Friday, 4 December 2015

Stollen

This traditional German bread, packed with fruit and marzipan, is often bought over the Christmas period.  It's straight forward to make and is certainly a treat not to miss out on!

Slices of homemade Stollen

Mmm, Stollen!  It's such a delicious Christmas treat, packed full of fruit, butter and marzipan, I can't quite believe that this is the first year that I've tried Stollen.  Truly it is!  It's passed me by for so many years, how I have managed to enjoy so many Christmases without a slice or two of Stollen I will never know.  It's even more remarkable given my love of marzipan!  I just love the stuff!  Now that I have tried this wonderful bread I can categorically say that it will feature in our family's Christmases for many a festive season to come. 


Homemade Stollen

So, having never tried Stollen until this year, and wanting to try to recreate it in our own kitchen, I clearly needed to do a little reading.  I knew that it was a German bread, but my reading enlightened me and I learnt that it specifically originated in Dresden in the Middle Ages.  The marzipan represents the baby Jesus and the dough his swaddling clothes!  A little concerning given that we slice into it and eat this representation!  It's so fascinating learning about where these traditions come from.      

Homemade Stollen

The bread dough itself is enriched through the inclusion of butter and sugar.  Due to the copious amount of butter and fruit included in the dough it does take longer than usual to prove due to the weight impairing the yeast.  Due to this I decided to allow the bread dough to prove slowly in the fridge overnight without the fruit.  Not only does this provide less weight in the body of the dough it also encourages a slower rise which develops more flavour.  Proving bread dough in the fridge is something which I do fairly regularly with our pizza dough and enriched dough like this Chollah, it certainly makes for a tastier loaf than rushing the prove in an overly warm spot.

Homemade Stollen

The recipe I used as a good starting point was this, the author talked about never having found a Stollen recipe he was truly happy with until he was given this by his German friend.  He soaked specific fruit in alcohol and also used lard in the dough mixture alongside butter.  Wanting Mr E to be able to sample this wonderful Christmas treat, I used all butter in our version.  I also used a mixed packet of dried fruits which I bought in Aldi.  It was described as 'luxury dried mixed fruit', and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the mixture which not only contained the obligatory raisins,  sultanas and candied peel but also glace cherries,  and dried pineapple, cranberries and apricot.  I decided to soak our fruit in orange juice rather than alcohol as orange and marzipan work so well together.   The original recipe also made 4 loaves, but wanting to be able to knead this by hand I reduced the quantities which made it far more manageable.

Homemade Stollen Loaf


Let's get to it and bake.


Stollen    Yum

How to make homemade Stollen
Yield: 1 loaf
Difficulty: Moderate
Freezable: Sorry, untested
Time: hands on time 30 minutes, 50 - 60 minutes bake, plus proving & cooling time
Adapted from: this recipe which had been shared with the author by his German friend.


You will need:

1 x medium Mixing Bowl
Pyrex Jug
1 x large Mixing Bowl
Cling Film
Greaseproof Paper
1 x large Baking Tray ideally with sides
Pastry Brush
Sieve

For the Bread

4g easy bake dried yeast
pinch Sugar
85ml warm Milk
67g + 265g Strong White Bread Flour, plus extra for dusting
50g Sugar
115g Unsalted Butter, softened
1 tsp Salt
1 Lemon (Zest of)

The Fruit Filling

250 - 300g Mixed Fruit (chop the glace cherries into smaller chunks if they are included in the mixture)
85ml Orange Juice (or alcohol if you prefer)

For the Marzipan Centre

200g Marzipan

To Finish  the Stollen

50g Unsalted Butter, melted
Icing Sugar


How to make it:

1.  Soak the fruit.  Place the fruit into a medium sized bowl and pour over the orange juice (or alcohol).  Cover and set aside for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

2.  Make a pre-dough.  Place the yeast, pinch of sugar and warm milk into a Pyrex jug and stir together.  Ensure your milk is not more than blood warm as it may kill the yeast.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes until a sludge develops on the surface.  Place the 67g of strong white bread flour into a large mixing bowl and pour over the yeast mixture.  Mix together well to form a thick paste.   Cover and set this aside for about an hour until it has increased in volume substantially.

3.  Complete  the dough.   Add two-thirds of the remaining flour, all of the sugar, softened butter, salt and lemon zest.  Use your hands to bring the mixture together.  Tip onto a clean surface and start to knead.  Add the remaining flour as the mixture becomes stickier. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. It will become stretchy and very silky in texture. 

4.  Test the dough.  Break off a small amount of dough and stretch it with both of your hands to create a 'window pane'.  If the dough stretches, without breaking, to allow you to see through the 'window pane' it is ready for the next stage.  If it snaps and rips, continue kneading for a couple more minutes before retesting.

5.  Prove the dough.  Place the dough into a large clean bowl and cover.  Either prove overnight in the fridge or elsewhere for at least an hour, until it has doubled in size.  Like all breads, it will develop more favour by proving it slowly.

6.  Add the fruit. Strain the soaked fruit over the sink to remove any excess liquid.  Place the bread dough onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly flatten it out.  Tip the fruit on top.  Incorporate the fruit into the dough thoroughly.  By doing this the dough will be knocked back to help re-distribute the air pockets.

7. Shape the dough.    Use your fingertips to prod and shape the dough into a neat oblong measuring about 35 x 20cm so that the short side is nearest to you. 

7.  Add the marzipan and shape the Stollen.  Shape the marzipan into a sausage about 33cm long.  Lay the marzipan on the work surface and slightly flatten it so that a cross section is almost oblong.  Transfer the marzipan down the centre of the dough length ways.   Place the left flap of bread over the top of the marzipan.  Fold the right side of bread over the top.  The top of the loaf will now have a double layer of bread dough.  Nip the ends of the dough to prevent the marzipan from seeping out as it cooks.  Gently nip the top line of dough to close it.

8.  Set aside to prove for a second time.   Place the shaped Stollen onto the baking tray (ideally with sides which helps to prevent the cover from resting on the dough) which has been lined with greaseproof baking paper.   Either place the baking tray in a  clean plastic bag or cover it with a clean tea towel.  Set aside in a warm place.  If the dough had been proved in the fridge, leave the bread for 2 or 3 hours to allow it to come back to room temperature.  If it was proved in a warm room this stage will take about 45 minutes.

9. Pre-heat the oven to maximum.

10.  Bake.  Place the shaped Stollen into the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 180c / Fan 160 / Gas 4.  Allow the bread to bake for 50 - 60 minutes until it is golden brown and cooked through.  The base of the bread should also be nicely browned.  You may need to rotate the baking tray after 35 - 40 minutes of baking.  If you find the exposed fruit is colouring too much, cover the bread with a sheet of tin foil.

11.  Coat with butter and icing sugar.  Once the bread is cooked remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling tray.  Use a pastry brush to paint on most of the melted butter.  Dust generously with sifted icing sugar.  Drizzle with the remaining melted butter. 

12.  Cool.  Set the Stollen aside to cool.  Once cold dust with more sifted icing sugar.  Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!











This post has been shared with:


Cuddle Fairy's Christmas Link-up


Bready Steady Go, co-hosted by Jen at Jen's Food and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy (this month hosted by Jen)
Cook Once eat Twice hosted by Corina over at Searching for Spice

Festive Food Fridays with Kerry Cooks and Taming Twins

Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Food Year Linkup Link up your recipe of the week

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com  
CookBlogShare

30 comments:

  1. I love stollen, but I never make it before. This year I want to bake one, as I'm sure a homemade one will be much better than the shop-bough ones. I think I'm going to do like you did, and soak the fruits in juice instead of alcohol, very good idea.

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    Replies
    1. Ooh do try it Anca, home made surely is better than shop bought every time :-) I'd love to see your take on the Stollen, do send me a picture if you make one.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  2. Oh yum!! I love stollen! You have reminded me that I must make my gluten and dairy free version of it!

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    Replies
    1. It's delicious isn't it :-) And yet I'd never tried it until a few weeks ago!
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Vicki,
      Angela x

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  3. I'd never seen or heard of stollen here in the States before, but it looks amazing. Definitely a show stopper!

