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.
I have to admit that over Christmas even a sweet lover may be overwhelmed by the overdose of sugary goodness. While Stollen is a sweet bread and even dusted with a generous amount of powdered sugar, it is pleasantly not overly sweet. The enjoyable bits of homemade candied zest of meyer lemons and backyard oranges, along with slightly plumped dried cranberries and
lightly toasted almonds added the right balance of sweetness and saltiness.
After several hours of rising/proofing, the fragrant dough is rolled out and rolled up...
With inspiration from Martha Stewart, it is then curled into a circle to make a festive wreath. After baking, the Stollen gets a basting of butter and a generous sifting of powdered sugar. It then looks something like this.
If you can hold yourself back from digging right in, it can then rest on the counter overnight to dry out a little and concentrate the flavors, just like the Germans do. Then on the next morning, cut yourself a little slice and have it with a cup of tea or coffee for a nice treat :)
If you have enough for leftovers the next morning, then you can toast it and spread a little butter for another delicious treat.
Surprisingly this recipe was not too difficult, but simply requires a little planning in advance, as it does take some overnight rising as well as another day of waiting after it is baked. However, take note that it does also freeze well, so you can make it when you have time and then take it out of the freezer when you need it! Here is the recipe for you to enjoy.