I haven’t participated in the Bread Baking Day – initiated by Zorra from 1x umrühren bitte – for quite a while due to some time constraints, but this month’s topic “Baking under the tree” – hosted by Cinzia from Cindystar - caught my eye and I thought I HAD to participate this time.
I took out my beloved book “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart because I’m participating in the BBA Challenge (which means that we attempt every single recipe in the book – starting at the beginning of the book with Anadama Bread and finishing at the end of the book with Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche). Stollen which is a German Christmas bread is #36 of the challenge, and I just baked #19 recently (Marbled Rye Bread), so this is actually WAY too early for baking Stollen now, but since it’s Christmas time and it’s a Christmas bread I decided to go about it anyway. Besides, nobody in Germany would eat Stollen in May (this is the time when I probably will arrive at #36 in the challenge).
Anyway, to cut a long story short: I decided to bake 2 versions of the stollen: one adult version and one child-friendly version. 3 days before making the stollen I soaked raisins and candied fruit in rum (for the adult version) and raisins, dried apricots and dried cranberries in apple juice (for the child-friendly version).
3 days later I made the dough, divided it into 2 pieces, added the soaked fruit and let it rest for 45 minutes. Then I shaped the stollen using two different methods: I still have to improve my first shaping method because I didn’t really like how the loaf looked like. The second method was pretty easy: shaping a regular loaf, transferring it on baking paper and covering it with a stollen tin. I then surrounded the first loaf with a “fence” made of aluminium foil so the dough wouldn’t spread out to the sides during proofing. I covered the loaf with plastic wrap and let both loaves proof for another hour.
In the oven they went… When they came out I brushed them with butter, dusted them with powdered sugar twice and let them cool overnight. The next morning I wrapped them tightly in aluminium foil and stored them in the garage for 3 days. They are supposed to rest 2 weeks or longer to develop more flavor, but I had started this whole stollen adventure way too late for that. But still, they were really tasty! I’ve hated eating stollen my whole life, but I DID like my 2 versions. By all means, I’ll make it again next year. I’ll start earlier then, though, so it can develop more flavor. And maybe I’ll have improved my shaping skills by then ;-).