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.

Week 41: Cinammon Rolls

These “Perfectly Pillowy Cinammon Rolls” are King Arthur Baking Company’s 2020 Recipe of the Year. What really makes them stand out is that they can be made a day (or two or three) ahead of time without losing their fluffy structure. I read all 389+ comments so you don’t have to, and listed reviewers’ tips that I found most useful. My advice? Make half with orange marmalade — you won’t regret it! And, yes, they do have recipes for two icings; I just forgot to take a photo.

King Arthur Baking Company’s Perfectly Pillowy Cinammon Rolls


  1. Make 10 or 12 instead of 8 (many folks found them too large)
  2. Tuck the end bit under the rolls so it doesn’t separate out during baking
  3. Pat the filling down, to make it stick, rather than use more butter (cuz it’ll just melt and ooze out)
  4. Use a cake pan for straight/even rolls (KA suggests putting them spaced apart on a cookie sheet. Many readers found that they then leaned a lot.) I used 2 cake pans. You could also use a muffin tin for 12, or a 13″ x 9″ pan.
  5. You can cool, then put the icing on, and freeze
  6. Don’t roll to tight, they won’t rise as well
  7. Add raisins to the frosting
  8. Use a 13″ x 9″ pan
  9. Brown the butter for the filling (2.5 tblsp)
  10. Cut off ends to make them neater
  11. 1% or 2% milk works, as does non-dairy milks and butters
  12. Add some cardamon to the orange rolls’ icing
  13. Add 1/4 tsp cardomon to the melted butter you brush on top
  14. Pinch rolls to seal

Week 40: Pane Siciliano

ITALY: Finally, an opportunity to use semolina flour – the sandy flour made from durum wheat which is what’s commonly used for pasta (although pasta is usually made from “fancy durum” which is a finer grind). The sweet, nutty flavor of semolina combined with toasty sesame seeds is really delicious — and the fancy “S” shape makes for a very festive loaf indeed! Italians typically baked this on December 13th, to celebrate the bravery of St. Lucia, and the shape represents her eyes, because she was blinded following her faith.

STEP 1: Make the pre-ferment (aka sponge, poolish, biga)

For more flavor, start this the day before, and store it in the fridge. Take it out a couple of hours before moving on to the next step so that it has time to come to room temperature.

  • 90 g semolina flour
  • 90 g bread flour
  • 3/4 cup water (warmed to 100 degrees)
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  1. Mix the flours, yeast, sugar and water together with the handle of a wooden spoon until there are no bits of dried flour hanging about. Scrape the sides so it’s all together.
  2. Cover and let sit at room temperature for about 60 ~ 90 minutes, so it’s bubbley, and has risen a bit, but not so long that it started to collapse.

STEP 2: Make and knead dough

  • 135 g semolina flour
  • 135 g bread flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 g olive oil
  • Pre-ferment from above
  1. Measure dry ingredients ino the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk to combine
  2. Add teh olive oil and preferemt
  3. With the dough hook attachment, knead until it comes together and is smooth, a little damp but not sticky. This should take about 5~6 minutes, set at #2. If it’s not coming together add a tiny bit of flour – one tablespoon at a time! Same goes for water, if it’s too dry, just a tablespoon of water at a time. A little goes a long way!

STEP 3: First rise

  1. Place dough in a very lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 ~ 90 minutes

STEP 4: Shape and 2nd rise

  1. Turn dough out onto lightly oiled coutertop and divide into two equal pieces
  2. Shape each half into an 18″ rope, then coil into an “S” shape
  3. Place the loaves on baking sheet, cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. I use a see-through bag so I can check on them, raising it above the loaves with a couple of drinking glasses.
  4. Preheat over to 350


  • 1 egg white, whisked with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Sesame seeds
  1. Brush the loaves with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the sesame or flax seeds.
  2. Turn overn down to 325 and bake loaves for 20~30 minutes until golden brown.

Week 39: Pão de Milho Verde

BRAZIL: A sweet yeasted cornbread, popular in Portugal and Brazil. The linked video (in Portuguese) gives instruction for making a loaf, but these would also be good as dinner rolls. I’ve translated the ingredients below, so you can measure everything out and then follow along even if you don’t understand. I’m so happy I came across Adriano Ribeiro’s YouTube channel and really enjoyed making bread “with” him.


  • 80 g all purpose flour
  • 80 g whole milk
  • 5 grams yeast

Final mass

  • 165 g of sponge
  • 420 g all purpose flour
  • 50 g corn meal
  • 170 g whole milk
  • 10 g salt
  • 75 g sugar
  • 25 g whole milk powder
  • 100 g boiled or pickled green corn (this is just regular yellow corn)
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g soft unsalted butter


  • 1 egg white
  • 15 g fine cornmeal (optional – for dusting)

My favorite translation, “I recommend that you use a planetary mixer . You can beat the dough in your hand, but it is more laborious, it makes more dirt and the main thing, the crumb is not so fluffy”

WEEK 38: Anadama

NEW ENGLAND: This yeast bread originated on the North Shore of Boston in 1850. There are lots of versions using a variety of flours (white, whole wheat and/or rye) but they all contain cornmeal and molasses, making this sturdy loaf a great alternative to just plain cornbread. Perfect for your Thanksgiving leftovers!

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Week 37: Pumpkin Rolls

USA: These autumn-spiced rolls are just a tad sweet, so are as nice with dinner as they are with afternoon tea. Make a batch of these when fall starts, for practice, and then you can make your second, perfected batch for Thanksgiving. They are shaped by wrapping twine around them before baking; if you’re not up for that, you can just use scissors to cut the indentations in the dough.

