Ok folks, my posting is less-than prolific of late, but there’s one I’ve got to do here – I have to preserve my favourite stollen recipe for posterity.
Stollen, for the uninitiated, is a German Christmas bread. It’s got loads of fruit and nuts in usually, and most noticeably, a thick seam of marzipan running through the middle. Recipes vary, people stick their own favourite things in, but I like it traditional.
The recipe I make every year is one I found online about 8-10 years ago. Hopefully the link won’t die, but here it is - http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/7/christmas-stollen.aspx
I got this recipe while I was Head Baker at the Dorchester. It’s packed with dried fruit and filled with a marzipan surprise. It makes a perfect foodie gift at Christmas
- 2 teaspoons dried active baking yeast
- 175ml (6 fl oz) warm milk (45 C)
- 1 large egg
- 75g (3 oz) caster sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 75g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 350g (12 oz) bread flour
- 50g (2 oz) currants
- 50g (2 oz) sultanas
- 50g (2 oz) red glace cherries, quartered
- 175g (6 oz) diced mixed citrus peel
- 200g (7 oz) marzipan
- 1 heaped teaspoon icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- toasted flaked almonds for sprinkling on top
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, caster sugar, salt, butter, and 3/4 of the bread flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the currants, sultanas, dried cherries and mixed peel. Continue kneading until smooth, about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Lightly grease a baking tray. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the marzipan into a rope and place it in the centre of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal.
- Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking tray. Cover with a clean, damp tea-towel and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 150 C / Gas mark 2 and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow loaf to cool on a wire cooling rack. Dust the cooled loaf with icing sugar, sprinkle with cinnamon and finish with toasted flaked almonds.
The only change I make to the recipe is with the marzipan. Don’t go for the cheap stuff, get really good almond paste. If you find that the marzipan is tough, it won’t stick to the loaf and just kind of falls out when you cut a slice. A tip I got from a chef is to knead in an egg yolk to the marzipan, which makes it softer and binds to the bread better.
There’s nothing better than a slice with a cup of tea (or a glass of port) with the Christmas lights on and something good on the TV in the evening.