Stollen is “fruit bread” that typically lurks in the darker corners of supermarket bakery departments until Christmas, when it emerges like a glorious butterfly to take its rightful place front and center in the bakery section.
- Kind of a dry fruit loaf
- Tastes better than that sounds
- Traditional at Christmas, served with an afternoon mug of mulled wine or punch (or just a coffee)
- See also: Christmas in Vienna | Lebkuchen
What is a Stollen?
Think of a Stollen as the love child of a fruit cake and a loaf of bread: it’s typically baked from a yeasty dough (replete with dried fruit soaked in rum), then covered in icing sugar.
Like you’d expect, you eat a Stollen in slices, often with your coffee or Christmas punch. Some people put butter and jam on, too.
Although this Christmas delight first appeared in central Europe, it now has many fans in the UK and USA, too, largely because you can make them quite easily.
As with just about every baked product in this part of the world, you find different varieties in Vienna. At Christmas, you often see, for example, marzipan, poppy seed or nut versions, though the kind with dried fruit remains the classic.
Consider it an integral part of the Christmas bakery selection alongside Lebkuchen, Christmas biscuits and Spekulatius. And, like Lebkuchen, a homemade Stollen works as a gift locally – they last quite a few days in an airtight container.
How do you say Stollen?
At first glance, Stollen seems an easy word to say in Austrian-flavoured German – “stoll” to rhyme with “doll” (British English) and an “en” like in “burden” (ditto).
The “st” has a “shh” at the start though – “shhtollen”.