I heard about Stollen recently and how good it is so I decided that I wanted to make some. The only problem is I have never eaten or seen Stollen. I looked in my books and on the internet for recipes for sourdough Stollen and decided to improvise and make my own. The paragraph from Peter Reinharts's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" is very nice and I think worthy of quoting here.
Dresden is considered the spiritual home of this traditional Christmas bread. The bread symbolizes the blanket of the baby Jesus, and the colored fruits represent the gifts of the Magi. As in nearly every festival bread, the story aspect of this loaf is culturally important, for it is a way parents teach their children about their heritage.
This is a bread that is soft with lots of different flavors bursting onto your taste buds with every bite. There are exotic spices, dried fruit, nuts, and a little bit of Brandy in the bread. The outside of the bread is painted with melted butter then covered with powdered sugar. This really is a special bread for a festival.
Here is the bread hot out of the oven.
The night before I wanted to make this bread I soaked the dried fruit in 120 grams of Brandy. I just pour Brandy over the fruit until it covered it over. The next day I pour the Brandy off and discarded it down my throat, it was very good.
I used 100% hydration preferment for this bread. I mixed it into the whole milk which I had warmed up. Then I added my bread flour, whole wheat flour, and unsalted butter. I mixed this all up until I had the flour all hydrated. I let the dough sit for 30 minutes while I made the lemon and orange zest. I then added everything that was left to the dough but the cinnamon and mixed it up. The cinnamon I left out until latter because I heard it inhibited the yeast. I put the the dough into an oiled bowl and let it ferment for three hours.
The dough is then turned out on to a floured counter and patted out flat about an inch or inch and a half thick. Then I used a rolling pin to flatten out the middle leaving the far and near edge thick. Now I sprinkled the dough with cinnamon until it was well covered. Next the dough was folded over so the upper layer stopped right were the bottom layer gets thick again. The fold is rolled down a little bit to hold the bread together this is the opposite side of the thick parts of the dough. The dough was then bent to give it a crescent shape. Here is a YouTube video that I got some tips from.
While I was shaping the dough the oven was preheating to 360°F. I placed the bread on a cookie sheet and placed it into the oven for 40 minutes. (Second loaf was cooked for 45 minutes which I think is just right.) When the bread comes out of the oven I brushed it down with melted butter and then dusted it with powdered sugar. The bread then was put back into the oven for three minutes to set the coating.
Here is a picture of the bread after being coated. The sun was coming into the kitchen just right to highlight the white sugar coating.
The neighbors came over and tested it out. We had multiple slices of the bread so I would say it is a real winner. I just can't get over the multiple explosion of different flavors this bread has and it is so nice and soft. Time for another slice.