Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Stollen - for Avid Bakers Challenge group

Oops - I added the dusting sugar after pictures since wanted to show the loaf after buttering
Baking the Christmas Stollen was an odd experience for me because I did not understand bread baking, had never used a dough hook, kneaded by hand, or learned how to proof. So, although I was very lucky in the result, there are still many questions and solutions for me to find answers to. I have already purchased the ingredients for my next one, however.

The 'sweetener' and the almond paste were easily made about a week ahead of time and they kept well in the fridge. I used caster sugar with Red Mill super-fine Almond Flour from blanched whole almonds for the almond paste with a dash of Rose Water and egg.

My problem arose when I had to make the dough. I used White Lily flour, Dr. Oedker Instant Yeast. Knead the dough? Hmm. I eyed the Kitchen Aid, got out the dough hook and attached it. I didn't even know what speed to put it on. Finally, after starting with speed 2, I moved it up to 3 and then to 4 which I supposed was too high because it was deteriorating into slush. I quickly took it back lower. Finally, I got the dough pushed into a more workable form on the hook, and with my hands and it seemed 'satiny' but sticky, so I took it out using a flat utensil to push it from the sides of the bowl. I formed it into a ball and added the fruit. I knew I was very lucky in this part of it all. 

Love my funny bread tool - $9.98 at Amazon
My electric stove immediately resisted being set for 86 degrees or any low heat at all. Hmm. I quickly turned it off and used the small amount of heat that had begun to form inside. Later, after preheating to 375' for baking, I just sat the bread on top of the stove on a rack with a foil dome for the final proof.
I had soaked golden raisins, currants and a few cranraisin fruit in rum for three days and drained it. Now I added it above. Here it is being proofed in warm oven. 
The real problem probably lay in the fact the dough was too moist or I should have added some flour to it in rolling it out because it became very thin so that when I lay in the log of almond paste the top was really too thin to cover and I had to stretch it. I was very lucky not to have it split. But this is one of the things one knows to look for next time. I had read to be sure the top was not thin, thicker than bottom layer, but I didn't listen. Now I can see how far across Hanaa's loaf goes, and now know where that pressing down must go. I also see that my log of marzipan is huge and hers is not that large in diameter. 
   But the fact remains that it turned out to be beautiful, and the people I shared it with really enjoyed it. Personally, I am liking it and my husband as well. So, the small piece that is left will most likely be gone tonight. Lol!                              

This was actually very thin across the top.



  1. It's beautiful!!! Looks a zillion times better than store bought. Very proud of you for making this!

    1. Thank you so much. You are my best support and I doubt if I would have done it without you.

  2. That looks really nice! Great job!

  3. You did an amazing job, Joan. There's no way anyone would believe you never made yeast bread before. It turned out great!! My first yeast bread could get someone hurt really bad, if you threw it at them. I'm happy you baked along and even happier that you and your guests enjoyed the Christmas Stollen :)

  4. A wonderful bake :) Isn't the dough hook on the kitchen aid great. The rose water sounds like a lovely addition too. ---- Jeniffer