Stollen is a bit lazy. It needs A LOT of rest, plenty of naps on its way to being eaten, a good 12 hours of sleep in the beginning AND at the end, four days of vacation after that. Stollen takes its time. I begin the process the night before baking by making the soaker (all the good bits soaked in dark rum), making the sponge (a bit of flour, water and yeast allowed to party overnight) and candying my own peel. The stollen is packed so full of good stuff, a long, slow rise is essential the next day. After baking, the cooled stollen rests again overnight and then benefits from a rest at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for at least 4 additional days. A clear calendar is essential to ensure the process isn’t rushed:
Night 1: Make candied peel, make soaker and make sponge (Steps 1-3 below)
Day 2: Make dough, proof, bake, coat with butter and sugar, rest overnight uncovered (Steps 4-12 below)
Day 3-7: Wrap tightly in foil at room temperature and allow to rest for at least 4 days (Steps 13-14 below )
– 120 grams golden raisins
– 90 grams dried figs, chopped
– 60 grams sliced almonds
– 35 grams dark rum
– 120 grams all-purpose flour
– 80 grams water
– A small pinch rapid-rise yeast
– 350 grams all-purpose flour
– 55 grams whole milk
– 3 packages rapid-rise yeast (minus the small pinch)
– 50 grams sugar
– 53 grams egg (about one large egg)
– 8 grams salt
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– ½ teaspoon cardamom
– ¼ teaspoon allspice
– ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
– Grated lemon zest from ½ lemon
– Grated orange zest from ½ orange
– 275 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
– All of the sponge
– All of the soaker
– 75 grams candied orange peel (homemade or high quality)
– 75 grams candied lemon peel (homemade or high quality)
– 198 grams (7 oz.) of marzipan, divided lengthwise into four pieces
– Clarified butter
– Granulated sugar
– Powdered sugar
- The night before: Combine the soaker ingredients in a bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for about 12 hours.
- The night before: Combine the sponge ingredients in another bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for about 12 hours.
- The night before: Make candied peel
- Heat milk to 105-110 degrees, add the yeast, stir and let set for 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the final dough ingredients except the soaker, peel and marzipan. Mix on slow speed until all the ingredients are incorporated, about 5 minutes.
- Continue mixing at medium speed until the dough comes together around the hook and no longer sticks to the sides and bottom of the bowl, about 10 minutes. It’s important to create a strong gluten network.
- Add the soaker and peels and mix by hand until they are evenly distributed through the dough. The fruit/peel to dough ratio will be high.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and let rise in a warm location until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto the counter. Divide into four even pieces, pre-shape the dough into balls and let them rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Shape the loaves into blunt end batards (country loaf shape). With a wooden spoon handle placed lengthwise and just off center, press down firmly making a long trough. Roll the marzipan into a rope about ½ in shorter than the batard and place in the trough. Tuck the short sides of the dough up around the marzipan and fold the smaller section of dough over the longer and seal well (it should look like a hoagie roll when finished). Pick off any fruit on the outside to avoid burning. Place batards on parchment-lined insulated (helps the bottoms from over-browning) baking sheets (two per sheet). Cover and let rise for 90 minutes in a warm location.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. You will need steam during the initial phase of baking, so place a shallow pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes, open the oven door briefly to allow any remaining steam to escape and carefully remove the pan of water. Bake for another 15-20 minutes. You will need to rotate the position of the baking sheets halfway through the bake to ensure even browning. Cover loaves with aluminum foil if they are browning too quickly. Cool slightly.
- While the loaves are still warm, brush them with clarified butter and dredge them in granulated sugar. When cool, sift powdered sugar over the loaves. Leave the stollen out overnight to let the loaves dry out and the sugar to form a crust.
- To store, wrap tightly in foil at room temperature. Stollen should be allowed to rest for at least 4 days before eating, so plan accordingly. After the 4-day rest period, stollen can be frozen.
- To serve, unwrap, re-heat stollen in the oven, dust with additional powdered sugar if needed, slice and enjoy.