Stollen is one of the most famous of the German Christmas breads. It is made in the autumn and put down to rest for several weeks before you can start eating is at first advent.
Stollen will last for months, like English Christmas cake, as it is well preserved by all the high proof rum or brandy. It does not taste alcoholic at all, the alcohol is merely a preservative.This amazing recipe makes 4 stollens, all about 800 grams – enough for the winter! I do not use marzipan in my stollen, but plenty of people do. Marzipan is optional.
- bowls, spoons, scale, baking trays, non stick baking parchment, aluminium foil, scrapers, little sieve for sprinkling icing sugar
- 800 g Raisins
- 240 g Slivered or "matchstick" almonds
- 100 g Candied peel
- 240 ml Rum or brandy (as high an alcohol content as you can find as this preserves the stollen)
The "pre dough"
- 5 g Instant yeast or 10 g dry yeast or 20 g fresh yeast
- 260 ml Milk, heated to just below boiling point and let cool completely Heat up 300 and then measure out the 260. Milk has a habit of disappearing when it's heated
- 10 g Sugar
- 200 g White wheat plain flour
The "main dough"
- 800 g White wheat plain flour
- 130 g Sugar
- 100 g Lard you can substitute butter if you prefer
- 260 g Butter you can substitute lard if you want to
- 20 g Salt
- 2 Lemons Grated zest only
- 240 g Melted butter
- 4 tbsp Vanilla sugar you can buy this or you can make this by putting a vanilla pod into a container of sugar a week before you want to bake
- 16 tbsp Icing sugar/confectioners sugar
- 500 g Marzipan
- Make the soaker and let it sit, covered on the counter for 12-24 hours.
- After the soaking time has elapsed, make the pre-dough a big bowl by whisking together the pre-dough ingredients and letting them sit, covered for at least one hour.
- Add the main dough ingredients to the pre dough and knead well for 10 minutes by hand or by machine on the lowest setting, and let rest for 30 minutes, covered. It is a dry dough so you just need to persevere.
- Add the soaked fruit and nut mix into the bowl and then incorporate it into the dough by squishing, folding, kneading, pleading, begging, picking it off the floor, and "chopping" it in gently with a dough scraper. You have been warned. Make sure your floor is clean as the raisins tend to jump onto the floor. Do not do this in the mixer as you will squish the raisins into brown smears.
- Let it rest for two hours, covered. It will not exactly rise, there is too much fruit for that, but it will become a bit puffier.
- Pull the dough out onto a counter that is not floured and, using a knife or scraper, divide it into four equal pieces.
- Gently stretch/pat each piece into a rectangle about the size of a piece of A4/81/2 x 11" paper. It should be about about 2.5 cm/1 inch thick. At this point, if you are adding marzipan, shape it into thin sausage, no more than 1 inch/2.5 cm in diameter and lay it down the middle of each square. Fold the right-hand edge of the dough square 2/3 of the way over the dough (and over the marzipan if you have added it) and then fold the left-hand edge all the way over the dough to the right-hand edge. Like folding a piece of A4 paper (81/2 by 11") for an envelope.
- Cut four rectangles of non stick parchment that are twice as wide and ten centimeters (3-4 inches) longer than each piece of shaped stollen. This parchment will be what you use to move the stollen around. It is too fragile, when it comes out of the oven, to pick up without this support.
- Place each stollen on a separate rectangle and then place them all on a baking tray, with plenty of space between them.
- Cover the loaves with a tea towel and let the loaves rest while you heat the oven to 250 centigrade. Put the stollen in and immediately reduce the heat to 180 C.
- Bake for 50 minutes. After 30 minutes cover them with huge sheet of baking parchment to prevent the raisins from burning.
- Remove them from oven and immediately place each loaf carefully on a cooling rack. Brush them with half of the melted butter. Sprinkle each one with one tablespoon of vanilla sugar. Use a tiny sieve to sift 1 tablespoon of icing sugar over each one then dribble on 125 g more butter. I really do mean dribble. You cannot brush on this last coating of butter or you will brush away the sugar. So, dribble with a spoon. Then, sift the remaining icing sugar over the tops of all of them.
- Let these cool completely (this takes a few hours).
- Tear four huge pieces of wax/greaseproof/parchment. Place one stollen (using the parchment it is sitting on to move it) in the middle of each piece and wrap them up well. Then, wrap them tightly in aluminium foil. Store in a cool dry place for 4-6 weeks before eating.