Stollen

My Mother used to make stollen every year for Christmas.  She readily employed a small army (her children) to undergo the labor intensive kneading process.  We – gullible, young, and naive – would have a blast stretching, plopping, and mushing the dough around.  This year I tried out a new stollen recipe adapted from Visions of Sugarplums.  Never again.  The stollen turned out fine, and there was nothing actually wrong with it.  It just wasn’t my Mom’s stollen.  Next year I will have to go back to the old standard no matter how much kneading it takes.

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Stollen

This recipe makes 4 loaves.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped dried Cherries
  • 1 cup chopped dried Apricots
  • 1 cup dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Rum or Brandy
  • 4 tbsp Dry Active Yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm Water
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp + 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 cups scalded Milk
  • 2 tsp Salt
  •  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted Butter + 6 tbsp + 2 tbsp Butter
  • Lemon Zest from 2 Lemons
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • 7 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup Almonds slivers
  • 1 cup shredded Coconut
  • Confectionary Sugar for decorative dusting

Directions:

  1. Place the dried fruit in a bowl with the rum or brandy to soak for about an hour.
  2. Strain the fruit from the alcohol, but keep both of them on hand for later.
  3. Combine the yeast with the warm water and 1 tbsp of sugar.  Set the yeast aside for about 10 minutes or until it bubbles up.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 1 cup of butter and combine it in a large bowl with your scalded milk, 1 cup sugar, and 2 tsp salt.
  5. Add 2 cups of flour to your sponge followed by the yeast mixture, lemon zest, almond extract, and 2 tbsp of remaining alcohol.
  6. Beat the ingredients together until well combined, and set the bowl aside for half an hour or until it starts to bubble up.
  7. Lightly beat the eggs, and then pour them into your sponge mixture.
  8. Gradually add the remaining 5 1/2 cups of flour – beating continuously until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  9. Knead the dough.  The dough is really sticky and soft so it is easiest to do it with a bread hook for about 4 minutes or you could do it by hand for about 10.
  10. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the fruit.
  11. Knead the fruit into the dough along with the almonds and coconut.
  12. Place the dough in a large greased bowl to rise.
  13. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap.
  14. Poke holes in the plastic wrap.
  15. Wet a clean dish cloth in hot water and drape it over the plastic wrap.
  16. Set the bowl in a warm location for an hour to rise.  The dough should double in size.
  17. Punch down the dough and separate it into 4 equal parts.  Set the dough balls aside for 10 minutes.
  18. Meanwhile, melt the 6 tbsp of butter.
  19. For each segment of dough: roll the dough out into a large oval about 3/4″ thick, brush the top of the oval in melted butter, sprinkle the oval with sugar, fold one side of the oval 3/4 of the way over, fold the other end of the dough over to form the loaf tucking the ends in.
  20. Place the loaves on greased or parchment lined baking sheets.
  21. Brush the tops of the loaves with butter.
  22. Let the loaves to rise for 1 hour.
  23. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  24. Place the bread in the oven for 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees.
  25. Bake for another 40 minutes or until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
  26. Allow the bread to cool slightly.
  27. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and brush the loaves with it.
  28. Dust the loaves in confectionary sugar.

 

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