Stollen is one of the most famous of the German christmas breads. It is made in the autumn and put down to rest for several weeks before you start eating is at first advent. Stollen will last for months, like English Christmas cake as it is well preserved by all the high proof rum. It does not taste rummy at all, the alcohol is merely a preservative.
- 800 g Raisins
- 250 g Slivered or ground almonds
- 100 g Candied peel
- 250 ml Rum (80 proof)
The "pre dough"
- 5 g instant yeast or 10 g dry yeast or 20 g fresh yeast
- 250 ml milk heated to just below boiling point and let cool completely
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 200 g White wheat plain flour
The "main dough"
- 800 g White wheat plain flour
- 150 g Sugar
- 250 g Butter
- 100 g Lard you can substitute butter if you prefer
- 20 g Salt
- 1 Lemon Grated zest only
- 250 g melted butter
- 4 tbsp vanilla sugar make this by putting a vanilla pod into a container of sugar a week before you want to bake
- 8 tbsp icing sugar
- Make the soaker and let it sit, covered on the counter for 12-24 hours.
- After the soaking time has elapsed, make the pre-dough a big bowl by whisking together the pre-dough ingredients.
- Let this sit, covered for an hour until it has puffed up considerably.
- Add the rest of the flour, sugar, fat and salt and lemon zest.
- Knead well for 10 minutes by hand or by machine on the lowest setting, and let rest for 30 minutes, covered.
- Pull it out of the bowl and add in the soaked fruit and nut mix by squishing, folding, kneading, pleading, begging, picking it off the floor, and "chopping" it in gently with a dough scraper. You have been warned. Make sure your floor is clean. Let it rest for two hours, covered. It will not exactly rise, there is too much fruit for that, but it will become a bit puffier.
- Pull the dough out onto a counter that is not floured and, using a knife or scraper, divide it into four equal pieces. Pat each piece into a square about 2 cm thick. At this point, if you are adding marzipan, shape it into a sausage and lay it down the middle of each square. Fold the right-hand edge of the dough square into the middle (and over the marzipan if you have added it) and then fold the left-hand edge all the way over the dough to the right-hand edge. Like folding a piece of A4 paper (81/2 by 11") for an envelope.
- Place each loaf on separate rectangles of non stick baking parchment that are at least twice as wide as the loaves themselves. Place them all on a baking tray, separating them with the sides of the parchment. This is very important as you will need to move the loaves around once they are baked but because they are so fragile, you need to have each one on its own piece of parchment that you will use to pick them up. Cover the loaves with a tea towel and let the loaves rest while you heat the oven to 250 C. Put in stollen and immediately reduce the heat to 180 C. Bake for 50 minutes. Check after 40 minutes and cover them with another sheet of baking parchment to prevent the raisins from burning.
- Remove from oven and place each loaf carefully on a cooling rack. Brush them with 125 g melted butter. Sprinkle each one with one tablespoon of vanilla sugar. Sift 1 tablespoon of icing sugar over each one then dribble on 125 g more butter. Let cool completely and then sift more icing sugar over the top.
- Wrap well in the greaseproof paper and then wrap tightly in aluminium foil. Store in a cool dry place for at least 6 weeks before eating.