When I found out that this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was Stollen, well, my heart just seized with joy. I’m pretty sure my husband was more excited though. Hubby and I love all things German (We went to Germany for our honeymoon!) and I was really excited to try my hand at some traditional German Christmas bread.
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 made this Stollen for Christmas at my parent’s house. We were all so excited to try it as it made the kitchen smell AMAZING. There were so many different recipes to chose from, I felt slightly overwhelmed at trying to find the perfect recipe. I ended up combining two different recipes, one from Life’s A Feast and the other from Sugar Crafter. I was really happy with how the Stollen came out and will definitely be making this one again!
Stollen: German Christmas Bread
- 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups mixed dried fruit of your choosing (I used candied orange peel, golden raisins and dried cherries)
- 2/3 cup rum
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup water
To make the sponge, warm the milk to about 100 degrees and whisk in the flour (1/4 cup) and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, or until it looks really spongy.
Combine the fruit and the rum into a bowl and stick it in the fridge until you are ready to put everything else together. I suggest doing this first before even making the sponge.
For the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the egg, butter, sponge, and enough water to form a soft but not sticky ball (this should take about 2 minutes). Once the dough comes together, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Drain some of the rum from the dried fruit and then add the fruit/rum to the dough mixture. Transfer dough to a floured surface and kneed for approx. 6 minutes until the sough feels soft and is no longer sticky.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough ball in the bowl. Roll it around so that the entire ball is covered. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and leave out at room temperature for 2 hours.
Once the dough has rested, scrape it out onto a floured work surface, punch it down and roll out into a large rectangle of about 16 x 24 inches (mine was a tad smaller). Sprinkle the dough generously with cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg all the way to the edges. Starting with a long side, roll the dough up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder. Transfer the cylinder to the sheet pan. Pull the two ends around together, forming the dough cylinder into a ring and join the ends together, and pinch with your fingers to make it stick. Using clean kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough. Once sliced, gently pull the sections out from each other so they will stay separated once risen and baked. Either spray the wreath lightly with spray oil or tap gently with a vegetable oil soaked paper towel. Cover lightly yet completely with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake the Stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Brush the top with melted butter and then sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Let stand for 1 minute, then sprinkle with a second layer. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
I’m happy to say that this was a big hit with my family! Everyone really enjoyed it and I really can’t wait to make it again!