Last year, I enjoyed a wonderful German holiday bread called “stollen”. It was somewhat like a fruitcake, but lighter and less heavily spiced. It also had a core of marzipan and an outer shell of butter and powdered sugar. This year, I’m going to try to make my own stollen recipe.
I’m working from a modified version of several stollen recipes, but this one provided a lot of fodder. I chose to use Graham flour for part of the mix, then using bread flour for the rest, hoping the additional gluten would overpower the weight of the bran. I also added four eggs instead of two in my stollen recipe, adding a bit of extra flour to compensate. Eggs tend to provide a bit of lightness and dryness while still contributing richness.
I also chose to cream the butter and sugar, which is usually a cake-baking method, but according to Alton Brown it also helps dough to rise. I’m not sure if it works in yeast dough, but I preferred it to the traditional melted-butter method.
For health reasons, I used about half Graham flour (invented by Sylvester Graham of Graham Cracker fame), which is a type of whole-grain wheat flour. All-purpose flour would make the texture a bit lighter, but I wanted to add a tiny bit of fiber to this fat bomb of a holiday loaf.
Yuletide Stollen Recipe
- 2 cups mixed Raisins (purple and golden)
- 1 cup candied Cherries
- 1 cup mixed candied Lemon, Orange, and Citron peel
- 1 cup dried Apricots (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 cup spiced Rum
- 2 cups (4 sticks) of Butter (I used salted butter instead of 1 teaspoon of Salt in the dough)
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry Yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground Cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
- 4 large Eggs
- 4 1/2 cups Flour (I’m using 2 cups of Graham and 2 1/2 cups of bread flour, but all-purpose is probably easier)
- 2 7oz. sticks of Marzipan
- 1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
- Stand mixer
- Whisk attachment
- Dough Hook attachment
- Baking Sheet
- Mixing Bowls
- Basting Brush
- Soak the fruit in the rum and vanilla overnight.
- Heat the milk and dissolve 1/4 cup of the sugar in it. Let it cool to body temperature (about 100°F) and stir in the yeast. Let the yeast bloom in the milk while you work.
- Cream the remaining sugar with two sticks (one cup) of butter using the whisk attachment until it is fluffy and white.
- Add the spices to the butter mixture.
- Integrate the eggs, one at a time, into the butter mixture. Let each egg disappear before adding the next.
- Switch attachments to the dough hook.
- Add two cups of flour, one cup at a time. Be sure to scrape down the sides with your spatula to ensure that the flour is fully integrated.
- Add the milk and yeast mixture.
- Add the remaining flour in installments.
- Allow the dough to rise for two hours in a warm place, covered with a clean towel.
- Using the dough hook, slowly integrate the fruit mixture into the dough. Once it is fully integrated, remove the dough hook.
- Grease your baking sheets.
- Divide your dough into quarters.
Put two quarters on baking sheets and shape them into canoe-like ovals.
- Roll each log of marzipan out until it just about reaches from one end of the dough “canoe” to the other. Flatten the marzipan until it’s about 1/3 the width of the loaf.
- Put a flattened log of marzipan in the center of each dough “canoe”.
- Top each loaf with another quarter of the dough, carefully sealing everything around the marzipan.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Let the loaves bench proof (rise again) in this shape for one hour, covered with clean towels or plastic wrap.
- Bake the loaves for about 1 hour, until golden brown.
- Melt one stick of butter and baste the outside of the warm loaves.
- Sprinkle the loaves with powdered sugar.
- Once the loaves are cool, repeat the process of basting and sprinkling using the remaining butter and powdered sugar. This will create a protective icing-like seal around the loaf to keep them fresh (and tasty!)
I think my yeast was a bit old. Between that and the excess rum (I used about 2 cups instead of the one in the recipe), my dough got a little looser and less risen than it should have. Your loaf should be slightly less flattened- more oval and less round.