Monday, December 27, 2010


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.

I love being a Daring Baker, and one of the things I love most about it is we make recipes that might seem daunting but usually are broken up into steps that are totally doable. I didn't know what a stollen was, so this was a fun recipe for me to tackle. I love making bread, and this is just a fancier loaf of bread.

Penny very kindly gave us suggestions for making our own candied zest, but I just didn't have the time, so I bought dreadful citron at Safeway. Ugh. I'm sure bakers who made their own (and I know there will be many) will have a much tastier stollen than I. Later, I thought of substituting crystallized ginger for the citron, and I may go back and try it with that. 

Stollen is a lot of fun to make. The recipe Penny shared with us was detailed and easy to follow. After my dough stayed in the fridge overnight, it took more than the specified 2 hours to be malleable, so I gave it an extra hour. It rolled up like a champ, and I loved her suggestion of forming it around a bowl. When mine went into the oven, it was a perfect circle as a result, but it grew so much in the oven that the sheet pan's sides confined it and it ended up shaped more like an ellipse.

See, gorgeous going into the oven...

...not so gorgeous out of the oven

I gave it one coating of melted butter and powdered sugar, and after it cooled, I wrapped it in foil for the next day.

This was a hit at work, and for a change, there was enough for everyone who wanted a piece. Redolent of orange, it was dense but fluffy at the same time. Everyone loved how it smelled. It was so good, and pretty easy, so I started thinking about other versions...I haven't had time to make them but I've been bitten by the stollen bug.

If you'd like to try your hand at stollen, here's the recipe Penny shared with us with my modifications. Penny very generously gave us permission to use her photos, some of which I've included if I think it will help you conceptualize what the recipe is asking for.

Stollen Wreath

Makes one large wreath. Serves 10+ 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 (I used 3 1/2 teaspoons of instant 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) orange extract
¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed golden raisins
3 tablespoons (45ml) orange juice
1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) sliced almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the orange juice and set aside.
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 orange 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 raisins 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
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. 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.
Daring Baker's  Stollen
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.
Daring Baker's  Stollen
This was before I pinched it together
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.
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
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. 


Di said...

That looks great, Leslie! Maybe next year I'll try Stollen. Lots of people (not just DB) have been making it, but I wasn't in the mood after baking Panettone.

Kayte said...

I was hoping to get to some Stollen this year but ran out of time, so hopefully next year. Yours looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

The wreath shape looks great! My grandma used to make stollen; it wasn't my favorite, but it was always nice to have a little around Christmas.

Simona said...

It sounds like you made many people happy with your Stollen, and that is a great reward, isn't it? I was tempted to make it again and yielded to the temptation. Happy New Year!