Holiday Baking: German Stollen (Sweet Fruit Bread)
Stollen is a popular holiday treat in German communities. It’s a lighter alternative to fruitcake for those who don’t like the heaviness of the traditional “wagon wheels”. There are as many recipes for Stollen as there are bakers who make it.
Note: Use any mixture of dried fruit preferred, as long as it is cut into small pieces.
*1/4 c sultanas/golden raisins
*1/4 c currants or dark raisins
*1/2 c chopped mixed peel
*1/4 c rum or water, warmed
*2 tsp dried yeast
*1 c hand-warm water or milk
*1/4 c white sugar
*1/2 tsp salt
*2 oz/ 1/2 stick unsalted butter
*12 oz/ 3 c plain/AP flour plus extra for dusting
*2 eggs, beaten
*1 tsp freshly grated lemon or orange rind
*6 oz/ 1/2 c shredded blanched almonds
*melted butter for brushing
*icing/confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Soak the raisins and mixed peel in warm rum or water.
Mix the dried yeast in the warm water or milk and set aside. Melt the butter and stir in the sugar and salt until both have dissolved. Let cool to hand-warm. Mix in the yeast and stir well.
Put about half the flour in a large bowl, making a well in the centre. Add the yeast/milk/butter mixture and the beaten eggs. Mix well, then beat until the dough is smooth; this can be done in a stand mixer.
Drain the fruit and mix with the lemon or orange rind plus the almonds.Add about 1 cup of the remaining flour and toss to coat.
Combine the flour-coated fruit and nuts with the dough in the bowl. Knead on a floured board to distribute everything. Adjust the flour if the dough is too sticky after kneading. Place the dough in a buttered bowl and butter the top. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume; an hour or more.
Turn the dough out onto the floured board and knead lightly. Shape into an oval or rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Brush the top with melted butter and fold in half lengthwise so that the upper part doesn’t quite cover the lower part. Pat down lightly. Transfer to a buttered (or use a silicone liner) baking sheet. Brush more melted butter on top and let rise until doubled in volume again.
Meanwhile heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the Stollen for about 40 minutes until golden brown and done. Allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes and brush with more melted butter. Dust the Stollen with icing/confectioner’s sugar while still warm. Store airtight at room temperature, dusting with more sugar if needed.
Image via Wikipedia