Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Stollen Bread

I've been waiting for weeks to bake this Christmas stollen bread and it's finally here... Christmas is finally here. I mean you can obviously bake a stollen bread any time of year you want, but to really appreciate the beautiful wreath effect, it's got to be this time of year.


The wreath shape is inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe.  I saw a video where she bakes this stollen bread with her mom a couple of years ago and I thought it's looks so festive that I have to try it and so glad that I did. But since then I have altered the stollen bread recipe with all sorts of my favourite dried fruits and Christmasssy flavours.


I use a mixture of regular raisins and golden raisins, mainly for aesthetic reason... but the best part is, they have been soaked in whisky overnight... so that they plump up again and bursting with booze :) I also use dried cranberries because I like a bit of tang... dried sour cherries will be delicious as well. But speaking of cherries, as you can probably see from the picture above, I also add a good amount of ruby red glacĂ© cherries which I know is old school but it makes me happy... If I had some currants and mixed peel I would have added them as well... the more the merrier.

Nuts wise, I like cashews... but almonds, pistachios, walnuts can also be used.  Whichever makes you happy.

Christmas Stollen Bread

350 gr plain flour, plus more
350 gr strong white flour
6 tablespoons caster sugar
14 gr dried yeast
10 gr salt
200 ml whole milk
140 gr butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Zest of 2 oranges
Zest of 1 lemon
180 gr raisins
180 gr dried cranberries
120 gr dried apricots, cut into small pieces
120 gr red glace cherries, cut into small pieces
100 gr cashews, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

In a small saucepan, heat up the milk and butter until the butter is melted.  Set aside to cool a bit.  In a small bowl add the yeast with four tablespoons of warm water and stir to dissolve the yeast.  Let stand for 2-3 minutes.  In a big bowl, add the flours, sugar and salt.  Now add the yeast, warm milk and butter and the lightly beaten eggs to the flour mixture.  Start mixing and knead until fairly smooth on a well floured work surface. I'm gonna admit that I do this first kneading using a machine to save time and then continue by hand...

When you have a smooth dough, put it back in the big bowl and start adding the raisins and all the leftover whisky (if using), zests, dried cranberries, apricots, cherries and cashew nuts.  Knead them some more until the fruits and nuts are evenly distributed. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour.

Place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with clean tea towel and let it rise for an hour and a half to two hours. Depending the temperature of your room.

When the dough has risen, punch it down (I like this bit) and with a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle.  Try to make sure the thickness is even all over. Now, starting with the long side, roll it up tightly, forming a cylinder. Join the ends together to form a large circle.  Then transfer it to a buttered tray or you can line with non-stick parchment.

Using a scissor, make cuts alongside the circle in intervals, about 2/3 of the way through the dough.  Cover it again with tea towel and let the dough rise for half an hour or so.  Pre-heat your oven to 190 C.

Brush dough with melted butter and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, rotating halfway through.


Place on a wire rack to cool and dust with with icing sugar before serving.  Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, slice the stollen and you know what to do next...

25 comments:

  1. Michael, that's a perfectly festive and delicious fruit bread!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Angie... I couldn't agree more :)

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  2. That looks wonderful, Michael!! I have never made stollen bread myself, but I finally had a chance to try it about two years ago... it was delicious!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jenn. It is one of my favourite breads.

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  3. This is absolutely beautiful! I love the "Old World Christmas" feel that this bread gives me! Well done, Michael! Merry Christmas!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Susan and Merry Christmas to you too!

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  4. Oh now isn't that just so beautiful? The perfect festive treat!

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks Kate. It is a treat indeed :)

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  5. Michael, this is so pretty! I'd rather watch a vid of you making it than Martha though (no offence, Martha)... go on, make one!

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    Replies
    1. I am very tempted... but I'm not sure I have enough time to shoot and edit it now... but fear not, a new video is coming soon :)

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  6. That looks GORGEOUS michael.
    p.s. Hate to break the news but it was Christmas about a month ago I swear. All the shops were playing santa music and blaring christmas songs then...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Shu... Not at my parents though... they won't acknowledge anything Christmassy until Christmas Eve.

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  7. Stollen always makes me think of Christmas and this wreath is a lovely idea Michael! I also made a pastry wreath and it put me in the festive mood right away! :D

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Lorraine. I definitely look forward to your pastry wreath post! :)

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  8. Beautiful presentation and the taste must be just as great!
    Made me want to try and make one now :)
    Annalisa

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Annalisa. Go on... make one now :)

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  9. That is scrumptious looking, Michael! I've never made stollen...really must put it on my list for next year.

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    Replies
    1. You should definitely try it. I think you'll love it. Thanks Barbara.

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  11. Wow Michael, your stolen bread looks fabulous...beautifully done. Perfect for the season.

    ReplyDelete
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