17-30: Stollen

Still catching up on a few old ones–but maybe you can file this one away for later on this year. 17-30: Stollen is a traditional German sweet fruit bread that is typically eaten around Christmas time. After two back-to-back years of holiday treat bundles comprised of multiple Simply Delicious creations (good way to burn them off quickly), I’ve pretty much finished off that type of recipe…at least when it comes to baked goods.

17-30 Stollen
Stollen isn’t a Simply Delicious creation–Wikipedia has a pretty extensive entry on it. There’s some other pretty solid recipes out there as well, if you’d like to compare them to this one. I find comparing multiple versions (from trustworthy/reputable sources) of a well-known dish helps me understand what’s essential about it (what I find common amongst all the recipes) and what’s up for interpretation (where they differ). 🇩🇪🎄

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I linked about 5-6 versions of stollen in the text above, and this one compares about the same to those. Maybe a bit underspiced/flavored (not unusual for Simply Delicious recipes), but not that far off base. Note the suggested use of cake yeast–good luck finding it in 2018 and beyond. I’ve basically struck out every year of this project (4 years and counting as of 4 days ago) when I’ve looked in all of my local markets for cake yeast.

Fancy markets, hippie markets, regular markets–no one in my area has cold cake yeast. If you happen to find it (try checking near the dairy/butter section, the closer to the holiday baking season the better), definitely try using it.

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Ingredients. I went with fruitcake mix for an easy solution to assembling the “fruit/candy” portion of the recipe. As I mentioned above, cake yeast is hard to come by, so I’ll substitute for dry yeast.

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Yeast bloomed in warmed milk, with the sugar being added from the container in the background.

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Added in the flour and kneaded until it was dough. Off to let it rise.

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Here’s the butter to be worked into the dough–I probably should have cut these down a bit smaller.

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This needed a bit more flour added in to get it back to the proper dough consistency…it’s way too wet here.

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No need to dice or chop the fruit since that’s already taken care of.

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I bought two tubs of fruit mix, but only needed one for this recipe. Mixed all of one tub in and worked it into the dough.

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Two were on Silpats, one was not. I think I was experimenting to see which method came out better. I should have tried one of the Silpat ones with parchment paper instead as a third test.

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Close-up of the loaf with some Christmas-themed sugar sprinkles on top, an addition of my own.

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After baking. Do you see any major differences? It’s tough from this angle.

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Sprinkled the loaf with powdered sugar–very holiday appropriate.

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Sliced the loaves up…and considered stopping here. In fact, this was supposed to be the final picture of the entry, as well as the header image. But I felt like these were still a bit underdone in the middle, and could be made into more of a biscotti-type of biscuit instead now that they’d been sliced.

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Laid out the slices (note the slightly underdone-looking middles) on the trays and put them back into the oven to finish baking them as well as crisp them up a bit.

Dig those sweet cherry cross-sections.

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Sprinkled the now-toasted slices with a bit more powdered sugar just to finish them off. Now they look like a delicious treat to have with some coffee or maybe a hot chocolate.

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The final final picture, with some much toastier, but (in my opinion) much more delicious looking treats.

My reason for doing this also had another intent–I needed to include a few pieces with each cookie package I sent last Christmas, and I needed those pieces to stand up to cross-country USPS travel. Toasting them made them much more structurally sound as well as much better to travel–even if they dried out a bit, it would only improve them.

Grade: A

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