Lessons from Stollen experimentation: a 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗜𝗻 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗱 festive special
You're probably familiar with Stollen, the delicious German Christmas cake. But you might not have seen or tried one like this.
Pictured is a Münchner Kindl Stollen, made exclusively by the bakery guild of Munich who strictly follow a secret recipe that includes macadamia nuts and Jamaican rum.
I've toasted it and topped it with Bavarian Blue. Yes, that's cheese on top.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁'𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗼𝗻?
When I originally shared this Stollen-cheese combo on Twitter, it got a very rude response from some fundamentalists for what they saw as challenging traditional Stollen norms. Though clearly, none of them had actually tried it.
But here's the thing: there isn't even a single Stollen recipe. Once upon a time, Stollen was a rather dull fasting bread until, over time, it morphed into today’s delicious creation. Even this Münchner Kindl Stollen has only been around since 2005 and is part of an evolving tradition.
While we need the bakers to stick strictly to their recipes to guarantee the quality and flavour of the Stollen we're buying, those same rules don't and shouldn't apply to those of us eating it.
This parallels a key compliance challenge: the need to balance strictly enforced rules in certain areas, like health and safety, with the freedom to innovate and experiment in others, like R&D. Companies that survive get both right. Those that only have the former or the latter will ultimately fail. We need to recognise where sticking rigidly to rules or traditions is a good idea and where it's a hindrance.
If you're reading this in the UK or elsewhere and wondering if it'll work on your Christmas Cake, I have no idea! But why not give it a go and report back?
My top tip is to find a cheese that's strong enough to balance the sweetness; it doesn't need to be blue. You can also toast the cheese, but that makes it harder to do in the toaster.
Happy holidays and adventurous eating!
My thanks 🙏 to @Nic Houghton for inspiring the idea.
Here by the way, is what ChatGPT thinks Stollen fundamentalists look like: