once the stiff starter is ready, place it in your stand mixer bowl, add all the loaf ingredients, then mix at medium speed for 10 minutes.
If kneading by hand, add the stiff starter and loaf ingredients to a large bowl and knead by hand for 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then repeat this process twice for a total of 15 minutes of kneading.
Transfer the dough to a countertop, flatten it, then add the drunken fruit mixture, folding the ingredients in until the fruit is evenly incorporated. If the dough is too wet (sticks to your hands) add a pinch of flour.
Let the dough rest on the counter for 5 minutes. Shape it into a smooth ball, place it in a large container with a sealable lid, and leave it to ferment overnight. Because the dough is enriched with butter and rum, it will take longer than a traditional sourdough loaf to rise. This dough should roughly double in size within 15 to 17 hours.
Once the dough has doubled in size, use a scale to divide it into 2 equal pieces. Gently shape the portions into round rectangles. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Using a dough scraper, loosen the dough from the surface, then roll lengthwise, stopping ¾ of the way. Pinch the rolled side into the middle to prevent the filling spilling out, cover the dough with a wet towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven, aiming for 500°C.
To bake, put a sheet of parchment paper the dimensions of the stollen on your peel underneath it. This helps transfer the stollen into the oven for the first parbake. Spritz the stollen with water, this will create steam in the oven, helping the dough rise and create a beautiful sheen on the crust.
If using gas, turn off the oven. If using wood, let the flame go out. Use the oven’s residual heat to cook the stollen for 10 minutes. Retrieve with a peel and remove the parchment (it should come off easily).
Spritz the stollen with water again, then return to the oven. Turn the flame back on to its lowest setting. If cooking with wood/charcoal, add a little fuel at a time to regain a low flame.
Cook, rotating the stollen every 2 minutes to ensure an even cook. After 10 minutes, a nice crust will form. Remove the Stollen and increase the flames to high. Spritz the stollen with water then wrap it with foil. This keeps the dough moist and prevents the crust from getting too dark.
Reduce the flames again and return the stollen to the front of the oven (avoid moving it too close to the flame). Rotate every 5 minutes for an hour. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the inside temperature — when done, it should be about 95°C
Place the stollen on a cooling rack then use a pastry brush to generously coat it with melted butter. Let it rest for 60 minutes. Brush again with butter then use a sieve to give it a thorough and generous coating of powdered sugar. Don’t miss any spots!
Wrap the stollen in foil and transfer to a sealable bag or an airtight container for at least 1 day before tasting to enable the drunken fruit mixture to further infuse its aromas in the dough.
Cut into 2cm thick slices and serve!