How to make a Christmas Stollen: German dried bread
If we travel through different countries, especially during the Christmas holidays, it is quite likely that we will become aware of the incredible diversity and variety that we find throughout the world. Moreover, it is curious to see how for example in European countries the custom is to make cakes or biscuits with spices and nuts, while in the United States the usual are desserts or fruit cakes.
Spain has in fact a wide variety of traditional Christmas desserts. A good example is the popular Nougat from Jijona(soft almond nougat) or the Alicante nougat(hard almond nougat accompanied by wafer), or the wonderful ones polvorones. The classic ones also stand out Marquesas, which consist of some biscuits of almonds sprinkled with icing sugar on top.
Returning again to European countries, it is very possible that at times you have found yourself before a kind of sponge cake or sweet bread with a wide variety of nuts inside, and accompanied by a lot of impalpable sugar.
We are before the Stollen, a sweet bread of German originthat habitually and for many years it is prepared for the Christmas holidays. The original sweet bread is made with walnuts or almonds, and its original name is Christstollen, which in translation would come to mean "the Bread of Christ".
In the past it was elaborated and enjoyed in order to celebrate the arrival of the baby Jesus, hence its original name. And, for this reason, presents that curious shape, similar to that of a baby wrapped in diapers (as in fact tends to represent the baby Jesus in the manger).
What is the origin of stollen?
According to the story, it seems The first stollen was made in the 14th century, when it was common for bishops to be given a Christmas gift. At that time it was customary that the bread was not sweet and was made with simple and simple ingredients, such as flour, oil and water.
In those centuries there were a series of food products that were considered as forbidden during the advent, as was the case of milk or butter.
However, by the fifteenth century, Pope Innocent VIII decided to write a letter that was known as "Butterbrief"(Letter of butter), which allowed the use of butter in order to increase the consumption of bread in exchange for each time a stollen was produced a certain amount of money was given to the Church, in order to build so the cathedral of Freiberg.
Little by little, over the years, the original recipe was perfected and ingredients were added, such as almonds, pieces of fruit, nuts, raisins, seeds ...
Traditional Christmas Stollen Recipe
Although today there is a wonderfully sweet and interesting diversity of different stollen (for example, we can mention the stollen filled with marzipan, walnuts, almonds or butter), this time we will learn to make a Traditional Christmas stollen, with almonds, raisins and pieces of fruit.
It is ideal to eat at breakfast, at snack or during tea time, or just as a dessert for your Christmas meals or dinners.
It will take you to prepare it around 1 hour, and to cook it for 1 hour more.
- 375 g of strength flour
- 15 g of fresh yeast
- 1 whole egg + 2 yolks
- 125 g of butter (softened) + Brush Butter
- 150 g of whole milk
- 80 g of sugar
- 60 g of ground almonds
- 200 g of candied fruit
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
- 2 tablespoons of rum
- Sugar icing to decorate (impalpable sugar)
How to make the Christmas stollen:
- Put in a large bowl 350 grams of the strength flour, the ground almonds, the fresh yeast, the sugar and a pinch of salt. Grind the spices and add them to this bowl. Reservation.
- Put the milk in a saucepan on the fire together with the remaining flour (25 grams), and with the help of some rods mix well to avoid lumps, until it thickens. Then let it cool a bit.
- Add this flour cream to the force flour bowl, the whole egg and the two yolks, and mix well. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- While the dough rests we can continue with the candied fruit. For this, put the candied fruit and raisins in a bowl and add the rum. Stir well and let it marinate for a while.
- Put the butter in a bowl suitable for microwave and ablank a bit. Then beat it with the help of a fork until the butter is about to ointment. After 15 minutes of rest of the dough, add the butter and knead well. Then cover and let it rest for 10 more minutes.
- After this time it is important to give it one last kneading.
- Now it's time to add candied fruit and raisins marinated with rum. To do this, stretch the dough making a kind of layer on which we will place the dried fruit. Cut the dough in half and place one half on top of the other. Then knead again a little to get the pieces of candied fruit and raisins mixed throughout the dough.
- Put the dough in a bowl or bowl and let it ferment for 2 and a half hours.
- When the dough has more or less doubled its volume put it on the countertop and knead it briefly (in this way we will get the dough to fall off). Stretch it with the help of a roller, giving it an oblong shape (longer than it is wide). And with the help of the roller, make a depression on one side of the center. Fold the dough just for the depression you have made, turning the small dough portion over the large dough.
- Cover the stollen with plastic and let it ferment a little more.
- Meanwhile we are going to preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- When the dough has been lifted, place the stollen in the oven and cook for 35 minutes.
- After this time, remove from the oven and let cool. Then, after a few minutes, brush the bread with melted butter and let it cool completely.
- Finally, sprinkle with plenty of icing sugar.
- Ready! You can enjoy it now