For Bread 43, I made Stollen. I’d actually planned to make a different panetonne recipe than I have in years past (and skip fruitcake entirely), but with the move and holiday travel, I didn’t have a chance to plan my holiday baking and gifting until last week, with only a week until Christmas. That meant no planning ahead and ordering panetonne papers in advance from Amazon, and the staff at the Michael’s that I went to didn’t know what panetonne was. So, like any good baker, I improvised with a different, but similar, bread. Stollen, like panetonne, also has nuts and liquor-soaked fruit. To its advantage – you can start the dough and bake the bread on the same day.
Stollen is a bread with history and symbolism behind it, of which I basically know what exists on the internet, and so I won’t discuss it here. In any case, it stands to reason that there are many different stollen recipes, but since I’d planned to use the panetonne recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (which I couldn’t do in any case, since the panetonne requires a sourdough starter), I opted for the Stollen recipe from the book instead. Reinhart said that he sometimes baked stollen in panetonne wrappers, so I hoped it would be similar enough. Also a plus – the stollen looked to be much less heavily spiced and lighter on alcohol than fruitcakes I’ve made in the past, which is a good thing if I have to eat some of it. I don’t like heavy, clovey spice mixtures, and I can’t try anything with much alcohol.
Overall, this was a delicious bread – much better than stollen I tried to make several years ago before I knew anything about baking bread. It’s also a great bread to give as gifts. I made several batches, so I did not have the energy to shape the bread traditionally, but I hope that next time I can practice some fancy, decorative shaping.
- 1 cup raisins, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 cup candied fruit mix or mixed dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, cherries, etc.), plus additional for sprinkling
- ½ cup brandy, rum or schnapps (4 ounces; I used white rum)
- ½ cup milk
- 2½ ounces all-purpose flour (about ½ cup)
- 4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
- 10 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2¼ cups)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- zest of half an orange (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract (or orange extract)
- about ¼ cup water
- ½ cup slivered almonds (or marzipan)
- vegetable oil, for brushing (I think this will be 1-2 tablespoons per recipe, but possibly more)
- powdered sugar, for topping
- When you start the bread recipe, or up to two days in advance, combine the 2 cups fruit with the alcohol. I did this about 18 hours in advance. Stir occasionally to redistribute the fruit in the liquid.
- Warm the milk to 100-105F. Add ½ cup flour and yeast and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour, until the sponge is very foamy.
- Combine the sponge, flour, sugar, salt, zest, cinnamon, egg, butter, lemon or orange extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir with the dough hook and add enough of the water to create a soft but not sticky dough. This will take 1-2 minutes. Once the dough is together, let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the fruit from the alcohol and add the drained fruit to the dough. (After 18 hours of soaking, my fruit soaked up 6 tablespoons of alcohol, leaving behind 2 tablespoons.)
- Stir the dough to distribute the fruit, then knead the dough on medium speed for about 4 minutes. The dough should be soft and tacky, but not sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let ferment at warm room temperature for 45 minutes. Dough will rise, but will likely not double in size.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. If you will make 2 loaves, like I did, divide dough in half. Pat each half into a 7x5 inch rectangle (9x6 for a full-sized loaf) and sprinkle with additional fruit and the ½ cup slivered almonds (or a marzipan log roughly the length of your dough). Fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center; press the dough into the crease to seal and create surface tension. Fold the top of the dough over the bottom edge of the dough; pinch to seal the seam closed and to increase the surface tension.
- Transfer stollen to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, and curl it into a crescent. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, until dough is 1½ times its original size.
- Bake the 2 small loaves stollen on the middle oven rack at 350F for about 40 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking time. (This could take up to 70 minutes for a full-sized loaf of stollen.) Bread will be dark when it is done. It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, and will register 190F in the center. (This took about 35 minutes for each of my batches.)
- Brush bread with vegetable oil while hot. Sift powdered sugar generously over the loaf. Let rest another minute, then coat with more powdered sugar. Bread should have lots and lots of powdered sugar. (Mine may not have had enough, since I had to add more powdered sugar today.) Remove bread to cooling rack. Wait 1 hour before cutting and serving. When completely cool, store in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out.
I kept the loaf in the center for myself, and despite my poor shaping and damp dough, the stollen was delicious. The bread had good texture and structure. It is a sturdy, cakey bread. The rum-soaked fruit was not too strong (or else I wouldn’t have eaten more than a bite or two), and gave the bread bright, flavorful notes. The bread is sweet from the fruit and the powdered sugar on top, but not overly so. The lemon extract and cinnamon weren’t too noticeable on their own, but I think the bread would have been lacking something without them. This would have been all the more delicious if I had included marzipan, but without it, I don’t feel guilty eating stollen for breakfast this week.
I baked this on Thursday evening and had some this (Monday) morning. I had to reapply powdered sugar, but the bread is still fresh since I’ve kept it sealed up well. (The liquored fruit also helps keep it fresh and moist.) I’m enjoying this bread so far, and I would definitely make this recipe again next year if I decide to make stollen.