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General Discussion

The perfect stollen


General Discussion 11

The perfect stollen

rworange | Dec 4, 2005 11:09 PM

I’ve decided this is the year of the stolen for me. Who has the best version either thru mail order or sold at markets or stores. TJ’s to Cost Plus to Wal-mart fair game.

Also, if you’ve had some horrible stollen, please mention what to avoid.

I started the stollen season when I had to bring dessert for a gathering. I picked up four loaves from a German Deli.

What exactly is the difference between a marzipan stollen and a butter stollen? Is there one?

I didn’t see any evidence of what I would think of as marzipan in any of the sampled stollens even though two were marked that (and neither had almonds on the ingredient list).

What makes the perfect stollen?

I found that the ingredients need to be paid attention to. Some are full of chemical preservatives. Instead of butter, they use butter oil. Also, some just skipped the butter and eggs altogether and relied on palm oil. What can I say? I left my glasses at home when purchasing them.

Here’s what I’ve tried from worst to best.

1. Sprengal Gourmet Cake – Marzipan Stollen 750 g (1 1 / 2 lbs?) $7

Elze Germany - Serves 14. Doesn’t have calories only energy per serving … 1008 … Gee I hope that isn’t the same as calories.

Awful, awful, awful. There’s a bubble gum taste to it. I was embarrassed by this. Always taste test before serving to a group.

There’s more vegetable oil than butter oil and it had the most chemical preservatives … a whole lot. Natural ingredients include: Wheat flour raisins, sugar, yeast, eggs, candied orange peal, candied lemon peel. Didn’t see any marzipan thought it is listed prominently in the name.

2. Bahlsen Stolen – 14.1 oz 400 g $ 5.50
Hanover, Germany - serves 7 Calories 240
The only place with a website:

Actually, even though it had a little too many preservatives, no butter (just vegetable oil), no eggs and corn syrup / dextrose supplemented the sugar, it came close in taste to the top two I’ve sampled. It was sweet and raisony with pleasant little bits of orange and lemon peal.

Natural Ingredients: Wheat flour raisins, candied orange peal, sugar, yeast candied lemon peel, almonds, apricot kernels (isn’t that arsenic?)

3. Emil Reimann Dresden Criststollen 400 g $5.50

Dresden, Germany - No nutritional info. Ingredients in German, so who knows. Doesn’t look like any chemicals.

This was a denser stolen with a slightly boozy taste to it. I like this one.

4. Frau Helga’s Dresden Butter Stollen - 1 lb $9.75
Alberton, NY - serves 8 - 170 calories

This stood out from the pack partly to the cinnamon in the topping. Also there was a separate pack of powdered sugar to dust the stollen after it was heated. Lovingly wrapped in a gift bag with poinsettias and secured with shiny green ribbons. It had only one preservative that I could see.

Total ingredients: Flour, butter, raisins, dried fruit, eggs, rum, water, yeast, sugar, oil, dried milk powder, vital dried gluten, salt, mono and diglicerides,fruit juices.

This had instructions on how to serve … 1-2 minutes in a toaster over or 10 seconds in the microwave. Dust with powdered sugar. The toaster oven is better.

It also had this info on a little card.

“As far as can be determined stolen … was made during the middle ages. It is believed to be first made in Dresden Germany, and thus, Dresden style stolen has become the benchmark for all stollens.

Baking stolen is every German baker’s challenge. Our bakers have the have the skill to know just when the yeast dough has risen the ideal time when it is ready to be baked. They pick the finest raisins and fruits and soak them in pure Carribean rum for days until they just burst with flavor. The 100% butter yeast dough … Each of our loaves is lovingly washed with pure sweet butter then lovingly baked to perfection. When baked to a perfect golden color, each loaf is cooled and again, washed with butter and topped with flavorful cinnamon sugar.

While this wasn’t world class it was the best of the stollens I sampled. I’d buy it again if I couldn’t find a local better version.

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