Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Time Stollen... Thanks Martha!

This Martha Stewart recipe is one I've wanted to try for a while. It yields four big loaves and, as I discovered today, is pretty straightforward. The result is a delicious yeast-raised German Christmas cake, moisty, fruity, and not too sweet.

11 cups sifted all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
2 cups warmed milk
¾ pounds unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 ounces dry yeast, or 2 ounces cake yeast; dissolved in ½ cup warm water
6 large, lightly beaten eggs
2¼ cups currants, soaked in ½ cup cognac
2½ cups golden raisins, soaked in ½ cup orange juice
peel of 4 oranges, diced
rind of 2 lemons, grated
½ pounds citron, diced
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
2½ cup blanched almonds, chopped
confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Sift together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk and 3/4 pounds butter. Add the dissolved yeast and eggs. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until fairly smooth. Mix together in a bowl the currants and raisins in their liquid, peel, rind, citron, apricots, and almonds, and then work them into the dough. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky, knead in more flour, but be careful not to overwork. Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough and cut in to four equal amounts. Roll each piece into a 12" x 8" rectangle. Brush with the melted butter, then fold one long side to the center. Fold the other long side over the first, overlapping it by 1 inch. Turn the dough over, taper the ends, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise again in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the stollen for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a rack and dust with confectioners' sugar.

1. I have loose dry yeast in a jar, so I discovered that a one-ounce packet of dried yeast is 2-1/4 teaspoons. That's what I read online and it worked.

2. I forgot to get fresh nutmeg so I just used ground. I assumed all the butter was to be melted and that worked fine too... you need that 3/4 pound melted butter as liquid for the dough.

3. Orange peel versus lemon rind threw me. So I just used my microplaner to get the zest of all the oranges and lemons, and, again, this worked just fine.

4. I haven't dusted them with confectioner's sugar yet, and I'll only do so with the ones I'm giving away as I like the cake just fine without, not having a very sweet tooth.

5. The mixing in of currants, etc. into the dough was hard work and I did it all with my hands, not having a dough hook, let alone a stand mixer, and, guess what, no probs. My hands are tired, but it feels very satisfying.

6. I went out to a Christmas dinner after the first dough raising, but it didn't seem to affect the second raising that I left it so long.

7. I'll be doing this again next year!

Shopping was half the fun.

The dough after kneading. I'd worried I'd overworked it slightly, but I was okay.

The soaked fruit and nuts.

After a raising, I punched the dough down and shaped into loaves for a second raising. Then I went out to dinner.

The second raising worked a treat and here are the baked stollens.


Betsy said...

Oh, it's absolutely beautiful! I can smell it getting golden in the toaster and waiting for that slather of butter...mmmmm.

Blog Princess G said...

That's a great suggestion Betsy! I wish I could teleport one to you. :)