The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
The Recipe: I altered the flavors and mix-ins. I used 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of cardamom, 1/2 tsp of allspice, and a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg. I kept the vanilla and orange extracts. For mix-ins I used slivered almonds, candied ginger, and Craisins, and I mixed them in differently.
- Mix yeast and water, wait five minutes.
- Add other wet ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients.
- Add dried fruit and nuts. (I didn’t yet.)
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Let come to room temperature for 2 hours.
- Roll into a big rectangle. (Mine didn’t make it to 16×24 in. Also, I learned that rolling gluten-full dough on top of wax paper doesn’t work, because it shrinks and pulls the paper with it into lots of crinkles. It worked so much better on a clean bare countertop.)
- My way of mixing in: Put mix-ins on top of rectangle and then run a rolling pin over them.
- Roll dough like a jellyroll, starting from one of the shorter sides so you end up with a long log.
- Bring the ends of the log together, and fit one into the other. Shape into a nice circle.
- Slash the outsides of the circle every 2 inches or so.
- Let rise for 2 hours.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350F, rotating pan halfway through, until bread is 190F.
- Brush melted butter on top.
- Sift powdered sugar on top.
My method of mixing stuff in was probably nicer to my hands and the gluten since there weren’t slivers of almond involved in the kneading. But I did seem to underestimate how much to use. I guess the bread rose enough that the amount of mix-ins got diluted. It was good, though, and the flavors were not at all overpowering. In fact, I wish I had tasted more cardamom. But it was a really fun challenge, to make something so seasonal and have it come out looking like it should. Happy holidays!