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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stollen - you stole my heart.

Aahh.. the holidays bring out the cheesiness in me... 

This is the latest DB challenge and incidentally I LOVE fruit cakes. I think it is just a shame that fruit cakes have a bad reputation in the United States. How can it possibly be bad? Fruit cakes, rum cakes and anything filled with dried fruit and dried nuts has to be good! Despite my love for fruit cakes, I've never had Stollen - a German Christmas Fruit Cake and I have absolutely fallen in love with this bread/cake.

Buttered Stollen
Stollen Wreath
Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people
Mixed dried fruits and nuts

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 10 tablespoons  unsalted butter 
  • 5½ cups all-purpose (plain) flour 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tangerines
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Myers Rum
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 1 tbsp red wine (whichever type you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp Kirschwasser
  • ¾ cup tangerine peels (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup firmly packed raisins
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries
  • 1 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
  • Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

Directions:

Step 1 - Making the candied tangerine peel

Ingredients
  • Tangerines Peels
  • Sugar
  • Grand Marnier
  • Water 
Normally candied peels are made using the white peels of any citrus. The white pith is the bitter part and the essence of oranges are in the fragrant oil that is trapped in the orange peel part. In most recipes you will find that people remove the bitterness and sugar coat the actual peel. However I love the bitterness of fruits, so I completely eliminated the step of removing the zest. This is easier and tastier (in my opinion). So anyway...

Remove the peel from several  tangerines depending on the available size. Take a pot and fill the tangerine pieces with cool water and let it simmer for 5 mins. Dump that water and refill the pot with cool water and repeat twice or thrice to reduce the bitterness per your tastes. I did this only twice.

Use a 1 cup of water + 1/2 cup of sugar + 1 tbsp Grand Marnier for every cup of peel you want to create into candy pieces. The quantity of sugar is much lower than regular candied peels. I've halved the use of sugar in this step. You can increase or decrease per your taste.

So now that you have your cup of peel ready. Heat up the water and sugar in a pan of your liking. After it starts bubbling add the peels, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue heating until all the water evaporates. This will take a long time, probably about 35 - 45 mins.  At the end you will see all that the fruit pieces would've soaked up the water sugar mixture. In the end, add the grand marnier and let it caramelize.

Step 2 - Soak the raisins and prunes.
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum and the prunes in the wine and set aside for two days.

Step 3 - Starting the Stollen Dough
Final dough before baking
  • As usual with any bread recipe, add the yeast to 1/4 cup of lukewarm water and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. Usually when its ready, it will get all foamy and yucky.
  • Heat 1 cup milk and 10 tablespoons butter until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
  • Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add the vanilla extract.
  • In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) 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 a clean cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds (except the cherries) and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. The dough will take in all the fruits and nuts without issue. The dough will be tacky and a bit sticky at this point. Add the cherries at the very end, otherwise your dough will be red. Be delicate.
  • 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 tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The dough is ready if some of the raisins start to fall off.
  • 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. Refrigerate overnight. The dough will become firm and would have risen when you next see it. The dough itself can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
 Step 4 - Shaping the dough into a wreath
  •  Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly. Just an FYI - It won't rise more during these two hours.
  •  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches and ¼ inch thick.
  • Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder. 
  • Transfer the cylinder roll to the lined 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. Turn a big cereal bowl upside down and keep it in the center to help you guide.
  • Make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch 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.
Step 5 - and lastly baking ...
Baked Stollen with powdered sugar
  • About 15 minutes before the two hours end, preheat oven to moderate 350°F
  • 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 lovely deep brown, should register 190°F 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 using your favorite sifter. I use a simplistic tea filter.
  • After a couple of minutes, repeat. Coat at least three times while the stollen is still warm.
  • Let cool at least an hour before serving. You can do more coatings of the butter -sugar combination as this helps it preserve and stay fresh longer. Also the bread itself isn't too sweet, so modify the number of coatings per your tastes.
  • When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly.
The stollen tastes better after a couple of days. Just heat a nice thick slice for 30 secs, smear a bit of butter and sprinkle powdered sugar and serve with lattes or chais. 
Slices of lovely stollen
Storage Information
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.

Despite its long life, it may be hard to actually not finish it all up in a week! :)

11 comments:

  1. Well you posting really shows how much you enjoyed making this stollen. Love your photographs - the crumb (the texture of the interior of the loaf) of the stollen in the last picture is superb. Well done on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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  2. I have yet to attempt making stollen, but your recipe sounds wonderful! Beautiful and I am sure it was delicious :)!

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  3. Your stollen is beautiful! I'm not a big fan of fruitcake, but I loved this challenge.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I can't wait to try it myself :)

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  5. I have seen so many gorgeous DB stollens...I am going to have to try one out. Yours looks like it turned out perfectly!

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  6. Great job on the challenge! Your stollen looks beautiful. I bet it tasted delicious. :)

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  7. Thank you everyone. I had a blast making this and it came out... not too bad :))

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  8. You're stollen is beautiful! It is one of my favorites - I love fruitcake!

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  9. You have posted in forever, hope all is okay!

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  10. thanks for asking Medifast :) I'm doing okay just quite busy and recovering. I'll be posting soon :) Many people are asking me to write again.

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