Dec 2, 2014

Stollen


Stollen is the German Christmas bread. According to Peter Reinhart, in the book, Bread Baker's Apprentice, the shape of the stollen symbolizes the blanket of the baby Jesus, and the colored fruits represent the gifts of the Magi. Dresden is considered the home of stollen and even hosts an annual stollen festival where they unveil a giant (huge!) loaf.

The bread is generously dusted with powdered sugar, and also often filled with a rope of marzipan, a sweet almond paste (I used slivered almonds instead).


The dough is shaped by folding it over a layer of almonds (or marzipan) and then folded again, in a "Z" pattern. Then it is shaped like a crescent to symbolize a blanket in a manger.

Don't let the "drunken" fruit in the bread scare you away. It is not the dreaded fruitcake. Not even close. I loved this version of stollen, especially toasted and buttered for breakfast.


The original recipe calls for a mixture of dried and candied fruit, I substituted all dried fruit, including golden raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, and currants, which I soaked in rum.

There are billions of iterations of stollen, but this one is my favorite (don't ask me about the failed loaf that looked like biscotti before it's sliced that I initially made for this #TwelveLoaves post. I will deny it ever existed). I first made this version while baking every recipe in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. It was great to revisit the floury, tattered, and much loved pages of the book to bake this bread again.

Stollen Bread Recipe

Ingredients

Sponge

1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C (2 1/4 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
4 tsp instant yeast

Fruit

1 C golden raisins
1 C mixture of dried fruits such as cherries, apricots, apples, cranberries, and currants
1/4 C rum
1 tsp orange extract

Dough

2 1/4 C (10 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
5 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 C water
1/2 C slivered blanched almonds
Melted butter
Powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Warm the milk to 100 degrees F and add the flour and yeast. Stir and cover with plastic and let sit for one hour, until very bubbly.
  2. In a bowl, mix the fruit, rum, and orange extract, and let sit while you are making the dough.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt, zests, and cinnamon and whisk to combine. 
  4. Add the sponge, egg, butter, and water (enough to create a soft but sticky dough. Mix on low with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes to fully combine. 
  5. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. 
  6. Drain the fruit, and add it to the bowl. Use your hands to mix it into the dough.
  7. Using the dough hook, knead for about four minutes, adjusting with flour and water to achieve a tacky but not sticky dough. 
  8. Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 45 minutes. 
  9. On a lightly floured counter, press the dough into a 8 inch by 4 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with the half of the almonds over the top. 
  10. With a small floured rolling pin, press in the center of the dough the long way and roll the middle out to 1/2 inch thick, but not all of the way to the sides. Leave the long sides thick. 
  11. Lift one long side, and fold it over the other side, leaving some overlap. Tuck the rest of the almonds inside the fold, and then pick up the overlap and fold it back. The shape sort of resembles a "Z." 
  12. Place the loaf onto a parchment lined baking sheet, gently press the layers together, and shape it into a crescent. Spray the loaf with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about an hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan, and bake for another 35 to 50 minutes, until the interior reaches about 190 degrees F. 
  14. After removing the loaf from the oven, place it on a wire rack. Immediately brush it with melted butter, and generously sift powdered sugar over it. 
  15. Cool completely before slicing. 


#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and run with the help of Heather of girlichef, which operates smoothly with the help of our bakers. Our host this month is Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake, and our theme is Holiday Breads. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves Pumpkin Breads.
If you’d like to add your bread to this month's #TwelveLoaves collection, here’s what you need to do:
  1. Post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, making sure to mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post (this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts).
  2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of this blog. The bread MUST meet the Twelve Loaves theme (enter theme). 
  3. Share your Twelve Loaves bread (must be baked and posted this month) on your blog by enter the last day of the month.
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9 comments:

  1. Your stolen looks amazing. Then again all your bread does!!

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  2. PERFECT stollen! The boozed up fruit must taste amazing! I'd love a BIG slice for breakfast :)

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  3. Stollen is another one of those things I've been "meaning" to make for years. Yours has really inspired me to get my butt in gear and make one this year finally. I hope. ;) And no drunken fruit would scare me away (I happen to love fruitcake).

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  4. I didn't know the tradition of the symbolism of the ingredients in stolen and really enjoyed learning about it. This bread is on my list of breads-to-make-one-day.

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  5. Thank you for the history of the stollen, Karen. Now I want to go to Dresden! AND take a huge bite of your yummy looking German Christmas bread =)

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  6. What a beautiful bread, Karen! I love the combination of dried fruits you chose, and that you soaked them in rum! Not even close to fruitcake here! Nice to finally hear the tradition behind this bread, too! : )

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  7. Beautiful, Karen! Your post brought me memories, I made this exact recipe looong time ago when I was baking the whole Reinhart's book. Mine did not turn out as beautiful as yours, I should probably re-visit it at some point. Such a festive bread!

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    Replies
    1. Were you part of the original BBA challenge? I wish I had been blogging then!

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  8. I have never made stollen. Been meaning to do it. This might be the year. Thanks for the inspiration.

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I love comments and questions and read every one of them.