Tuesday, December 20, 2011
In my family, stollen is a Christmas tradition. Every year, I would wake up the morning before Christmas to find my Dad pacing around the kitchen and peaking into the oven, yelling at the bread to hurry up and rise already. Every year. Ah, tradition.
Stollen is a century's old German fruit cake. The shape, an oval folded over, is meant to look like a swaddled baby Jesus. The German city of Dresden has laid claim to producing the one true "authentic" stollen, to the point of it's production being regulated. However, seeing as this is Pennsylvania, and not Dresden, I decided to use this stollen recipe I found on the internet instead. I don't know how authentic it is, but it's very tasty. My Dad has used probably a dozen different stollen recipes over the years, and I think this is the best one I've tasted. And in his experience, it's the one that gives him the best results and rises the quickest.
This stollen begins with a sponge which you then use to build the dough. Think of the sponge as a sort of "pre-dough" that you let rise a little before adding all the remaining ingredients. Stollen does seem to take a bit more time to rise than other bread doughs (Dad, I now feel your pain), but it's well worth it in the end. This bread has a cinnamon-sugar filling that I feel is optional. Before serving, be sure to sift on a thick layer of powdered sugar. Justify it as being snow, or something. But, of course, the best part of this bread is enjoying it on Christmas morning and sharing it with family and friends. :)
for the fruit mixture:
1 c mixed candied fruit
1 c raisins
3 tbsp rum
for the sponge:
1 .25oz package yeast
1/4 c warm water (about 110 degrees)
2/3 c milk
1 tsp honey
1 c flour (the original recipe calls for all-purpose, but I used bread)
for the dough:
1/3 c honey
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into chunks
1 tbsp lemon zest (I zested one lemon and called it a day)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c slivered or chopped almonds
3-4 c flour
for the filling (optional):
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp sugar
1. In a bowl, mix together the candied fruit and the raisins. Toss with the rum. Cover with plastic wrap and occasionally shake to coat the fruit with the rum.
2. Pour the warm water into the bowl for a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Heat the milk to 110 degrees (I do this by zapping it for a few seconds in the microwave). Pour the milk into the bowl. Add in the honey and 1 cup flour. Stir to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Let sponge rise for about 30 minutes. It should puff up and appear full of bubbles.
3. To the sponge, add the fruit mixture, 1/3 cup honey, butter, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, almonds, and 2 cups of the flour. Using the paddle attachment for the stand mixture, mix on a medium low speed for about 2 minutes. It'll look more like a cookie dough than a bread dough at this point. In 1/4 cup intervals, add the remaining flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook. On low speed, use the dough hook to continue mixing together the dough, adding flour by the tablespoon until dough cleans the bowl. Once dough cleans the bowl, it has enough flour. Use the dough hook to knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Spray a large bowl with some non-stick cooking spray, or coat with vegetable oil. Place the dough ball in the bowl, and flip over so oil coats both sides. Cover bowl and place someplace warm. Let dough rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
5. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a clean counter top. Remove dough ball from bowl and place on the paper. Roll dough into a 9 x 13 inch oval. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter over the oval's surface. Mix together the cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar and sprinkle over the melted butter. Fold the dough in half lengthwise (the parchment paper really helps this step). Transfer the stollen, still on the paper, to a baking sheet. Cut any excess paper that doesn't fit the baking sheet. Cover the stollen with a dry, clean towel. Place somewhere warm and allow to rise again for about 45 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. To serve, sift powdered sugar over top.
Source: Food Network
This recipe is shared with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Craft-O-Maniac, Made by You Monday, Tuesday Talent Show, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday, It's a Keeper, Foodie Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Crazy Sweet Tuesday