“As this is the December challenge I thought we should try baking something festive. It’s tradition in our house to bake a stollen for Christmas and this year is no exception. The shape of stollen is meant to represent Jesus swaddled in a blanket.”
Well I love Stollen so thought I would have a go at this, I’d not managed to do the last two challenges and I was delighted when I also noticed in another book that you could freeze Stollen.
The recipe made two large loaves and was very easy to make, I mixed it in my bread machine on the dough setting then baked in the oven in the traditional way.
What I really liked about it was that it is not too sweet in the way bought Stollen can be, it is more like a semi-sweet fruit bread. It was delicious as it is but my favourite way to eat it is toasted with butter or apricot preserve. We have been eating it for breakfast over Christmas and everyone who tried it was very complimentary.
based on a Simon Rimmer recipe
100ml/3½fl oz warm milk
6g (1 sachet) fast action yeast or 2 tsp dried yeast or 20g fresh yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground mixed spice
200g/7oz mixed dried fruit (including glacé cherries)
25g/1oz flaked almonds
50g/2oz unsalted butter
1 free-range egg, beaten
25g/1oz butter, melted
50g/2oz icing sugar
1. Place the milk and yeast into a bowl and mix well. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sift the salt, sugar, flour and mixed spice into a large bowl. Add the dried fruit, almonds and butter and mix well then stir in the yeasty milk and mix well.
3. Add the egg and stir to form a dough. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, then cover and leave to prove for 20 minutes. Uncover the dough and turn out onto a clean, floured work surface. Knock the dough back to reduce the volume, then knead the dough for 3-4 minutes.
4. Push the dough out by hand into a flat oval shape about 23cm x 18cm/9in x 7in. Roll the marzipan into a sausage shape about 6cm/2in shorter than the dough. Place the marzipan into the centre of the dough, then fold over the sides of the dough to seal in the marzipan. Then fold in the ends of the dough to contain the marzipan and help give the dough shape. Place the stollen seal-side down onto a greased baking tray. Cover and place somewhere warm to prove for one hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 180C/365F/Gas 4. Place the stollen on the baking tray into the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through.
6. To finish, remove the stollen from the oven, brush with the rum then melted butter and dust liberally with icing sugar immediately. Allow the stollen to cool, then serve in slices.