The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
Now … for the record, I like peel. I was raised on hot cross buns and Christmas cake and pudding (and I learned to love them ;) Unfortunately, the rest of my family are not fans. So when I thought about making Stollen for the Daring Baker’s challenge, I thought it would be best to try and make one without the customary peel. Instead, I opted for a raisin, dried cranberry and pecan stollen.
The other factor that came into play is that I wanted to make two – one for us and one for my parents to enjoy over Christmas. That meant the wreath shape was out since there wouldn’t be enough dough to do two of them. After a bit of googling, I discovered that the classic stollen shape is an oblong loaf that is folded over on top. That was my goal. Unfortunately, while I wasn’t looking, my folded loaf sort of unfolded itself while it was cooking. So … note to self (and others) is to make sure to seal the fold better next time!
Of course, this didn’t affect the taste at all. It was yummy and a wonderful treat for Christmas morning. Mine did seem to dry out fairly quickly but it was still great for toasting for a couple more days.
Summary: This is my take on the traditional Christmas Stollen bread, made without peel but with dried cranberries and raisins, instead.
- 1/4 cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
- 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
- 1 cup (240 ml) milk
- 10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
- 5 1/2 cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 3/4 ml) (4 1/2 grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup firmly packed raisins
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or 1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds, if you prefer)
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
- Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
- Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath
- Soak the raisins: In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside.
- To make the dough: Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
- Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.
- In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and zests.
- Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Add in the soaked raisins, dried cranberries and and pecans (or almonds, if using) and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate.
- Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.
- Shaping the Dough and Baking:
- 1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
- 2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- 3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
- 4. Punch dough down, divide dough into two pieces. Roll each into a rectangle about 8 x 12 inches and 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick.
- 5. Starting with a long side, fold in to within 1 inch of the opposite side edge. Take the other long side edge and fold over to within 1 inch of the other side. Seal fold well (or it will unfold while baking … trust me! :)
- 6. Transfer the loaves to the sheet pan.
- 7. Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size
- 8. Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 minutes or so. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the centre of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
- 9. Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot. Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter. Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first. The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
- 10. Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!
- When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.
- The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm
- Storage:The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store. The following is for the recipe as written and uses the 45 mls of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar.
- 1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
- 2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
- 3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 40 min | Total time: 3 hours
Number of servings (yield): 8