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    Replies
    1. Aw thank you Tracy :-) You'll have to make some and introduce it to your friends and family x
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  4. Your Stollen looks delicious Angela, it's one of my favourite Christmas treats & homemade tastes so much better than shop bought. I love your festive photos x

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    1. Thank you Sarah, that means a lot coming from you such a master at bread making :-) I totally agree, homemade is certainly better than shop bought, if nothing else you know exactly what's gone into it.
      Thank you for your kind comments regarding the images,
      and thanks for popping by and commenting Sarah,
      Angela x

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  5. Oooh - I love stollen and your one looks particularly delicious! I enjoyed finding out about the origins of stollen. I agree with you - slightly odd to represent baby Jesus and then slice into him!?! Eb x

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    1. Aw thank you Eb :-) It is strange isn't it, to represent baby Jesus in his swaddling clothes and then proceed to eat him.
      Thanks for popping by Eb and commenting,
      Angela x

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  6. I've only tried making stollen once before and I was too impatient and didn't let it rise properly - It definitely wasn't my finest baking moment! Stollen is one of Jon's favourite Christmas treats so I really need to try it again sometime. Your version looks delicious, although I think I'd definitely go for soaking the fruit in alcohol rather than orange juice :-)

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    Replies
    1. Ooh you'll have o have another go at it Charlotte, as they say 'practice makes perfect'. I'd definitely recommend allowing it to prove slowly overnight I think it certainly makes a difference.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  7. I love Stollen. My mum buys me one every Xmas but I've never tried making one #FestiveFoodFriday

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    Replies
    1. It's delicious isn't it, you'll certainly have to try making some Mumjd when you have a chance.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  8. i don't think i've ever eaten it either and certainly never baked it before. Yours looks fabulous! x

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad I'm not the only on to have missed out on Stollen Rebecca :-) Though having now tried it I'd wholeheartedly recommend it especially if you enjoy marzipan and dried fruit.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  9. One of my favourite things, I have never tried to bake it. I really must now

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    Replies
    1. It's delicious isn't it. Do have a go Alison when you find a little spare time (!). The hands on time dedicated to it isn't too vast, the hardest part is being patient and allowing it to prove for sufficient time. Do send me a picture if you give it a try :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  10. I adore marzipan too and love stollen! It's one of my favourite Christmas treats but I've never actually made it. I know I will one day though! I love how your version has a generous amount of marzipan in the middle. Thank you for linking up with #CookOnceEatTwice as well.

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    Replies
    1. You'll definitely have to gave a go when you get chance Corina, it definitely worth making a homemade one. As a marzipan lover, it definitely has to have a generous amount of marzipan in it, it'd be rude not to ;-)
      Thanks for popping by Corina, and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  11. I have become a bit obsessed with the supermarket "stollen bites", you've inspired me to try and make my own though. Looks absolutely delicious!

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    Replies
    1. Ooh do Sarah, it's certainly worth the effort - as you say Stollen is delicious x
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  12. Oh stollen is the best! The other advantage to proving overnight is that you can have it for breakfast of course. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare this week.

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    Replies
    1. Ooh good idea! Fresh bread for breakfast - delicious :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting (and of course for hosting),
      Angela x

      Delete
  13. I love stollen, it has to be had at Christmas. This one looks delicious. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree Kirsty, it's certainly now on our Christmas food list from now on :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting, and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  14. Mmm, your Stollen looks delicious, the colour from the glacé cherries is really festive too. What a delicious treat for Christmas. I just made one too and hadn't tried it before, but will definitely add it to the Christmas menu from now on. :-)

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    1. They're great aren't they - I can't quite believe I'd never tried one until the other week. To be honest, I'd not really planned on putting cherries in the fruit mixture, but as you say the cherries do add an extra bit of festive colour. The cherries just happened to be in the bag of mixed fruit - a great mixture.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Lucy,
      Angela x

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  15. This sounds so yum! I love stolen but haven't made it before myself - you did an amazing job, it looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing them with my holiday linky. I hope you have enjoyed your holidays x

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    1. Thank you Becky :-) I was really pleased with how well it turned out in terms of flavour (ooh, the flavour)and the appearance of it. I'd definitely recommend popping Stollen on your 'to bake list' for next year - it's certainly worth it. I know we'll b making it again. We had a lovely Christmas thank you, hope you and your family did too,
      Angela x

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