Traditional German Stollen

IMG_7186Surprisingly, imported Stollen from Germany is readily available in Seattle. Yes, a lot of folks have roots in Germany or have spent time there with the US armed forces; but I didn’t expect that Stollen would make the jump across the Atlantic. It does lend itself well to export though, since a true Stollen improves with age and is best served several weeks after baking.

In this household, of course, commercially baked Stollen – imported or otherwise – is simply unacceptable. Keeping in mind that a Stollen will need to age a couple of weeks, Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to make it. In fact it’s almost too late: the first advent is on December 2nd, which is next weekend!

Traditional Stollen with Whole Grain Flour

This recipe is based on my mother’s Stollen – I cannot remember a Christmas that we did not enjoy this delicious sweetbread. She would wrap the Stollen in aluminum foil and place them on top of a wardrobe in a cool room to age. The arrival of these shiny packages was observed with much excitement by us children, a sure sign that the Christmas season was nigh.

I have modified the recipe a bit to suit my preferences: replacing suet (which, I must admit, does yield a superior texture) with butter, and some of the white flour with whole grain. The addition of pecans is also a nod to the New World.

Starter

  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 300 g whole wheat flour
  • 300 ml milk
  • Allow to ferment at least 6h or overnight.

Preparation

  • Starter
  • 400 g butter at room temperature
  • IMG_7052500 g whole wheat flour
  • 200 g refined wheat flour
  • 10 g salt
  • 300 g sugar
  • 150 g almonds, chopped
  • 100 g pecans, chopped
  • 100 g candied citron, chopped
  • 50 g candied orange zest, chopped
  • IMG_7057150 g raisins
  • 150 g sultanas
  • 80 ml brandy
  • 100 g dried sweet cherries, chopped
  • zest of an orange
  • zest of a lemon
  • spice mix to taste: vanilla, crushed cloves, crushed cardamom, crushed allspice, bitter almond oil
  • milk as necessary

IMG_7058A day in advance, soak the raisins and sultanas in the brandy.

Add flour, salt, sugar, and spice mix to the starter. Mix to a soft dough, adding milk as necessary. Add the butter and keep kneading until it is shiny and there is a good development of gluten. By hand, carefully fold in the remaining ingredients.

Proof until risen about 30%. This may take 4 hours or more. Fold, and proof for another 2 hours. Divide and shape: the traditional shape is a flattened loaf that has been folded over on itself. This is achieved by using a rolling pin to indent the loaf at about 1/3rd of its width and then folding over the smaller section.

Allow about 1 hour for the final proof. Bake at 380-400F for about 1 hour.

IMG_7059Immediately brush with melted butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Allow to cool, then wrap in aluminum foil and store for at least 2 weeks in a cool room. To serve, sprinkle once more with powdered sugar and slice very thinly.

YeastSpotting submission #6

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