Thursday, February 06, 2014

Stollen Bread (Germany)- The World on my Plate series!

In the concluding part of “The world on my plate series”, we travel to a land far, far away from India. Germany. What do I make? Stollen Bread. Let me tell you a little bit more about my fascination for breads.
If you have been reading my blog; you would know that I don’t bake much. I did try a butter cake sometime back but that was it.  Baking breads, seemed a distant dream. I was told its only for the professionals. But, I always loved eating breads, perhaps because I’m a Bandra boy;  and we all know how famous bakeries in Bandra are across Mumbai.  But I was wanted to make (or should I say bake) my own bread. It  was  very therapeutic I was told.  Sigghhh.. Didn’t work with me.. But, I knew I wanted to culminate the series with something sweet. Something that we all could cherish.
I happened to be reading on various breads made in different parts of the world which was when I came across the ‘Stollen’ made in faraway Germany. This bread bears an uncanny resemblance to the Christmas cake. The difference being this is Stollen is leavened with yeast, stuffed with candied fruit and baked. The bread is shaped to look like the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. I had found the bread I’ve always wanted to make. I decided to jump into the battle field and tame the proverbial yeast monster. It yielded quite easily. After a while the yeast did the trick and the dough had risen…first part of the mission accomplished. Next step followed suit and my confidence grew.. I knew this was going to be something good. Second proof too passed the test and then it was time to test by fire. Off she went into the oven to be baked. She was out after some 40 minutes. steaming hot like a lady fresh out of a sauna ;). Almost seducing you to have a peck :).  What did she taste like? Ummm… delight in every bite.. the soft dough provided a solid base to the candied peels and slight nudge from the spices right the down your throat. An experience that you need to have.
All through, I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing you this series. There has been much learning about the different cultures of the world and food. As you would have seen, there is no other universal language than the language of food. I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did bringing it to you

Stollen Bread
  • 250 grams all purpose flour
  • 150 grams (I used a mixture of Tutti –fruity, finely chopped glazed cherries, finely chopped dates, raisins) + some almonds hazelnuts and almonds for garnishing
  • 7 grams fresh yeast + some warm water and 1 and 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 125 ml warm milk
  • 80 grams caster sugar
  • 60 grams butter
  • 2 large tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Marzipan for garnish (optional, i skipped this)
  • Activate the yeast, by dissolving it in the warm water  along with the sugar. Leave aside for 15 minutes till frothy.
  • In a sufficiently large vessel, combine the flour, caster sugar, salt and butter and combine gently.
  • Now make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Knead with the milk to form a smooth, but pliable dough. Knead for some more time till the dough is slightly more softer and you are comfortable working with it.
  • Place the dough in lightly oiled vessel and allow it to rest till it has doubled in size. This should take approximately 40-50 minutes.
  • Once the dough has risen well, gently deflate it b y knocking it with your fist lightly.
  • Give it a another knead for about 5 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough to about 1 inch thick square
  • Place the mixed fruit in the center and roll up the sides and fold the dough to cover it. Seal the ends by pinching it.
  • Leave it for another 30 minutes to rise until it is double in size.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 100 C
  • Bake at 170 C for 35 minutes or till it has a golden crust.
  • Once done allow it to cool for a while. When cooled, roll out the marzipan (if using) on the bread. 
  • Else, sprinkle with icing sugar and garnish with almond and hazelnuts.

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