Stollen
Stollen
If you ever walk into an East Asian American’s kitchen, chances are the oven is used for storing pots and pans because baking and roasting are just not part of our culinary traditions. I too was guilty of using my oven as storage for many years until I discovered my love for baking two years ago. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than eating freshly baked bread made from scratch and it was all that more exciting when I baked my very own German stollen bread.

I’ve always been somewhat prejudiced against fruit cakes. That ultra-sweet candied dried fruit just isn’t my cup of tea. Much like the Moon cakes we have during the Moon Festival in Taiwan, not many people seem to really like it. But it’s a tradition, so we have it every year. But I felt completely different after that first bite of stollen bread. The perfectly sweetened dried fruit with a hint of rum fragrance was one of the most delicious fruit cakes I’ve ever had. I was determined to replicate the bread so I didn’t have to wait for Christmas time to have some. And most of all, they are a pretty pricy loaf of bread if you can even find them at your local bakery!

I have to admit, it took more than a few boxes of dried fruit and half a bottle of rum wasted before I was able to nail it. I’ve always said that the Germans make the best pastries; they take it very seriously, and they never fully reveal their secrets, which makes it that much harder to find decent German pastry recipes online.

And certainly my own recipe is far from the traditional stollen, which is very dense as it is cured and soaked in rum for two weeks. The recipe I’ve developed is fluffier and more like a brioche rather than a pound cake. It not only makes a great dessert, but will also make a great French toast for breakfast the next day!

Ingredients:

(Makes two loaves)
4 cups All-Purpose flour
12 cup almond meal
13 cup sugar
1 cup lukewarm whole milk
1 stick room temperature butter
214 tsp. instant dried yeast
1 egg
14 cup candied orange
34 cup golden raisins and currents, mixed
12 cup sliced almonds
14 tsp. nutmeg
18 tsp. cardamom
12 cup spiced rum
12 cup Confectioners sugar
6 to 8 oz. marzipan (optional)

Directions:

Start by soaking the golden raisins and currents in 14 cup spiced rum overnight (photo 1).

To make the dough, start by mixing together the flour, yeast and almond meal. Add in the lukewarm whole milk and egg, kneed until all is combined. Now add in the room temperature butter and the pre-soaked dried fruit along with all the soaking liquid. Kneed for three minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Lastly, add in the sliced almonds and candied orange, kneed until all is combined (photo 2).

Cover it up and let it rise in a draft-free warm spot for an hour until the dough has doubled in size (photo 3).

On a floured surface, cut the dough in half and roll each piece out to about half an inch thick. If you so desire, place a log of marzipan in the center of the dough. The marzipan log is supposed to symbolize baby Jesus wrapped up in the blanket (photo 4).

Fold the dough in half, leaving just a little edge in the bottom, and use a 11 x 17" pan lined with parchment paper. Press the dough gently with a rolling pin to seal it. Cover it up and let it rise for another hour (photo 5 & 6).

Once the bread has almost doubled in size, bake it in a pre-heated 325 F oven for 45 minutes. If the top of the bread is browning too early, cover the top up with foil and continue to bake. To test if the bread is baked through, tap the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow, that means it’s ready (photo 7).

While the bread is still warm, brush it generously with the remaining 14 cup rum (photo 8).

Dust it well with icing sugar and wrap the bread with plastic wrap. Let it cure over-night to infuse all the flavors.

The next day you will have the most delicious bread that will surely impress your friends and family.

For more recipes, visit wwww.thewayriceshouldbe.blogspot.com.