a christmassy German yeast loaf with dried fruits and nuts
Last night the weather was teasing me to the limit. When we stepped out onto the street close to mid night snow flakes were falling from the skies. Real ones. Ones that were more snow than rain. Ones that we could still see after they had landed on our mits.
It didn’t take long until they became more rain than snow again and my child-like cry of joy subsided to a grantiges grumbling. Nevertheless, I decided it was time to bust out my christmas bakings today: Christstollen!
Adapted from „Servus in Stadt und Land“ 12/2012
Ideally you’d make this a few weeks before christmas and let it „ripen“ in a coolish place. It’ll still be delicious made fresh though – just not quite as traditionally delicious.
Overnight for soaking
½ h for making the Stollen
2 ½ h rising
2-4 weeks ripening
50 g raisins
2 tablespoons bourbon or rum
40 g finely chopped candied orange peel (Orangeat)
40 g finely chopped candied lemon peel (Zitronat)
(you can add up to roughly 100 g additional candied or dried fruit like cherries, dates or apricot)
100 g chopped almonds
50 g sugar (light brown or white)
1 cube fresh least (42 g)
150 ml lukewarm milk
500 g flour (wheat and/or semolina)
250 g soft unsalted butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
50 g melted butter
60 g icing sugar
The night before you make the Stollen measure your sugar in a bowl, heat two tablespoons of the sugar in 2-3 tablespoons of water. Once the sugar has disputed, take it off the heat and add the raisins and bourbon. Leave to soak overnight – worst case, if you forgot, leave to soak while the dough is rising.
The next day start by preparing the dough. Crumble the yeast into the warm milk and stir it in a little. Add the rest of the sugar and a few tablespoons of the flour. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave to rise for 20 minutes to half an hour in a warm spot. Since our apartment gets relatively cold in the winter, I like to preheat to oven to 50°C, turn it off, stick a wooden spoon in the over door and let the dough rise there.
Meanwhile, chop the dried fruit and almonds. Sieve the remaining flour and mix with the spices. Add the butter in little chunks and the risen yeast. Slowly start kneading it in a bowl, then transfer onto a clean counter top and knead for a minute or so until it turns into a smooth dough. Pour the almonds onto the countertop and knead into the dough. Add the fruit the same way adding the raisins last – you don’t want to crush them which too much kneading.
Shape into a longish loaf and let rise for another 45 minutes. With your hand, make a longitudinal imprint in the centre of the dough and slightly roll out one half to about the total width of the initial loaf. Fold the rolled flap back on top of the loaf and slightly shove it together, making sure the loaf isn’t too flat .Transfer onto a lined baking sheet and let the loaf rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (non-convection). Bake the Stollen for 45 to 55 minutes. Should it get too dark on top, cover with a piece of aluminium foil after 25-30 minutes.
Melt the butter before you take the Stollen out of the oven. Brush the Stollen with butter while it’s still quite warm and cover it in a blizzard of icing sugar. Once it has cooled down completely, wrap it tightly in aluminium foil and store in a cool dry place for 2 to 4 weeks.
With time, the raisins will soak through the icing sugar and leave brown stains on the surface – that doesn’t mean. anything at all though. Simply redust before serving to cover up the stains. For serving, place on a cutting boards and slice into 1-2 cm slices like bread. It’s best with a mug of steaming Glühwein while your toes are freezing out on a peaceful Christkindlmarkt. But since it doesn’t seem to be getting cold enough anymore here before christmas, substitute freezing toes for a post-christmas gemütliche Stube indoors.