I think I am getting the shape right finally. This, like last year’s, is actually Dan Lepard’s ‘extra moist stollen’, which is made with pre-gelatinized rye flour. A modern interpretation of an old classic. Lovely.
Will do another Stollen from a German baking book for Christmas.
Treffen sich zwei Rosinen. Die eine hat ein kleines Lämpchen auf dem Kopf.
“Wieso hast Du da ein Licht auf dem Kopf?”, fragt die andere.
“Ich muss gleich noch in den Stollen.”
(Punch line of this Witz doesn’t quite work in English. Sorry.)
Venturing into unknown terrain is my daily business when it comes to making bread (cough cough), but conquering the yeast bastion of Stollen land with a sourdough starter in the backpack, is something I deemed a bit over my head. Mick Hartley, the busy baker from Bethesda who also shares his knowledge of sourdough baking at the forum on Dan Lepard’s site, made it easy by giving the panicing home-baker a cool rundown of the whole thing (see below).
As Quark I used a low-fat one to get maximum activity from the starter. I did add a little milk to the final dough because the dough was a bit dry (the raisins soaked up a lot of the soaking liquid). The fermentation was sluggish at first but gained speed quickly. After 3 hours it looked well-aerated. I decided to shape it, prove and bake.
As you can see the resulting loaf displays a great crumb and very controlled oven spring. The flavor, although not sour, is more mature and satisfying than in a yeasted Stollen, not too sweet, so there is room for additional butter and sugar or jam on the sliced Stollen. Or call it a Stollen for adults, who like theirs with a glass of Port next to the fireplace. Now that’s a plan.
Here’s the recipe how it left Mick’s keyboard:
The only sensible way to make stollen is to make at least four because they vanish, but here are the quantities for one large loaf.
Interesting little starter:
Strong White Flour 85g
Make this the night before as well as the following soaker:
Candied Peel 36g
Dark Rum 51g
Orange Juice 54g
Next day, the dough:
Strong White Flour 267g – 100%
Butter 120g – 45%
Starter 316g – 118.5%
Salt 2g – 0.7%
Sugar 12g – 4.5%
Soaker 220 – 82.4%
The soaker is the fruit plus its liquid.
Rub the butter into the flour or just whack the two ingredients in the food processor.
The original recipe has you adding the fruit to the dough after bulk fermentation but I have been adding it towards the end of the mix without any problem.
After about four hours bulk fermentation press the dough out into a long oval about twice as long as it is wide. Then, the pukka thing to do is to form a hinge by making two parallel grooves along the centre of the length of the dough with something like a piece of dowel (I used the edge of a chopping board) and then to fold the dough in half (lengthways).
Probably another four hours prove.
Bake for about an hour at 180C. Brush with melted butter. Blizzard with icing sugar when cooler.
It is cleverly made with a cooked flour-water porridge which increases moistness of the crumb. Mine looks a bit like brown bread although the amount of whole-wheat flour used is minimal. Maybe the spices? The flavor bears a deep impression of the fragrant mace, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. It has a warm appeal and is perfect for a quick breakfast with a big cup’o tea in the morning just before leaving the house. Excellent!
I will make this again as soon as this one’s finished and will reduce spices a little to see how the flavor changes. I am a big fan of a clean buttery finish. The scale in the bath room confirmed it.
Update: The second one was even better. Strangely, this time it did not rise at all at any time, but had a great consistency after the bake. Very firm and moist, like a proper Stollen should be. Going to make another Stollen before the year ends – Mick Hartley’s Quarkstollen – a sourdough version of this popular fruit bread.
In a perfect world I would go to the baker (or butcher, fishmonger etc.) without a doubt that he or she made sure that the products are entirely satisfactory in every aspect. But a glitch in the matrix apparently made the world semi-perfect. It needs heavy improvement upon. That is how I got to bake my own bread. But the goal of my bread-baking is not to be become self-sufficient. I like bakeries, and I like buying baked goods.
