Last Sunday, we had a lazy one and decided to make a Christmas Stollen, our attempt to get in the Christmas spirit! I say lazy but what I mean is we went nowhere and spent most of the day making this instead!
Stollen is a traditional German bread usually eaten during the Christmas season, early Stollen was very different and the bread has evolved over its history to the Stollen we know now, with dried fruit and spices. I however, have a history in cake disasters so normally it is Mr Rens in the kitchen and it’s just easier to leave him to it. His baking is on point and delicious.
I’ve recently become more interested in baking and my last couple of cakes haven’t been too awful, so maybe his talent has rubbed off on me. Mr Rens has made enriched dough before, this was my first time, so I was excited to understand the process. I learnt it’s one of those things you can leave to do nothing with while you wait for proving, so you can squeeze in some TV time or maybe even a 20/10 cleaning session. Perfect!
What you’ll need:
25g Mixed peel
50g Chopped glacé cherries
50g Flaked almonds
Zest of 2 lemons
10 cardamom pods, unshelled and crushed in pestle and mortar
1/4tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp Vanilla extract
375g Strong white bread flour (plus extra for kneading)
1 sachet of dried yeast
50g golden caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
50g of melted unsalted butter, plus extra for brushing
150ml warm milk
200g natural marzipan
Icing sugar for dusting
In bowl pop the raisins, sultanas mixed peel, cherries, almonds, lemon zest, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Give it a stir and leave it to infuse while you make the dough.
In a separate bowl, put the flour, sugar and yeast. Add the egg, butter and milk, mix the ingredients with your hands to make a dough. Add a bit more milk if you need, if it’s a little too dry. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Pop back into a bowl and cover with cling film leave to rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size. Approx 1hr 15min. Sit back, relax!
Once the dough has doubled in size, pop the dough onto a floured surface and gradually knead the fruit into the dough, don’t worry if some of it falls out just stick it back in until the fruit is evenly distributed through the dough. It can get a little messy, but don’t worry! Once all the fruit has been kneaded in pop back in bowl and cover for 20mins.
Meanwhile, pop some baking paper onto a tray and shape your marzipan into a 30cm long sausage, I mean log, um yeh… pop that to one side.
Once the 20 minutes is up, roll the dough into a 30 cm by 15 cm rectangle. Pop your marzipan sausage/log on top of the dough, off centre. Dampen the wider side of the dough with water and fold over the top of the marzipan. Press down gently either side of the marzipan to secure it. Pop onto the baking paper on the tray and cover with clingfilm in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5. Perfect for a 20/10 clean!
Bake for 20-25 minutes, it should have, fingers crossed, risen and gone a lovely pale golden colour. Ours went quite brown, but wasn’t burnt. Remove from the oven and brush with some more melted butter. Transfer it to a wire cooling rack and I popped the grease proof paper underneath to catch any dripping butter.
Once cool, Mr Rens dusted it liberally with icing sugar and sliced through! Voila!
If you aren’t going to eat it all in one go (like we did), you can store the stollen wrapped in foil in a cool place for 3-4 days, it also freezes pretty well, but freeze before adding the icing sugar. Thaw overnight and add the icing sugar before devouring.
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