Christmas season was coming again, and this year I decided to prepare a Stollen, the typical German sweet for these feasts 🙂
It is a fruit bread that originated in Dresden, and it has a long history, and like most of the recipes with long history it has changed during the years. At the beginning it was much more simple, being made only with flour, oats and water.
From Wikipedia: “The definition “Dresdner Stollen” appeared for the first time in a document of 1474. In those years the Advent season was a time of fasting, and bakers were not allowed to use butter, only oil, and the cake was tasteless and hard. In the 15th century, in medieval Saxony, the Prince Elector Ernst and his brother Duke Albrecht decided to remedy this by writing to the Pope in Rome. The Saxon bakers needed to use butter, as oil in Saxony was expensive, hard to come by, and had to be made from turnips, but the Pope denied the first appeal. Five popes died before finally, in 1490, Pope Innocent VIII sent a letter, known as the “Butter-Letter”, to the Prince. This granted the use of butter (without having to pay a fine), but only for the Prince-Elector and his family and household. Others were also permitted to use butter, but on the condition of having to pay annually a tax. The ban on butter was removed when Saxony became Protestant. Over the centuries, the bread changed from being a simple, fairly tasteless “bread” to a sweeter bread with richer ingredients, such as marzipan, although traditional Stollen is not as sweet, light and airy as the copies made around the world.”
I have to say that my favorite Christmas sweet will remain always a good artisanal panettone 😀 but I knew that also a well prepared Stollen could be very good too. But that’s the problem: most of the Stollen available in the stores, and not rarely also artisanal products in the pastry shops, are made with palm oil and other cheap fats that for sure have nothing to share with the traditional recipes. And I also didn’t want Stollen which are too much sweet or too dry. So, since from here I can’t easily manage to buy a good one, this year I decided to do it by my own, and let me say that the result was very satisfying 🙂
Let’s see the recipe.
INGREDIENTS (for a big stollen, or 2 smaller):
For the dough:
- 500 g flour (I used 300 g of organic Manitoba flour and 200 g of organic stone ground Einkorn flour)
- 270 g butter (very soft, take it out from the fridge some hours earlier)
- 80 g sugar
- 150 ml milk
- 30 g fresh baker’s yeast
- 8 g salt
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of mace
For the filling:
- 300 g raisins
- 100 g candied orange peels
- 100 g almonds
- 80 ml rum
- the zest of 1 lemon, untreated
- 2 cloves
- 100 g butter (I melted it over a bain-marie)
- powdered sugar
- First we have to prepare the filling: take a bowl, add the raisins, the candied orange peels cut into pieces, the broken almonds and the lemon zest, and mix with the rum. Then reduce the cloves in powder (with mortar and pestle is perfect) and mix it to the ingredients. Cover with a plastic wrap and leave it for about 1 day.
- the day after prepare the dough. First mix the yeast with slightly warm milk (about 30 °C), then sift the flour, add the sugar, the butter, and the milk with the yeast, and start to work it. When the dough is almost shaped add the salt and the cinnamon, and also the mace if you would like it.
- When the dough is well done (about 7-8 minutes), add all the fruits of the filling, and mix them well with the dough by using your hands. Then shape it into a ball, place it inside a bowl, cover it and let it grow for about 2-3 hours until it doubles, in a warmer place (like in the oven with the light switched on for example).
- After this time flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, then bend one side over 3/4 of the surface, and shape it like in the photos, cover with a wrap and let it rest for another 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile switch on the oven at 180 °C, fan-assisted mode (I baked it over a fire-stone).
- Place the stollen in the oven and bake it for 50-60 minutes (or about 45 minutes if you make 2 smaller Stollen). If it gets too dark place an aluminium foil over it.
- When it’s ready take it out and start immediately to brush it with the melted butter, then sprinkle it completely with powdered sugar, and then repeat again the same, until you use all the butter. The last layer has to be with powdered sugar. Then let it cool down completely.
- When it’s cooled down, I suggest to place the stollen over a cardboard (I covered it with aluminium foil) to avoid the possibility to break it while lifting it. Then I carefully covered it completely with other aluminium foil, and sealed it. Some sources suggest to let it rest 3-4 weeks before eating it, but in my opinion 1-2 weeks (in the coolest room of your home) are enough 🙂
Flour: organic “Manitoba flour” W360 and stone ground organic Enkir/Einkorn flour from Mulino Marino