I remember loving my Lieken Urkorn bread with cheese or salami, as a child. The Stollen I bought today was not a good match for my warm memories of their bread.
Brand: Lieken Urkorn
Loaf weight: 275g
Price paid: 1,99 Euros
Sugar coating: Heavy
Butter flavor: Undetectable
Sweetness: Moderate – high
Quality of the raisins: Average
Crumb quality: Soft, dense, with a dry finish
Additional flavorings, spices: None detected
Rating: 5 out of 10
Comments: Gummy mouth feeling similar to that of baked goods made with high quantities of baking powder. Will not buy again.
…and the Stollen baking spree continues. This recipe is from a German cookbook from the 50s – “Das elektrische Kochen” (The electric cooking). It is the Stollen that is closest to what we ate as kids around Christmas time. Interesting to see that there are differences to the “Extra moist stollen” by Dan Lepard, namely:
- About 10% more butter
- No powdered spices
- No eggs
- Plain white flour instead of strong white flour
- Typically without marzipan (I’ve used it here)
The recipe for “Dresdener Stolle” (‘Stolle’ being a femalized version of the male word ‘Stollen’) makes for a slightly firmer but finer crumb. Packed in paper the Stollen is usually stored for 3-4 weeks in a cool and not too dry place before it is eaten at the coffee toble at 24th December.
The instructions in the book do seem a little antique and compared to modern baking texts, they sound a bit long-winded. For example at the beginning the reader is advised to “prepare a yeast dough with method No. x on page y” making a well in the center of the flour and letting the yeast rise with a little liquid. The method is a good one. I modified it a bit and made a quick ‘Hefestück’ (known as ‘biga’ in Italy, ‘sponge’ in the UK, ”Dampferl’ in Southern parts of Germany and ‘Hebel’ in Switzerland).
Dresdner Stolle (2)
- 700g plain flour (Type 405)
- 300g butter
- 250g raisins
- 150g-200g warm milk
- 105g caster sugar
- 80g mixed candied fruit and peel
- 50g almonds, chopped
- 40g bitter almonds, chopped (or 40g chopped regular almonds)
- 41g fresh yeast
- 7g salt
- 25g rum (optional, for soaking)
- 250g marzipan (optional, for the filling)
- 150g powdered sugar for coating
- 150g butter for coating
- 50g caster sugar for coating
You can soak the fruits and the almonds in rum overnight as an option.
For the dough, make the sponge first: Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in 100g of the milk. Crumble the yeast into it and work in flour, so that you get a firm ball. Sprinkle flour over the ball, cover the bowl and let stand for about 15 minutes. The sponge is ready when there are cracks in the flour surface.
Next, add all the other ingredients except the fruit, peel or almonds. Knead until you get a smooth dough, which should be firmer than bread dough. If it is still crumbly, add more milk. Then add the raisins, fruit, peel and almonds and continue kneading carefully. Don’t work it too long as it will toughen it too much and will taint the dough from the juices of the raisins. Let it rise for 60 minutes or until the dough has slighly expanded. Due to the amount of butter the dough will have almost no elasiticity.
Divide dough into two pieces and roll each piece into ovals. Let rest for 5 minutes. If using the marzipan, roll it into a sausage and cut into two sausages. Shape the Stollen by rolling it into a long shapes, then flatten with the palm of your hand. Make an indentation lengthwise where the marzipan is placed. Fold the dough over the marzipan inlays. Then shape into bâtard-shape again and make another indentation lengthwise and fold the dough over that again. Proof seam side down in baskets or lightly floured towels for about 30-45 minutes.
Bake for about 45 minutes at 180°C. Remove the burnt raisins from the top of the loaf. While still hot, dust with caster sugar. Let cool until slightly warm. Then brush on the melted butter and dust heavily with powdered sugar. Pack tightly and store in a cool place for up to 8 weeks.