I’ll be honest, I’ve never even tasted stollen before much less made it. I knew this particular baked good would be a bit of a challenge as I haven’t had a lot of experience with bread making. Unlike everyone else in 2020, I spent my time making unhealthy treats like cupcakes instead of bread!
While I was researching recipes for my 12 day Christmas baking challenge I found several for stollen but ended up using the one from Daring Gourmet because they made everything from scratch (candied fruit peel & marzipan); plus, they give a lot of fun history on stollen as well. Let me start by saying this recipe is very straightforward but it’s quite time consuming and you just need to pay attention to each step.
I’ll start with my experience with the candied fruit peel. I’ve definitely never done something like this before so this was all new. First, I found it was easier to use a vegetable peeler to peel the fruit rather than take all of the rind off and then cut out the white, but that was just me. This seemed fairly easy and the whole process was fairly simple until the last 10 minutes of the syrup stage. I walked over to the stove top and somewhere my gut told me it was ready (we don’t have a candy thermometer unfortunately so I had to guess), but I decided to let it go another 5-10 minutes. Within 5 minutes it had moved from soft ball stage to full on hard candy stage. I knew when I laid them on the tray last night after dipping in sugar they weren’t going to be good. So we tossed those this morning and ran to the store to find store bought fruit peel.
The marzipan was a lot easier! This is another ingredient I have tasted maybe once, so lot’s of new things for this particular recipe. The only change I made to the recipe was to omit the rose water, as we don’t keep that on hand and I know rose water can be very overpowering so we just skipped it. This was by far the easiest part of the entire stollen recipe process!
Putting the ingredients together for the dough was a cinch and being able to knead the dough in my mixer is always a plus so the first bit of the actual dough process wasn’t difficult. I put the dough in a glass container and in a warmed (but not on) oven to rise. This is where I get a little nervous as I always expect to come back in to find it hasn’t risen. However, after an hour it had in fact doubled in size so I was excited about that and it gave me confidence to keep going.
Once it’s risen for an hour, then you put the nut/dried fruit mixture in and knead some more; then you let it rise again. Seriously, this recipe isn’t necessarily difficult it’s just time consuming. After about 50 minutes it had risen some more and it was time to go into the oven! I found that it took longer than the recipe mentioned to bake, but it was super helpful to know what temperature the bread should be at so I just kept testing after about 35 minutes to see if it reached 90 degrees.
I was pretty excited when I pulled it out of the oven as I felt like this was really coming together and I’ll be honest; I wasn’t sure this would look anything like it was supposed to! I poked the holes in the bread and then gladly pour a half stick of melted butter on the bread and then covered it in powdered sugar.
The final step: taste testing. I don’t use dried fruit a lot and seriously expected that I wouldn’t really like this but I was surprised at how good it tasted! I actually really enjoyed this and would make it again, especially during the holidays!
Recipe Used: Daring Gourmet