Vermont's Stollen Gems
Susan Stuck Dec 02, 2010 Real Food 0 comments
Some of our most cherished Christmas traditions are German in origin. Think Christmas trees, glass ornaments, Advent calendars, candy canes, spice cookies and Stollen, the fragrant, fruity bread that's a specialty of Dresden.
Dresdeners don't hold back when it comes to their Stollen. Today and tomorrow, Dresden's master bakers will be putting the finishing touches on a two-ton, four-yard-long Stollen, readying the massive loaf for Saturday's Stollen Festival. The giant Stollen will be loaded onto a horse-drawn wagon to be paraded through the city's Old Town on the way to the famed Christmas market. Apprentice baker and this year's Stollen maiden Claudia Rhumland will then raise the silver 25-pound Grand Dresden Stollen Knife to begin the cutting. Three Euros will buy you a slice; proceeds are donated to charity.
What Vermont's Stollens lack in pomp and heft they make up in authentic flavor. Recipes vary, but bakers and bakeries all over the state are soaking candied citrus and raisins in rum getting ready to make their one- and two-pound loaves. Some of my favorites include:
- Mirabelles in Burlington is set to make 150+ loaves in the coming weeks. Owner Alison Lane includes almond paste and candied citrus—"the good kind, not the gross dyed kind"— in her recipe. Order your Mirabelles Stollen today because they will sell out.
- Vermont Country Store's buttery Stollen is no New-World pretender. Their loaves are baked at a 100-year-old bakery in Germany.
- Harrington's of Vermont relies on an old German recipe for its rum- and brandy-scented Holiday Stollen.
- King Arthur Flour's Baker's Catalogue offers a complete Stollen Kit to make two rich and buttery loaves, one to keep and one to give.
from the FarmPlate Kitchen
Follow Alison Lane's lead when baking homemade Stollen and do not use the nasty, colored candied citrus peel you see at the supermarket. La Cuisine in Alexandria, Virginia offers luscious candied citron sourced from an Italian specialist. King Arthur Flour sells lovely unsulfured and undyed candied citrus peels imported from Europe.
4 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 envelope Rapid Rise instant dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup warm milk
½ cup hot water
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup mixed diced candied citrus fruit—orange rind, lemon rind and/or citron
1 cup dark raisins
¼ cup dark rum
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
½ cup blanched almonds
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons melted butter
About 3 tablespoons demerara sugar
Ground cinnamon to taste
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
Make a "sponge": In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup of the flour, the yeast and the salt. Mix the milk, water and honey and stir into the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, gently warm the candied fruit, raisins and rum in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Add the cooled fruit, granulated sugar, beaten egg, lemon zest, mace or nutmeg, almonds and 2 more cups of the flour to the sponge. Using the paddle attachment, beat on low speed to blend well. Switch to the dough hook and knead the mixture until smooth, about 8 minutes. (The dough will be wet.) With the machine still running, add the butter 1 piece at a time, waiting about 10 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue kneading, adding the remaining 1 cup of flour 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, until the dough is no longer wet. You may not need all the flour, the dough should still be soft and a little sticky.
Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut in half with a sharp knife. Roll each half into an oval about 7 x 9 inches. Brush each with the melted butter and sprinkle demerara sugar and cinnamon lengthwise down the center of each. Carefully fold the doughs in half and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Press lightly along the folded edges to help the loaves keep their shape will baking. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the loaves for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Sprinkle generously with confectioners' sugar. Store in cellophane bags or an airtight container.
Makes 2 Stollen