Vegan Stollen

Converting a traditional recipe to a vegan version is a bit of an obsession of mine. I almost take on a similar role as a quiet street minister working with the downtrodden and trying hard to save their soul. I too try hard to preserve the integrity of a recipe, while breathing new life into its soul and making the recipe a bit more healthy…a bit more respectful of living beings…a bit more respectful of the world.

My latest obsession is the wonderful Christmas-time German treat known as Stollen. This brioche-like bread is filled with the goodness of Christmas flavors…candied citrus, almonds, raisins, lots of warm spices and of course a healthy glug of rum. The Dresden recipe is somewhere in between a cake and a sweet bread. It is also filled with butter, milk and eggs – ingredients used to create the unusual texture. But also ingredients that can be replaced in the vegan world…and so my work began.

This recipe is the result of many tests I made in my kitchen. It is not difficult to make, but it does require close…very close attention to detail and a strict adherence to the steps in the recipe. It also helps to have a lot of patience. In the end, I am sure you will be thrilled with the outcome…and more than happy to enjoy a piece during the holidays.

A word about the marzipan. Running a tube of marzipan through the middle of a Stollen is controversial. Some say this is perfect because it adds to the almond flavor and provides much needed moisture to the middle of the bread. Others say this is simply not part of the original Dresden art of making Stollen. Personally, I don’t know what is right or wrong in this discussion. But I do know the marzipan contributes a great deal to my vegan version – moisture, flavor and that wonderful surprise of biting into soft and delicious marzipan – especially if you go through the trouble of making your own.

Yield: makes one rather large loaf

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