Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stollen (Another Family's Tradition)

My friend Rob saw me this afternoon and asked, "When's Stollen Saturday?" If someone were to have overheard that, it most certainly would have made little to no sense. Stollen? (Or Sch-toh-lehn if we say it in its gutteral German pronunciation--think "Hogan's Heroes".) Fruitcake, less the doorstop-like characteristics. Worth having with a cup of coffee.

So, Stollen Saturday this year is going to be a Stollen Friday, because I will be driving to Dayton, OH, my father's childhood home, for my Uncle Bob's funeral, on what would otherwise be Stollen Saturday.

I come by this recipe, not by family, but by a friend. My friend Julie Petersen. She now lives out in Colorado. I wish she were still here. The Christmas I was pregnant with my first son, she brought me a stollen for Christmas. I took it with me on a trip to Florida and ate it in secret, like it was the last food on earth and I'd best not share it. Granted, I was pregnant, but it's that good. My grandparents, both of German descent, had stollen from the local German bakery at their Christmas celebrations in Boca. It was good, but this is even better. I'm not a fan of marzipan. This has almonds, but not almond paste.

Stollen nestled all snug in the oven.

This is the step where you add the flour to the scalded milk. Let this cool a while before adding the yeast.  
Flour mix goes in with the butter and sugar and then you keep adding flour, and more flour

Stollen Dough on a rise

Roll out and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and fold into thirds. This rises for one more hour before baking.  

Grandma Severance's Stollen 
with gratitude to Julie Lewis Petersen

3 oz. compressed yeast (5 cakes or envelopes)
1 quart whole milk
1 lb. butter, softened to room temperature (plus an extra stick for finishing)
16 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon or orange rind (dried)
3/4 lb. currants and raisins
1/2 lb. sliced almonds
1/2 lb. glazed cherries
1/2 lb. glazed lemon or orange
1 lb. mixed glazed fruit (NOT Olde English, which has a particular flavor)

Icing: Powdered Sugar/Milk/Vanilla (optional)

Mix two cups flour with glazed fruit, dried fruit and nuts (except the glazed cherries) in a bowl or a plastic bag (I do this the night before and have it ready to go in the morning). 

Scald the milk (almost to a boil with a slight film on the surface) in a medium sized saucepan. 

Add six cups of flour to hot milk and mix; when cool enough, add yeast (If you can tolerate sticking your finger in the mix, it will be fine, if not, it's too hot and you'll kill the yeast). 

Cream butter and sugar in stand mixer (I use an old KitchenAid stand mixer) with wire whisk attachment or paddle attachment. 

Add eggs, lemon/orange rind and salt (ideally you're on the 2nd speed of the mixer). 

Put dough hook attachment on mixer. 

Add flour/yeast/milk dough to mixer. Mix until dough forms a ball. 

Transfer to large bowl and add fruit/flour mixture and knead in the bowl until elastic and not sticky (add the last two cups of flour, as needed). 

Add cherries, knead some more. 

Turn and cover with a little butter. Cover with a cotton towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk (4-6 hours). 

Once the first rise is done, cut the dough in the bowl (don't punch it down) into 12 pieces. 

Roll dough on floured counter top into a circle that's between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. 

Brush dough with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, fold over 1/3 of dough from each side to create a loaf and brush the top with butter. Place each finished loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Once you've done this for all twelve loaves, allow to rise one hour (SECOND RISE) on the baking sheets with a cotton towel over it. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. 

Cool and decorate with a confectioner's sugar/milk/vanilla frosting if desired. 

Freezes well. 

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