Bremer Klaben is a rich holiday bread and the lesser-known sibling of Dresdner Stollen. Just like Stollen, it is studded with candied and/or dried fruit and nuts.
And just like Dresdner Stollen, Bremer Klaben is protected by the European Union scheme of protected geographical indications (PGIs), which means that it may only be sold under that name if at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in a well-defined geographical area, in this case in or around the city of Bremen in the north of Germany.
The EU’s PGI scheme provides very specific requirements for Bremer Klaben: a dough-to-fruit ratio of about 1:1 containing flour, butter or margarine, yeast, sugar, sultanas, candied lemon peel, candied orange peel, almonds, vanilla, lemon zest and cardamom. These ingredients must make 95% of the total weight. Rum is permitted but may not exceed 5% of the total weight. The EU is also very specific about the baking process and temperature. And, unlike the free-from Dresdner Stollen, Bremer Klaben is baked in a mold, which gives it is typical flat rectangular shape.
Bremer Klaben is a protected name but don’t worry, you can bake as many Dresdner Stollen and Bremer Klaben as you like, as long as you do it in your home kitchen, and for friends and family only.
Still, there is one other problem. Like Stollen, Bremer Klaben should sit for a couple of weeks before cutting to develop its full flavor. Leaving it untouched for that long can be a real challenge so I always hide it in the cool basement – from my family and from myself.
This recipe is featured in our FREE eBook Christmas – A world of flavors, available on 196 flavors.
Nadia Hassani is the Culinary Expert for German cuisine on 196 flavors. You can also find her recipes on her own blog Spoonfuls of Germany and her cookbook that feature the cuisine of her native country. Read more about Nadia in the exclusive interview that she gave to 196 flavors.
- 3½ cups golden raisins
- ⅓ cup golden rum
- ½ cup milk (lukewarm)
- 1 (¼ oz.) package active dry yeast
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 13 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup candied orange peel , plus 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
- ¾ cup candied lemon peel , plus 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Finely grated zest of one organic lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3½ oz. finely chopped blanched almonds
Place the raisins in a colander and rinse under hot water. Drain well. Place them in a bowl and mix with the rum. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the milk with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until it starts to foam.
Mix the flour with the salt and the remaining sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast mix and butter and knead into soft elastic dough that detaches from the bowl by hand or, preferably, with the kneading attachment of an electric mixer. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Add the orange and lemon peel, lemon zest, cardamom, vanilla and almonds to the raisins and mix well.
Place the dough on a clean work surface. With your hands, gradually work in the dried fruit mix, including all of the liquid. It takes a while for the dough to absorb all the fruit, and the dough will be very sticky. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan (a meatloaf pan is ideal) as well as the shiny side of a large piece of aluminum foil. Place the dough in the loaf pan and push it down gently so it fills the entire pan.
Tightly cover the loaf with the foil, greased side down. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Uncover, reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. If the raisins turn too dark and the loaf is not done yet, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
Unmold the loaf immediately onto a wire rack, then gently turn it over so the bottom rests on the wire. Let cool completely and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Store in a cool place.