|From Adriana Baking|
After packing my favorite measuring cup, a sieve, and a container filled with cocoa powder and sugar, we drove up to my grandparents’ house in the late afternoon of the 24th. We were going up to spend Christmas Eve with my mother’s side of the family, and this year, the meal was going to be completely homemade.
Christmas dinner at my grandparents’ had been catered for as long as I can remember. Preparing the meal was almost an impossible feat for my grandmother – she had my cousins to look after and a full house to take care of. It took time too, to prepare such a feast. It was the only catered food I consumed all year, and I never thought much of it.
It was my aunt K- who decided that our Christmas tradition was going to change. She suggested making the turkey with an oriental stuffing and an array of side dishes, my mother made a goat cheese tomato thyme quiche, and I volunteered making dessert. As we juggled the counter space in my grandparents’ kitchen, I realized how much we had missed out on in the previous years. The comfort of making dinner together with the rest of the family chatting with us in the kitchen (they have a considerably larger kitchen than ours) brought such a special feel to our Christmas Eve gathering. It completed the short amount of time we spent together. A new tradition was born in the marinating and cooking of my aunt’s turkey and in the glazing of my frozen yule log.
|From Adriana Baking|
No catered turkey could ever compare to the one Aunt K- made. The meat was tender and succulent, and I have never had such moist turkey. My mother asked her for the stuffing recipe, which she is going to make next Thanksgiving. With the ingredients and baking utensils I brought with me, I finished glazing my French yule log. I’m delighted to say that it was a great success. I’ll be making it for new year’s and hopefully posting it on my blog.
Along with Christmas dinner, I’ve taken advantage of the holiday season to bake winter treats and make candy for my friends. I’m nursing a burn the size of a quarter on my wrist, and two blisters on my left fingers. They are the result of the upward flick of my candy thermometer as its clip popped lose, and the splatter of hot sugar syrup onto my arm. Though the burn really hurts, making candy is as synonymous to Christmas for me as is eating stollen during the holidays.
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.
|From Adriana Baking|
The stollen was such success it arrived at my grandparents’ house for Christmas morning half devoured, and dough for a second stollen is rising in the fridge, soon to be baked for visiting guests.
Kissed by the fruity lips of orange peels and scented throughout with rum, this is my absolute favorite bread. It has such a delicious chew and is not very sweet, a welcome contrast to the smooth, sugary rounds of marzipan present in each slice. My mother suggested adding a dash of cardamom to the next batch, and I will report back on Wednesday with our preference, once the wreath is baked. I cannot emphasize how good this bread is. Some Daring Bakers thought their stollen tasted like fruitcake – I didn’t add the glacee cherries, and without them, I don’t taste much of a similarity between the two.
|From Adriana Baking|
To add marzipan to the stollen, simply place the roll of marzipan at the long end of the dough when shaping it and continue rolling it up. I wasn’t very successful with the recipe I used, but you can use store-bought marzipan. It will be smoother than homemade.
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 (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.
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. 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! I chose to omit them.
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 firms up) 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
Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. 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. Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. 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 a Christmas present!
When completely cool, store in a plastic bag, or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.
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 3 tablespoons of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and one month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.