Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

endless experiments with small things that bring joy to life

My Stollen Adventure: The Making

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This post has been sitting on the dashboard since 2014, and for some reason, I never got around to edit and publish it.  It might sound odd but it has become my little tradition to make a Stollen from scratch for the past three years, and I am glad to report that the bread has improved as the time lapses.  Since I have many fond memories associated with this bread, it is only fitting that I contemplate on which dried fruit to put in each year.  Traditionally, Stollen contains currants and raisins, but knowing me, a rule breaker, I often make substitutions.  Here are the fruits and nuts for my 2015 Stollen:

  • In lieu of black raisins (usually Thompson), I opted for green raisins
  • Zante currants (raisins made with seedless Black Corinth grapes) instead of currants
  • Candied citrus peels consisted of pomelo, Meyer lemons, and satsuma from my coworker’s backyard
  • As for nuts, I stayed with classic almond

I started making the dough Friday after Thanksgiving, and for some reason, the dough was very cooperative to the extent of “happy.”  Once all the fruits and nuts were incorporated, the aroma became more apparent.  One thing I did differently was not to overfill the Stollen hood (yes, there is a special mold for Stollen for it to achieve its nearly triangular shape), so I wound up with four instead of two Stollen.

The Stollen dough is extremely sticky.  While kneading it, I felt as if my hands were just swimming in a puddle of goo.  Because it is a rich bread with a high percentage of butter, the dough requires good kneading before it starts to shape.

Stollen in the making

The dough becomes even stickier after adding the zest, fruits, and nuts, thanks to the sugar and moisture.  At this stage, the Stollen will maintain its amorphous state but keep kneading, it does make a big difference.

Stollen dough

The bread was wrapped in foil and parchment paper, and sealed for three and a half weeks, and by the time the “unveiling” of the Stollen took place, there was a faint whiff of fermentation from the fruit, which reminded me of rum-soaked sweets.  The layers of butter and powder sugar preserve the bread and maintain its moisture.

stollen sans sugar

sugar iced stollen

What will I do differently in Stollen 2016?  I might be adventurous enough to incorporate marzipan.  Stay tuned!

Until next time…

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