I don’t know why I don’t bake more. Don’t get me wrong, I love baking… at someone else’s house, that is. Maybe it’s all that flour or the powdered sugar that seems to settle on the light fixtures or the yeast. Is it rising? Maybe it’s too cold in here… no, it’s too hot for the yeast… there, it’s rising… no, wait, sorry… the warmth of the oven… the sweet, bread aromas that fill the house… opening the front door and feeling like you’re home. Oh yeah… that’s why I love to bake!
This project is my first Daring Baker’s challenge. I want to push myself for the new year and thought joining the Daring Baker’s group was a perfect way to dust off my pastry skills and see if I remember anything at all from those late into the night pastry classes I took from Chef Meyer, also known as the slave driver of Phoenix College. Affectionately, of coarse. He is now the Advanced Pastry and Showpieces Instructor at the Arizona Culinary Institute.
Thanks to Penny from Sweet Sadie’s Baking, the December challenge was quite a test! Talk about jumping out of the frying pan into the water bath! Christmas Stollen? On a Southwest blog? That’s what I thought! I’m going to have to candy jalapenos or something! Then, I took a closer look at the ingredients. Candied citrus peel? Arizona has great citrus. Almonds? Yes, almonds too. Raisins? Well, there are alot of vineyards around here, mostly Thompson Seedless. The accepted variations of the challenge allow switching out the raisins for another dried fruit so, apricots it is. Who knew Christmas Stollen was actually a Southwest treat?
A stollen is pretty involved. It is actually a bread so there is the usual kneading, rising, rolling, resting… I’ve got to get started!
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.
Next, bloom the yeast in the warm water. Not too hot! The yeast won’t rise. It should dissolve and have a frothy look. About 10 minutes.
Scald the milk. You can do this in the microwave if you want to. Just bring the temperature of the milk up to the point that little bubbles form around the edges. Be careful not to boil the milk. Add the room temperature butter to the warm milk. It will melt the butter and cool the milk a little at the same time. Set aside.
Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl.
Next, combine the dry ingredients ( flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon) with the orange and lemon zest.
Lightly beat the eggs and add the milk, butter and yeast mixtures.
Add the flour a little at a time so you don’t get lumps.
Mix together with the paddle attachment of a mixer or by hand.
Mix until the dough just comes together and forms a soft dough. Stop. Don’t over mix the dough.
Drain the candied citrus peel and apricots. Chop the glacé cherries.
Fold the citrus peel, almonds and apricots into the dough. Mix on low to evenly distribute the fruit and nuts. Add the cherries last. Treat them gently so your dough doesn’t turn red.
Knead the dough for 6 minutes with the mixer and dough hook, or 8 minutes by hand.
Shape into a ball. Place dough in a buttered bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl so that it is buttered on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and refrigerate over night. The dough may be kept refrigerated for up to a week. Remove the dough and let rest at room temperature for at least two hours. The dough will become very hard in the refrigerator, I found it took longer than two hours to become soft enough to roll out and shape.
Punch the dough down. Lightly flour a bread board or counter and rolling pin. Try to use as little flour as possible so your dough doesn’t become dry and tough. Roll the dough into a 16 x 24 inch rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick.
By hand, roll the dough into a 24 inch long cylinder. Make sure the dough is an even thickness.
Place the cylinder on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silpat. Shape it into a ring. The dough will be thinner at the ends so you can easily overlap the ends to form the ring. Pinch seam together.
Make cuts in the ring with a knife or kitchen scissors. Only cut 2/3 of the way through. Be careful not to mash the dough or misshape it. Spray lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise or proof for 2 hours or until the dough is one and a half times larger.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan a bake for another 20 to 30 minutes. The stollen should be “walnut” brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
Brush with melted butter while it is still hot. Immediately “tap” a layer of powdered sugar over the stollen. Wait three minutes and “tap” another layer over the first. The stollen should be covered with a generous layer.
I served mine with orange marmalade butter and the cranberries left over from Christmas dinner.
This Stollen recipe was given to the Daring Bakers from Penny at Sweet Sadies Baking for this challenge. Please visit her site for a printable copy of the recipe with directions.
Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people
¼ 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)
5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ 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 lemon and 1 orange
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins
3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath
Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.
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. See Note under raisins.
To make the dough
Pour ¼ 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 lemon 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 mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!
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 the Wreath
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, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.
Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.
Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.
Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.
Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
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.
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
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.
Here is a link to recipes to make your own candied citrus peel
Martha Stewart’s wreath
-posted by Sandy