Week 42: Weihnachtsstollen

GERMANY: Christmas stollen represents the warmth of the Christmas season, and its thick coat of powdered sugar reminds us of a snowy German landscape, and to some, symbolizes the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. Stollen can be “aged” for 2 ~ 3 weeks before eating, just wrap it tightly, and keep it in a cool place. This allows the liquid from the rum-soaked dried fruits to soak into the bread creating both flavor and moistness. YUM!

STEP 1 (2 days prior): Soak fruit and nuts

  • 1/3 cup each of golden raisins, raisins and dried cherries (OR cranberries)
  • 1 cup finely diced candied citrus peel (orange, lemon, grapefuite or a combination) 
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp orange extract
  • Dark rum (or brandy, cognac, schnapps, etc.)
  1. Place dried fruit, candied peel and almonds in a small bowl, and stir to combine
  2. Add the orange extract and enough liquor to cover
  3. Stir to combine, cover, and let sit on countertop for 24 hours, sitrring every so often, and adding more liquor (just to cover) if it’s all been absorbed.
  4. Drain any excess liquor before using.

STEP 2 (two days later): Make the sponge

  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Measure flour and yeast into a small bowl
  2. Warm milk to 110 degrees
  3. Slowly add milk to flour, whisking all the while, to form a smooth paste
  4. Cover, and let sit for 1 hour, until foaming

STEP 3: Make dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsps sugar
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  1. Place the flour, sugar, salt, zests, and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Whisk to blend
  3. Place bowl in mixer, and with the paddle attachment, turn on lowest speed (be careful – it mixes alot faster than the dough hook) and then add in the sponge, the whole egg, egg yolk.
  4. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, scraping sides if some of it gets stuck and isn’t mixing in.
  5. Continue to mix until dough comes away from the sides.
  6. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

STEP 4: Knead and 1st rise

  1. Remove from bowl, and with a lightly oiled countertop (or lightly floured – if your dough seems a little too wet to manage), fold in fruit mixture and knead until fully incorporated
  2. Return dough to bowl, and with the dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed for 4 ~ 5 minutes, until it’s soft and satiny – not sticky.
  3. Cover, and let rise (proof) at room temperature about 45 minutes.

STEP 5: Shape dough

1 roll of marzipan (optional – you can add a skinny roll of marzipan in the middle as you roll it up. I did this the first time, but I found it too strong, so use almond extract instead.)

  1. Lightly oil your countertop
  2. Separate dough into two halves and press into a rectangle. Roll up, pressing down with each fold over into a log shape about an inch thick. Pinch seam to seal.
  3. Place logs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a damp tea towle, and let rise until doubled. This can take anywhere from one to two hours, depending on the temperature of your room.
  4. At some point, preheat oven to 375 so it’s ready at bake time.

STEP 6: Bake!

  1. Turn down oven to 350.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate pan and bake another 20 ~ 30 minutes (40 to 50 minutes total). You want them to be a nice, very dark golden brown, and an internal temperature of 190 degrees.

STEP 7: Add topping

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Let the stollen sit for 5 minutes
  2. Poke the stollens with a yakitori stick, or toothpick, and brush the tops generously with melted butter. You want to do this while they’re still hot
  3. Put powdered sugar in a sieve, and then shake over the top of the stollens to coat. Wait a minute, then repeat. You want alot, more than what you’d typically use.
  4. Once cool, store in plastic.

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