  • 425 g AP flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 2-1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4  tsp cloves
  • 1/4  tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Measure flours, yeast, spices and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Whisk to combine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten (reserve white for brushing on dough just before baking)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine, just not the pumpkin pie filling stuff!)
  1. Mix wet ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Warm to 110 degrees
  3. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with the paddle attachement until everything’s well combined. If it seems a little too wet, adn isn’t coming together, add a teaspoon of flour. No more than that — a little goes a long way!
  4. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes, so flour can absorb all the liquids
  5. With the dough hook attachment, knead on #2 for 5 minutes.

STEP 3: First rise

  1. Place dough in oiled bowl, and turn to coat.
  2. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. This can take anywhere from 45 ~ 90 minutes, depending on temperature of the room.

STEP 4: Shape dough

  • string
  • reserved egg white mixed with some milk
  1. Turn dough out onto oiled counter and divide into 10 pieces or 12 pieces. Cover pieces so they don’t dry out.
  2. Shape into balls, following the video instruction on the Tips page. Cover the dough balls as you shape them so they don’t dry out
  3. Cut pieces of string into 27″ lengths and dip in oil
  4. Wrap string to make pumpkin shaped indents, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover those too, as you make the other ones.

STEP 5: Second rise and bake

  1. Cover with a damp tea towel, and let rise about 45 minutes until slightly puffy
  2. Preheat oven to 400
  1. Turn down oven to 350 and bake rolls 20 minutes, or until brown
  • 8 whole cloves or pecans and string (10 pices about 27″ long)
  • melted butter to brush on after baking

egg white and milk

Week 36: Rustic Bâtard

FRANCE: The bastard son of a baguette, named so because it’s shape was not round like a boule. “Rustic” because it’s got some whole wheat mixed in.

Continue reading “Week 36: Rustic Bâtard”

Week 35: Harvest Bread

USA: This tea loaf is filled with the flavors of fall: pumpkin, apples, pears, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Make it in mini loaf pans, and you’ve got the perfect gift for the holidays! You can also make one loaf in a 8″ x 4″ or 9 ” x 5″ loaf pan.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan, or 3 mini loaf pans.

  • Topping: 3 tablespoon sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp each ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger
  • 1/2 cup  melted coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed (light is okay0
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup peeled, finely diced apple
  • 1 cup peeled, finely diced pear
  • 1/2 cup  roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  1. Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl. You can microwave them for a few seconds to make it easier to spread.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together in a large bowl until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, add oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin and cut apples and pears.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Add sunflower seeds.
  6. Spread the batter into prepared loaf pan, and add the topping.
  7. Bake for 55~65 minutes, (30~40 minutes for mini-loaves). Cover with foil if it’s browning too much before it’s thoroughly cooked.
  8. Let cool before removing and slicing.

Week 34: Kaisersemmel

AUSTRIA: Often called hard rolls in the U.S., these “emperor’s rolls” are mostly eaten for breakfast in Austria, with butter and jam. I couldn’t really master the “fold and tuck” method of shaping the dough, so tied them in knots instead — no easy feat either! These are a sturdier alternative to Week 10’s Burger Buns which are made with a brioche type dough, so definitely something to add to your repertoire!

Since the video is in Bavarian (or German? I have no idea!), I’ve listed the ingredients below. Get them all measured out ahead of time, then follow the video instructions below.

  • 400 g AP flour
  • 8 g salt
  • 10 g malted barley flour (most AP flour in the U.S. has malted barley flour already added in, so you can ignore this)
  • 5 g sugar
  • 15 g soft butter
  • 7 g yeast
  • 50 ml milk
  • 190 ml lukewarm water (72 degrees)
  • milk and sesame seeds for topping

Instructions (make sure you watch the video – don’t just go by this loose translation!)

  1. Knead on #2 for 3 minutes, scraping down sides to help fully incorporate the dry flour into the dough, then on #4 for 3 minutes, scrape sides, then finish off on #2 for 3 minutes.
  2. First rise is 20 minutes
  3. He makes 9 rolls, but I make 8, each dough ball weighing about 85 grams
  4. Press hard when you are flattening and rolling the balls into buns
  5. He dusts the balls with a “dusting flour” which is 50% rye and 50% cornstartch. I did not do this step because I wanted to coat them with sesame seeds and I figured the flour would interfere with that. But, if you are going to shape them as he does, do the 2nd dusting.
  6. Rest 15 minutes, then shape
  7. After you shape them, they rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 during this rest.
  8. You want a steamy environment, put hot water in a pan on the lowest rack. See the Tips page for more info on that.
  9. Just before baking, I brushed them with milk and added the sesame seeds. So, I did not spray them with water as he does in the video.
  10. Bake for about 18 minutes.

Here’s how to make knots if you would rather go that route. I found it much easier:

YOu could also use an apple cutter, but it doesn’t work as well.

Week 33: Schiacciata con l’Uva

ITALY: Also known as “winemaker’s foccacia”, this salty-sweet flatbread from Tuscany is traditionally made in the fall using grapes from the harvest. The dough has just of touch of sweetness, and some of the water is replaced with a sweet white wine (both of which makes the dough a little denser than the typical airy focaccia). Next time, I think I’ll add some Gorgonzola. You could top this with any fruit on hand; I also made a version with apples and nectarines, and a sprinkling of herbs de Provence. Delizioso!

Continue reading “Week 33: Schiacciata con l’Uva”