Being born and brought up in Calcutta where Christmas scene is a big celebration because of the British rule and the club culture that is still been followed. Christmas for me always meant Plumcake, traditional Christmas cake But my whole notion about Christmas changed when I started living in Germany. Christmas or Weihnachten as they call it. A whole different array of delicacies are prepared during this time. Stollen is the German star Christmas speciality which is neither a bread and nor a cake it is somewhere a cross between both.
Stollen is essentially yeast dough, with an addition of marzipan and various fruit peels that give it a unique fruitcake texture.
- 2 ½ cups Flour (Maida)
- 1 cup lukewarm Milk
- 1 tbs active dry Yeast
- ½ cup Castor Sugar
- 1/3 cup Butter, softened
- 1/3 cup Currants
- 1/3 cup Raisins (Sultana)
- 1/3 cup Red Candied Cherries, quartered
- 2/3 cup finely diced Candied Fruit peels
- 100 gms Marzipan
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbs Icing Sugar
- 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
- Salt to taste
- Stir yeast and 1 tsp sugar in lukewarm milk till dissolved. Let it stand for 10 mins till frothy.
- Add 1 cup of flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add the frothy yeast milk mixture in the well. Add eggs, castor sugar, salt, butter. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition to form a lumpy dough. Transfer the dough into a floured work platform. Knead well. Incorporate the currants, raisins, cherries, and fruit peels. Knead till the dough is smooth. The process should take around 6-7 minutes.
- Place the dough to rest in an oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave it to rest in a warm place for an hour or till the dough becomes double its original size.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Roll the marzipan into a long cylinder. Place the marzipan in the centre of the dough. Fold from right side like enveloping the marzipan. Again fold over from the left to cover the centre. Press the edges to seal. Place on a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise again for 45 mins or doubled in size.
- Bake in the preheated oven (175 or 350 degree Celsius ) for 10 minutes, and further bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes at a reduced temperature around 150 degrees. Allow loaf to cool on a wire rack. Dust the cooled loaf with icing sugar, and sprinkle with the cinnamon powder.
Good to Know:
Enjoy Christmas: Stollen is a perfect alternative to having a traditional cake or pudding during Christmas.
Superb in wintry climes: In Germany, it is usually enjoyed with a glass of gluhwein i.e hot mulled wine spiked with various spices.
Why yeast rises:
- It is a living organism, thriving on natural sugar or starch
- Combined with moisture and heat, yeast ferments
- Gas bubbles trapped in a dough or batter makes it rise