As some of you might have noticed, I’ve been eerily absent from My Luscious Temple ever since our trip to walk the Camino in Spain. Getting home and adjusting back to my regular life in San Francisco took longer than I expected, then there was the travel … two trips to Orlando and one to San Antonio … and a new job. After being self employed and working from home for nine years, I took the plunge back into the life of the regularly employed. I have to say it’s been an amazingly wonderful move that I’m thrilled to have made but I haven’t quite worked out all of the ins and outs of the rest of my life. I mean really – if you work 8 plus hours a day and allow for an hour of commuting, plus actually getting dressed and putting on makeup every day – when do you do the laundry … and what about the grocery shopping? Needless to say, I don’t have it all worked out yet – and as far as blogging on a regular basis, well I’m not even close.
But I did manage to get to the December Daring Bakers Challenge and it was delicious fun!
The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
I made the candied citrus peels myself which came out great and the stollen was fantastic. I left out the glaceed cherries that the original recipe called for (bleech) and substituted dried cranberries and cherries for the raisins. I’m not sure I would change a thing. This will definitely be part of my regular Christmas ritual from now on. Thanks for great challenge Penny!
- 1 cup (total) dried cranberries, cherries, raisins and/or other dried fruit of your choosing
- 3 tablespoons rum
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 cup milk
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 1/2 cups flour (measured, then sifted), plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Zest of one orange and one lemon, grated
- 3/4 cup mixed citrus peel, chopped
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- Melted unsalted butter for coating the loaves
- Powdered sugar for dusting the loaves
Soak the dried fruit in the rum and set aside.
Pour the lukewarm water into a small bowl and sprinkle both packages of yeast. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast.
Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium low until butter is melted. Let it stand off of the heat for about 5 minutes, until the milk is lukewarm.
Lightly beat the eggs in another small bowl and add orange and vanilla extracts.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests together.
Stir in the yeast/water mixture, eggs and milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. The dough should be a soft (but not sticky) ball. When the dough comes together, place a tea towel over the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Knead the soaked dried fruit (with any of the remaining liquid that was not absorbed), the citrus peel and almonds into the dough.
Sprinkle a light dusting of flour on the counter or a pastry cloth. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and begin mixing to distribute the fruit and nuts evenly, adding additional flour if needed. Knead for about 8 minutes or so until the dough all of the ingredients are incorporated and the dough has a nice soft bread-like tacky feel to it.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it around a few times to coat it evenly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight (or up to a week).
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rest for 2 hours.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.
Punch the dough down and cut it into two or three pieces. Roll each piece out into a rectangle then roll them up into a loaf shape.
Place the loaves on the sheet pan and cover them with a tea towel. Proof for about 2 hours or until they are about 1 1/2 times their original size.
After an hour and a half, preheat the over to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for another 20 – 30 minutes. The bread will be a dark mahogany color and will sound hollow when you thump the loaf on the bottom.
Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack with a pan underneath it to catch the drippings. Brush each loaf with melted butter while still hot. Immediately sift lots of powdered sugar over the top of each loaf. You want the loaves to be pretty well covered. Wait for one minute, then sift another thick layer of powdered sugar over the first one.
The resulting stollen is fresh and dense and flavorful and a wonderful addition to the holiday table.