Happy Christmas to my readers! I hope you are having a great Christmas holiday. For my Perfecting Patisserie entry for this month, I decided to make Stollen. Stollen is of course a Christmas fruited bread filled with marzipan and dusted with icing sugar, typical of Germany. Apparently not all Stollen recipes contain marzipan but the inclusion of marzipan I think makes it more like a Christmas bread with many of the flavours and ingredients of a Christmas cake, in a different form of course.
When I was studying in Germany and France at university, I enjoyed buying Stollen loaves at Christmas markets for my family. The rich bread filled with fruit and sweet almond marzipan really evokes my time studying abroad for me now. Until now I hadn’t tried making my own, but was interested to give it a try as I enjoy making my own bread when there is time. Fruit bread is also very popular with my children and this extra Christmassy version was bound to go down well with friends and family over the festive season.
I used lots of cranberries, cherries and blueberries to add flavour and colour alongside the traditional mixed fruit in my Stollen. I did not add any almonds or other nuts that are sometimes included in Stollen recipes, as I don’t really enjoy nuts in cakes or bread.
- 500 g strong white flour
- 100 g caster sugar
- 10 g easy-bake yeast
- 5 g salt
- 150 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 250 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 0.5 tsp almond extract
- 50 g mixed peel
- 40 g dried cranberries
- 70 g cherries and berries mix
- 140 g dried mixed fruit
- 25 g butter melted
- 280 g golden marzipan
- 25 g butter melted
- icing sugar for dusting
Place the flour and sugar in a bowl, add the yeast on one side and the salt on the other (to prevent the salt from killing the yeast).
Add the soft butter, and then about three quarters of the milk and stir to mix.
Add the rest of the milk and use your hands to form a ball of dough.
Place the dough on a work surface dusted with flour and knead for 6-7 minutes until elastic and smooth.
Place the cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract and the dried fruit on top of the dough and knead it in.
Once it is all incorporated, put the dough back in a large bowl, cover it with clingfilm, and leave to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Once risen, roll the dough out into a large rectangle on a work surface. Melt 25 g of butter and spread it over the top of the dough using a pastry brush.
Roll out the marzipan into a rectangle as long as the dough is wide. Place it on top of the dough. Roll the dough from the short side, enclosing the marzipan as you roll.
Place the dough with the seam on the bottom on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size again.
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees (fan). When the dough has risen, bake for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until golden brown and cooked through. Tap the bottom and it should sound hollow if done.
Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter using a pastry brush. Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar. Slice to serve.
The bread is lightly spiced with a lovely distribution of dried fruit and swirls of marzipan. I prefer it this way to a stick of marzipan through the centre I think, as you have all the elements of the bread in each mouthful. Sliced and served with a cup of tea or coffee, this Stollen will be a perfect festive treat.
This is my entry into the Christmas edition of Perfecting Patisserie.