I guess I grew up differently, because at around this time of the year I start to go insane. I think it's the music, the constant repetitive cheerful voices, the people telling me (very happily I might add) about how great it is to have snow (and well, yeah I have to agree there having had xmas in Australia in summer for the majority of my life), and about the virtues of Santa. Anyway, despite my bah humbug ways I decided to make Stollen with two buds from baking class, Sarah and Jamie. It was quite an undertaking and it taught us to read recipes before we decide to make them. This is specifically in relation to yeast and time.
Yeast takes it's sweet time eating starches and suagrs and so it needs a little time to burp. The recipe we used had a starter dough, as well as other rises, and benching proceedures so it took a while. There are plenty of recipes out there, we decided to use one recipe to make three mini stollen, which I think worked out nicely. The ingredients were another matter, specifically the candied fruits required. I went to a few places and found it difficult to get fruit that well...looked something like fruit (what cherries are green??) Eventually I found some (citron is green!) and we used that and a combo of candied citrus peel, golden raisins all soaked in rum for an hour or so. I grew up on stollen.
We had a European xmas in Australia with the celebration and present opening all done on the 24th. Nanna would sometimes make stollen or buy it, I remember the only part I ate was when she would make/buy the type with marzipan. I would rip out the marzipan and scoff it down while I would casually hide the remnants of the stollen in my hand until I could find the grabage bin and shove it in. Needless to say the stollen I made had a massive amount of marzipan (almond paste) in it and it worked out pretty well.
Stollen pairs brilliantly well with a warm drink (coffee, cider, tea etc) as it is by nature a fairly dry yeasted bread. But, if you like xmas, enjoy baking, want to do a fruit cake type of baked good, I'd give stollen a go.
PS. Sarah and Jamie! I erased the picts of all our stollens after they were made - I'm sorry!
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