Stollen has been on my list of breads to make, primarily because it’s a traditional German bread and both my husband’s family and my family are primarily of German descent. I found a recipe in the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book (every time I look through that thing, I discover more breads I want to make!) that needed no flour adaptation, since the book is already written for whole grain baking. The minor changes I made to it were to replace the rum with water, just because I didn’t have any rum on hand, and instead of orange and lemon peel, I used my candied orange peel.
My Heart’s Brown Stollen from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book
Made 1/3 of the original recipe (which was still a shockingly huge loaf — I can’t imagine a full batch of this!)
12:30-1:00 p.m. Prep ingredients.
1:30 p.m. Make dough.
2:00 p.m.: First rise (1 hr 30 min).
3:30 p.m.: Punch down, second rise (45 min). Mix fruit and nut filling.
4:15 p.m.: Roll out dough and rest 10 min. Then work in the fruit and nut filling. This part made me nervous because the filling kept falling out and it was tearing the dough. But it worked out fine.
4:35 p.m.: Rest for a bit and preheat oven.
5:10 p.m. Shape dough, brush pan with melted butter, and brush top of dough with remaining melted butter. I couldn’t find any reference to how to use the melted butter called for in the recipe, so I decided to use it for the pan and top of dough. Used two baking sheets stacked on top of each other. Bake 1 hr 35 min, until 190° inside.
This is an absolutely beautiful bread, in appearance, texture, and flavor. The recipe was so good, and like promised, the dough rose very well despite all that had been done to it working in the fruit and nuts. After I dusted it with the powdered sugar it became so pretty I didn’t want to cut into it.
About an hour and a half out of the oven I cut it in half and sliced off a piece to try. It was tender, but dense, and the mix of candied orange peel (which was surprisingly subtle), cranberries, and raisins tasted very good — a great combo for this time of year. The almonds are also fairly subtle. All of the ingredients work together so nicely. I’m just really happy with this bread.
I’d heard stories about Stollen being a difficult, or at least labor-intensive, bread to make, but this recipe wasn’t all that complicated and certainly not overly difficult. It could readily be baked on any Saturday or Sunday with a free afternoon.
UPDATE: My favorite way to eat this bread is to toast a slice and spread some good butter on it (I love Land O’Lakes Unsalted Butter).