These challenges have been fun for me, because I am making things that I don't think I ever would have tried before. This was definitely one of them. This one was a little "labor-intensive" with several steps, several bowls (which drives me nuts- I love when you can dump it all into one and mix), and even a couple days of prepping, but if your know me, you'll know that I take short cuts when I can. I was a bit impatient, and although it says it takes about two days, I wanted to make this all in one day... so I did. I actually divided the recipe too, so that I could make two small wreaths. I made one that day and then I let the other one rise overnight in the fridge like the recipe called for. My experiment would have been great if I hadn't forgotten the one if the fridge (can you see why I should sometimes just stick with the basic recipes?)- it sat there for four days, and I don't think that was what was intended either. They both turned out ok though- the first one was just fine, with a texture more like a cinnamon roll. I really wanted to put a cinnamon roll glaze on top- I think it would have been really yummy. I also skipped the whole candied orange peel step- I heard it was very yummy, but I thought it was good without too. Anyway, I thought it turned out pretty well and made a pretty tasty batch. Probably won't make it again, but it was festive and fun to try.
Christmas Stollen Wreath
- 1/4 C. lukewarm water
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 C. milk
- 10 TBSP. butter
- 51/2 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 C sugar
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. lemon extract or orange extract (I have since added this to the collection, but I didn't have it at the time and I just used lemon juice. I'm sure it made a difference, but it seemed to turn out ok.)
- 3/4 C. mixed citrus peel (click here to see my sis-in-laws candied orange peel post)
- 1/2 C. firmly packed raisins (I did half regular and half golden raisins)
- 1/2 C. firmly packed cranberries
- 3 TBSP. rum or juice from the orange you zested
- 12 glace cherries roughly chopped (Optional. I left these out)
- 1 C. flaked almonds
- Melted butter for coating the wreaths
- powdered sugar for dusting the wreath
1. Soak the dried fruit in the rum or juice from zested orange. Set these aside and let them soak until you are ready to add them to the dough.
3. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup milk and the 10 Tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
4. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon extract and vanilla extract. Set aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixture with a paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange zest and lemon zest.
6. Then stir in (on low speed) the yeast mixture, eggs mixture, and the milk and butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not really sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
7. Add in the chopped citrus peel (click here for instructions), soaked fruit, and almonds and mix on low speed. If you choose to use the glace cherries, do it at this point, but be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red.
8. Knead in the electric mixer with a dough hook for 6 minutes. If you use your hands, knead for 8 minutes. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough when a few raisins start to fall off the dough. When it is done it should be tacky, but not sticky.
9. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with oil. Cover it with plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough will become firm in the fridge but it does rise slowly. You can keep it in the fridge like this for about a week.
10. Let the dough rest on the counter for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge. Punch down dough and roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches and 1/4 inch thick.
11. Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.
Transfer the cylinder roll to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Join the ends together pinch to make them stick together, forming a large circle. You may use a bowl to hold the circle shape.
12. Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along the outside of the circle in 2 inch intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough. Tease each segment away from the ones around it. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
13. Let it sit like this at room temperature to proof. It should get 1-1/2 times bigger than its original size. Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. the bread will bake to a dark mahogany color. It will sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
14. Brush the top with melted butter while it is still hot. Coat it generously. Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter. Wait a minute and tap another layer over the first. It should be generously coated with butter and powdered sugar. The more you coat it, the longer the stollen will last.