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Author Notes: I don't know how I wound up as the one who inherited stollen making from my great-grandmother--it seems to have skipped a couple of generations--but that's what happened.
I've tweaked the original recipe a bit; lemon zest is traditional but I prefer orange, and I like golden raisins better than dark ones, so they're what I use. Nothing wrong with adding a bit of your own tradition, I think.
Note that while you can make this by hand, a stand mixer is strongly recommended unless you have the arms of Hercules. And while regular instant yeast works in this recipe, SAF Gold, or another yeast that's formulated for high-sugar doughs, makes a huge (and positive) difference both in rising time and the texture of the finished product. You can buy it online. —gorboduc
Makes 3 2 lb loaves
For the Bread
- 3/4 pound golden raisins
- 1 cup diced candied orange peel
- 1 cup diced candied citron
- 8 ounces slivered almonds
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 3/4 pound unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- zest of 1 orange
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons SAF Gold yeast, or 2 tbsp + 2 tsp instant yeast
- 5 1/2 - 6 cups All Purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 pound butter
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the raisins, candied fruit, almonds, and rum. Toss to combine and set aside, covered, for at least 12 hrs.
- Add the yeast, milk, butter, sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, grated orange zest, and 2 1/2 cups of flour to the bowl of a stand mixer that's fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until everything comes together in a smooth batter--2-3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl loosely with a towel, and let stand for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes is up, switch the paddle attachment to the dough hook, add the salt and enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes on a low speed, until the dough is satiny smooth, elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding more flour by the tbsp as needed.
- Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled--90 minutes or so if you're using the SAF Gold yeast, 2 - 3 hrs otherwise.
- Punch down the dough and knead in the raisins, candied fruits, almonds, and whatever rum is left in the bottom of the fruit bowl.
- Divide the dough into three equal pieces, and shape each piece into an oval loaf. Set the loaves on large greased cookie sheets (or line the sheets with parchment), cover with plastic, and set in a warm draft-free place to rise until doubled, about an hour.
- When the loaves are nearly risen, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Bake the loaves for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs, until golden brown and baked through. Keep an eye on it. If, at the 1 hr mark, it is already well-browned, turn the oven down 25 degrees. Very light gold at that point means the oven temp is probably good as is. You're shooting for an internal temp of 190 degrees. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure, otherwise it's nearly impossible to know whether the stollen is completely cooked in the center.
- Cool the stollen on a rack. As it's cooling, prepare the sugar topping.
- Set up your stollen-topping station by lining a large sheet pan with a sheet of parchment and setting a cooling rack inside the sheet pan. Carefully move the stollen to the topping station--this keeps the mess to a minimum.
- Mix the brown sugar and confectioner's sugar until thoroughly combined.
- Melt the butter, and brush the stollens generously with it. The stollens should still be a bit warm when you do this, but don't do it straight out of the oven--the bread is too delicate and the loaves will break.
- Use a sieve to sift the sugars in a generous coating all over the buttered stollen.
- Let the stollen cool completely, then wrap tightly for storage. I vacuum seal mine, stopping the sealer just before it sucks all the air out of the storage bag and crushes the bread. They freeze well if carefully wrapped--just let them thaw overnight before you eat them.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for The Recipe You're Most Proud Of
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Edible Gift
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Family Recipe