Monday, December 27, 2010

Stollen Wreath: December 2010 Daring Bakers’ Challenge

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

This challenge was like a twist on fruit cake. Some people love fruit cake; some people hate fruit cake; but EVERYONE has an opinion on fruit cake. Personally, I do not like fruit cake. It is dense and all those candied and unnatural colored fruit is off putting. My mother, on the other hand, loves fruit cake and actually bought a fruit cake from the grocery store which she has since consumed in it entirety; it was not a second rate handed down gift.

So, with this history I assumed I would not like the stollen, but my mother would. Wrong! Completely wrong! I loved the stollen. Putting the fruits and nuts into a bread makes it lighter and a substantially better texture than fruit cake. As I type this, I am enjoying a piece for breakfast that has been toasted under the broiler. Yum! My mother, however, hated the stollen. Why? Because she is not a bread person and that bread texture is off putting to her. Go figure.

I did make a few changes to the challenge recipe to accommodate my taste. I used cranberries instead of raisins and pecans instead of almonds; I added some different extracts and upped the spice level. And though I halved the recipe, I still ended up with a pretty large stollen wreath which I gifted over half away on Christmas day!

Homemade Candied Orange Peel

The best stollen of all is that shared with good friends and family. Merry Christmas!


Dough ball before placed in fridge.

1/8 cup Lukewarm Water
1 package of Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup Milk
5 TBS Unsalted Butter
2 1/2 + 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp All Spice
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
2 large Eggs, beaten
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Rum Extract
Scant 1/2 cup, Candied Orange Peel, chopped fine
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
Cranberry Apple Tea, seeped (to rehydrate the cranberries)
12 Candied Maraschino Cherries, roughly chopped
½ cup Candied Pecans, lightly chopped
Melted Butter
Powdered Sugar

Dough ball after coming out of fridge.


Day 1 -- Make Dough

1. Night before you intend to make dough, rehydrate cranberries.

2. Pour warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

Rolled out...

3. In a small sauce pan, combine milk and butter over medium/low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg.

5. On low speed, add in water/yeast mixture, eggs, extracts, and milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes, forming a soft but not sticky ball.

6. Once dough has come together, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.

... with Candied Cherries.

7. Add in orange peel, cranberries, and pecans until incorporated.

8. Affix dough hook(s) to mixer and beginning kneading for approximately 6 minutes, completely mixing in fruit. The dough should be tacky, not sticky and a few fruit may fall away from the dough when it is ready.

9. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge over night. It should rise slowly in the fridge.

Rolled into Wreath and Sliced.

Day 2 -- Finished Stollen

1. Take dough out of the fridge and let it rest for 2 hours to warm slightly.

2. In the mean time, line a sheet pan (with sides) with parchment paper.

3. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. (I would do this during step 10 and the 2 hour proof period. It is a long time to keep the oven on with nothing in it.)

After Proofing.

4. Punch down dough and roll into a rectangle approximately 8 x 12 inches and 1/4 an inch thick.

5. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped cherries.

6. Roll up tightly, forming a long thin cylinder.

7. Place a bowl in the center of the sheet pan to provide shape. Place cylinder of dough on sheet pan wrapped around the bowl, joining the ends together by overlapping the dough and pinching together.
8. Using kitchen shears make cuts along the top of the circle spacing them evenly and cutting 2/3 of the way through. Gently roll cuts to the outside of the circle.

Before getting its dressing...

9. Mist the dough with oil spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

10. Proof for approximately 2 hours, until the dough is 150% bigger than its original size.

11. Bake the stolen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 20-30 minutes.

12. Brush the top with melted butter while still hot. Then sift a generous layer of powder sugar on top. Wait one minute and shift another layer of powder sugar over the stolen.

13. Repeat the butter and powder sugar at least three times, but more if you like.

... after dressing, but resting before its debut.


  1. I'm not a fan of fruit cake but my mom is as well. What's with moms and fruit cakes? Fruit or not, I love the wreath shape :)

  2. It looks delicious. I thought it was so much better than fruitcake!