(The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.)
My grandmother was from Pennsylvania, and I remember her always bringing stollen for the holidays. I’ve been talking about trying one for a few years now, but I always spend my days before Christmas frantically making chocolate. This year, instead of chocolate gifts, I made jams. The jams were done in advance, so I had plenty of time this year.
It wasn’t a difficult bread – it actually reminded me a lot of a cinnamon-raisin challah that a local bakery makes. Just a basic egg yeast bread, slow-risen, with fruit. I used candied peel and cherries from the grocery store, and raisins that were rehydrated in orange juice.
Mixed and in my bread-rising-bowl, it looked like this:
I let it rise, then rolled it out into a big square. It was almost too big for my silicone rolling mat:
I rolled it up from the long side, then formed it into a round. I tucked one side inside the other, then "glued" them together with a tiny bit of egg wash.
I snipped around the outside, let it rise one more time, then baked.
Have a close-up:
It was very good. I remember my grandmother’s having more fruit in it, and a glaze on top. Next year, I’ll make my own candied zest, which should make it a bit more citrus-y, and add another kind of fruit besides the raisins and a few candied cherries. And maybe I’ll replace the powdered sugar with a citrus based glaze, with more fruit on top for decoration. But those are all just tweaks – it really was quite good just the way it was.