Christmas Stollen is a wonderful German baking tradition this time of year. A sweet loaf that is studded with dried fruit, spiced with cardamom and a special treat of almond paste runs through it. Once it comes out of the oven it is traditional to slather the warm loaf in butter then roll it in sugar, but we skip the extra butter and dust it with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar to look like the snow outside. This loaf actually holds up very well for a couple of days and that makes it a great gift for the holidays. We’ll have one more Christmas post in December, from Sarah Kieffer– an inventive Swedish Tea Ring with Eggnog Glaze.
About gifts for the bakers on your holiday list, here are our favorite tools for baking bread, they are great for those who love to bake and folks who want to learn how.
100% whole wheat Christmas Stollen from The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes
Makes enough for three 1 1/2 pound loaves
6 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon granulated Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (see the book for other alternatives)
1/2 cup honey
4 large eggs
1/4 cup brandy (OJ or black tea can be substituted)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped dried and/or candied fruit (you choose your favorites. I used cherries, raisins, craisins, and apricots.)
1/2 cup Almond Paste, per loaf
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Confectioners’ sugar for the top
Mixing the dough: Dump the flour, Platinum yeast, salt, cardamom, and vital wheat gluten in a Round Food-Storage Container with Lid and stir them together with a spoon or Danish Dough Whisk. Add the water, butter, honey, eggs, brandy and dried fruit, mix until well incorporated. No kneading! Cover loosely and let stand on the counter for 2 hours. This dough will be sticky, but much easier to handle after it has been refrigerated for several hours. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days or frozen for 2 weeks.
For a version that is a little more decadent, you can use the Brioche Dough (page 189, ABin5) and add the cardamom, the dried fruit fruit and replace 1/4 of the water for the brandy.
On baking day take a 1 1/2 pound (small cantaloupe-size) piece of dough from the bucket.
Using plenty of flour roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick oval. Form the 1/2 cup almond paste into a rope and lay it onto the dough about a 1/3 of the way from the end.
Fold the dough over the almond paste in thirds, so that it forms an S-shape, when you look at it from the end.
Preheat the oven to 350F degree, with rack in the middle of the oven.
Once it has rested use a pastry brush and cover lightly with egg wash, then bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Let the loaf cool for about 20 minutes
and then Sprinkle it with confections’ sugar…
Until it is completely covered and looks like snow!
Red Star Yeast (Lesaffre Corp.) provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.