Thursday, 23 December 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge No.2 - Dec 2010 - 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.

Look how posh my HUGE stollen was.  It was a wreath shape.  The recipe we were supposed to be following had no marzipan in and it suited the wreath shape.  I couldn't not have marzipan in mine, though.  Marzipan is THE POINT of stollen!!!  Unfortunately, my marzipan oozed out through the cuts to make the wreath shape so it didn't look as tidy as the non-marzipan versions - the original shape is obviously more suited to keeping the marzipan in.  However, my stollen tasted WONDERFUL!  Best stollen I have ever had!  Modest.  Thanks to Penny for a brilliant, festive challenge.

As you can see, I put my marzipan in lots of little strips so that every mouthful had oozy marzipan goodness rather than one bit of marzipan in the middle - perfect.

So, I thought my Dad would love this as much as me and I gave him a half of the wreath.  My husband dropped it off to him in the morning.  I thought I would get a phonecall from him raving about it but heard nothing.  I eventually asked him if he liked it and he replied that it was nice without any real enthusiasm.  Hmmmm, I thought it was fantastic, that's strange.  I soon discovered the story from my Mum.  As my Dad is advancing in years (hope he's not reading this), he somehow got confused and told my Mum that I had given them some streudal.  So, of course, she heated it in the oven and served it with cream.  Naturally enough, they didn't benefit completely from my amazing stollen that I spent hours on.  That's the last stollen he's getting!

And my husband doesn't eat things with dried fruit.  The kids ate it but really the only person who can give an opinion on the stollen is me.  But it WAS wonderful, honest.

Here is the recipe I followed - 

Stollen Wreath
Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people
1⁄4 cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110o F / 43o C) 
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast 
1 cup (240 ml) milk 
10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter) 
51⁄2 cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first - then sift- plus extra for dusting) 
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar 
3⁄4 teaspoon (3 3⁄4 ml) (4 1⁄2 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) lemon extract or orange extract 
3⁄4 cup (180 ml) (4 3⁄4 ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel  
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins 
3 tablespoons (45ml) rum 
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional) 
1 cup (240 ml) (3 1⁄2 ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds 
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath 
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath
Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.
Soak the raisins
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside. See Note under raisins.
To make the dough
Pour 1⁄4 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 lemon 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 fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!
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 1⁄4 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 11⁄2 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 and One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

Here is the link to The Daring Kitchen incase anyone else wishes to join their baking or cooking challenges.

Here is the link to The Food Blog Diary which lists all the upcoming events and giveaways.

And, finally, here is the link to my own giveaway in which you can win a copy of my favourite cookbook.  This is open until the end of the year and all you have to do is comment to be in with a chance of winning. 


  1. Great idea to spread out the marzipan. The stollen looks luscious!

  2. Well, it certainly looks wonderful as well. Mmmm! Great job!

  3. Thank you Laura and Suzler. I did really love it and will be making it again next year.

  4. I am sure it was absolutely delicious - what an unfortunate mixup for your dad! :) Your wreath looks fantastic, and the marzipan is the perfect touch. Great job! Happy Holidays!

  5. Your Stollen turned out lovely! I was boring and made the loaf instead of the wreath;)Merry Christmas and I hope you have a wonderful New Year:)

  6. Your Stollen looks fantastic!!! I agree that marzipan is the best bit of stollen, love how you ahve got lots of in your wreath.
    Have a wonderful Christmas

  7. Yum! Love the wreath shape! I'm with Team Marzipan when it comes to stollen, you cant have it without marzipan!

  8. Love the wreath shape.

    Your poor Dad, missing out on the full yumminess!

    Happy Christmas.

  9. Your stollen looks beautiful. I did it without the marzipan, but think I will have to do it again with the addition of marzipan.
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas

  10. I agree - I thought it was pretty wonderful, too! I think your stollen looks great!

  11. What a gorgeous stollen. Doh to your Dad! That did make me laugh.

  12. Looks great!!! Too bad your dad didn't get to enjoy it - I'd say he truly missed out. The addition of the marzipan dotted throughout looks fantastic.

  13. Thanks everyone. This is going to my regular Christmas bake - love it so much! Maybe Dad will get to try it properly next year!

  14. Thanks for commenting on my stollen =) Yours also turned out divine! I too will be baking this again...definitely before next Christmas!

  15. Thanks for your lovely comment on my post! I wasn't quite sure about the twist, cause not even Penny did it. I thought it looked really nice before dusting with icing sugar. The sugar hid all the beauty... Your Stollen is gorgeous! That slice with all the fruit and marzipan is mouthwatering!
    Happy New Year!

  16. I'm sure your stollen was wonderful! This recipe is really awesome, isn't it?
    And yours turn out so beautiful! Nice job!

  17. Renata - I felt the same - it looked much nicer before the sugar went on!
    Manu - yes, it was a perfect recipe - apart from missing out the marzipan! ;-)