Sorry about posting this a day late… You know how the holidays get.
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.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
I was curious about what the Holiday-themed December Daring Bakers’ challenge would be. Last year’s gingerbread house challenge was a blast, albeit a lot of work. However, when I caught my first glimpse of this month’s challenge, before properly reading the recipe and ingredients list, my initial reaction was: “Oh no, it looks like fruitcake.” Fruitcake, you may have guessed, is not m favourite holiday treat.
Thankfully, upon closer inspection, the challenge was revealed to not be fruitcake, but stollen, a German bread served for Christmas. Technically, I suppose it is pretty close to fruitcake in spirit, with its dried fruit and nuts. But it’s also crustier, with a less dense dough, closer to bread than to pound cake. At any rate, after reading the full recipe, I was feeling pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing.
I kept close to the recipe we were given, only substituting dried cranberries for raisins. The recipe also called for candied citrus peel, which presented a special kind of dilemma for me. Candied orange peel is one of those things I know how to make, but don’t enjoy making. It’s a hassle to me. In fact, anything to do with cooking or stewing fruit tends to bore me, including making jam. Fortunately, my father-in-law, an expert in the matter, was nice enough to make a batch for me. Lucky me!
After letting the dough rise overnight in the fridge, rolling it to the required thickness turned out to be somewhat a challenge. Rolling the whole thing into a log shape, and then moulding it in a wreath was also a little tricky for me, as the seams refused to fuse together. But all in all, there weren’t too many problems with this challenge.
With its hefty dose of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, the stollen smelled divine in the oven, and it was hard to resist not slicing into it immediately after it was done. But I coated it in melted butter and icing sugar, as required, and waited patiently.
It was good. The dough was very rich, with a lot of butter and eggs, but it didn’t feel too heavy. Despite all the sugar and dried fruit, it was far from cloying. The stollen also toasted beautifully, and made for a delicious, filling breakfast. I ended up freezing half of it, for mornings when I need a little warmth and sweetness.
Happy holidays and happy new year to all the Daring Bakers out there! Thanks to this month’s hostess, Penny, and please take a look at the Daring Kitchen to see the challenge recipe and, and the Daring Bakers' blogroll to admire all the festive stollen that were made this month. Until next time!