Stollen (pronounced shtoh-luhn) is a traditional Christmas bread from Germany. The bread varies slightly from one area of Germany to another, so that one hears of Dresden, Bavarian, or other regional stollens. The bread is often stuffed with fruits and sometimes nuts. The traditional shape is that of a large, folded oval that resembles a large Parker House roll. Make it a month or six weeks ahead and then freeze it. On Christmas morning, unwrap it, and reheat it in a warm (300 F) oven, and enjoy it with coffee and hot chocolate. This recipe makes two loaves and I usually give one as a gift with reheating instructions written on a Christmas card.
1 cup mixed chopped candied fruits
FILLING AND FINISHING:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
TO MAKE THE DOUGH, combine the candied fruits, raisins, currants, candied cherries, citron, and rum in a bowl, and mix to coat all the fruits with rum. Marinate at least 1 hour. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the yeast with 3 cups of the flour, the sugar, and salt. In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat. Add butter and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture has cooled to very warm (130 F.).
Add the milk mixture and eggs to the flour mixture and beat until the mixture is smooth, satiny, and has an elastic quality to it. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
Stir in the remaining flour a cup at a time and mix until the dough is stiff. If using a mixer with a dough hook, knead the dough for 5 minutes at low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl. Or turn out onto a floured board and knead, adding flour as necessary to make a light and springy dough. Knead or mix in the fruit-rum mixture. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled.
Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper.
Make a crease down the length of each oval. Fold each loaf in half lengthwise along the crease to enclose the sugared surface. Place the loaves on a baking sheet spaced well apart. Cover and let rise until puffy, but not doubled, 30 to 35 minutes. Brush each loaf with 1/2 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean and dry. If the stollen begins to brown excessively, cover lightly with foil to finish baking. While the loaves are still hot, brush each loaf with 1/2 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar. Drizzle each loaf with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons brandy or rum. Remove from the sheet and cool on a wire rack. Brush with the remaining butter.
NOTE; Citron is a semitropical citrus fruit that looks like a large, lumpy, yellow-green lemon. It grows six to nine inches long, is very sour, and has a thick peel that is candied and used in baking. It is available in the baking section in supermarkets and specialty foods stores during the Christmas season.
The Great Holiday Baking Book
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Last updated September 25, 2004