Sunday, 26 December 2010

Wake Up and Smell the Stollen

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.

For some reason, I particularly remember eating stollen in our tiny Oxford kitchen. Maybe it was the first time I had tried it and the memory of a fruited bread with a swirl of marzipan in it is impossible to erase. I was surprised at how easy it was to make - even more surprised at how much Stollen the recipe made. I got one large wreath, one small wreath, one log and six stollen buns.
Maybe this has something to do with leaving it in the fridge for three days. I'm not complaining. This has provided many breakfasts and several afternoon tea treats with friends.
I really hope everyone had a lovely Christmas day and long may your festivities continue!

Stollen Wreath

Makes two large wreaves. Serves 15 people
60ml lukewarm water
14g active dry yeast
240ml milk
140g unsalted butter
770g plain flour
115g caster sugar
¾tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 2 oranges
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract or orange extract
135g mixed peel 170g dried cranberries
juice 2 oranges
100g flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Icing sugar for dusting wreath

In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the orange juice and set aside to get plump overnight.
Pour 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 milk and 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 (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 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.
Drain the cranberries of the orange juice.
Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate.
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
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/180°C/gas mark 4 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 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
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.
One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.


  1. Your stollen looks to have baked wonderfully. Great you were able to enjoy for such a long time. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Your stollen looks amazing!!!

  3. Your stollen looks delicious! I really loved this challenge =)

  4. Alice, this is a beautiful creation. I make stollen every year but I can assure you that mine is nowhere near as handsome as yours. I'm rather new to your blog and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy the food and recipes you share with your readers. Great stuff! I hope you've had a wonderful holiday and that 2011 brings you continuing health and happiness. Blessings...Mary

  5. Never heard about Stollen before... but I like it! Maybe, it's a bit complicated, but I put down your recipe: just in case...
    Nice blog, brava!


  6. You have "stollen" my heart :-). Sorry, I just couldn't resist. This really looks delicious and you did a great job with the challenge. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that the new year brings you an increased measure of health and happiness. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. Stollen is my favorite... and fruit cake.. We had some left over so I made some french toast with it.... the recipe sounds really delish!

  8. Your stollen turned out beautifully! Picture perfect :) It was my first time making a stollen last month for the Daring Baker's Challenge as well, and it was quite the time-consuming process! Well worth it for a delicious slice though, wasn't it?

    Happy Sunday to you!

  9. What a lot of stollen you ended up with!! Like you, I wouldn't be complaining either. It is a wonderful treat...any time of the year.