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Daring Bakers December 2010|Stollen

Otherwise known as fruitcake!

First, the words…

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.

Sweet Sadie, thou art sweet in reclaiming the yumminess of fruitcake!  This challenge was great on three levels – 1. it redeems fruitcake (although not for all DBs – some people just don’t like some things, and candied fruit is a bit of an odd taste), 2. it was the last “huzzah!” for my little dorm room toaster oven (which now resides with the incomparable Joe F at the Thunderbird School of Global Management) and 3. it was a nice treat for “sharing” (also known as “forcing upon”) my fellow students as my own little graduation gift.

The small but fearless toaster oven

I’m not sure why I got it in my head to try to make this thing in my dorm room, but I’m happy to say it worked spectacularly well.  Toaster ovens do not have the baking power of regular ovens (even of our little half-size apartment oven in Los Angeles) and I was skeptical after making many many mediocre “homemade” pizzas in the thing over the last year.  But the little guy came through on the stollen as you can see in the pictures (although the poor lighting doesn’t do them justice – I promise to work on technique in 2011).  One of the best lessons I got from the challenge (which was not a requirement, actually) was how to zest citrus by hand:

It’s a really simple, if somewhat time consuming, process, and it makes great zest.  I borrowed a grater from an off-campus-living friend for backup, but it turned out to be unnecessary as the (extremely cheap Target) knife I already had worked just fine for both peeling and chopping the skin.  This method is excellent because it gives you much better control over how much pith gets into the zest (virtually none if you’re careful) and the oils smell amazing.  I don’t know that I’ll be using this technique for the next key lime pie (the fruits are so small), but it’s definitely worth the effort for a lemon or an orange.

I altered the recipe a bit, mostly out of necessity (there was just no time for making candied fruits) and also out of a love of chocolate.  Only dried cranberries were used for the fruit (although soaked in plenty of bourbon) and chocolate chips were added right before rolling up the dough (I tried it two ways – one was to make a line of chocolate chips to form a strip of chocolate, à la a chocolate croissant, and the other was to sprinkle them liberally over the dough before rolling it up.  The second method worked much better).  I was glad for the additional chocolate, because the cake wouldn’t have tasted like much with only the cranberries and even though the thing looks smothered in powdered sugar, it’s really not all that sweet.

Was it delicious?  I certainly thought so.  Will I make stollen again?  Probably not unless I get a request for it.  But you never know – it supposedly ships very nicely, and is light, so my loved ones may just find a piece or two in the holiday mail next year!

Thanks to Sweet Sadie for a really fun challenge – I am so excited to be back among the wonderful, creative, brilliant and lovely group that is the Daring Bakers!  Here’s to a fantastic 2011!!

Cheers.

Stollen Wreath (from Penny at Sweet Sadie’s Baking)

Preparation time:

The following times are approximate. I suggest you gather and scale/weigh/measure (mise en place) all your ingredients before you begin mixing.
• Approximately 1 hour first stage – then rest overnight or up to 3 days
• 2 hours to warm up after refrigeration
• 15 minutes shaping
• 2 hours proofing
• 30-45 minutes baking

Equipment required:

• Mixer with dough hook or strong arms and hands
• Mixing bowl
• Bowl to soak raisins
• Small saucepan
• Sheet of plastic or plastic wrap to cover when proofing
• Bench or pastry scraper (very handy for cutting dough and also cleaning work surface)
• Rolling pin
• Dough whisk can be handy but not necessary
• Pastry Brush
• A scale is really important to have when making bread so I strongly advise you to get one. You do not have to have one though. (would make a good Christmas gift!)
• Sheet Pan or round Pizza pan
• Parchment Paper

Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people

Ingredients

¼ 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)
5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ 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
¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
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 ½ 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.

Directions:

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.

Daring Baker's  Stollen

To make the dough

Pour ¼ 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

1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

Daring Baker's  Stollen

Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

Daring Baker's  Stollen

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.

Daring Baker's  Stollen

This was before I pinched it together

Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

Daring Baker's  Stollen

Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Daring Baker's  Stollen

Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ 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.

Daring Baker's  Stollen Daring Baker's  Stollen
The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm

Storage
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
1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

Daring Baker's  Stollen

Additional Information:

Here is a link to recipes to make your own candied citrus peel
http://www.harvestwizard.com/2006/12/candied_citron_recipe.html
http://video.about.com/candy/Make-Candied-Citrus-Peel.htm

http://userealbutter.com/2007/10/09/candied-orange-peels-recipe/

Kneading Bread
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWj8oHMPFm0

Martha Stewart’s wreath
http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/stollen-wreath-bread-with-mrs-kostyr

One Comment

  1. Joanna says:

    Wow! Your stollen looks amazing! I’m uber-impressed that you made all this using a lowly (but fearless :P) toaster oven! I’m sure it made the perfect graduation gift… keep up the amazing bakes!

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