Dad in the kitchen strikes back. It’s been over 6 months since I published my last recipe. In the meantime I managed to leave my old job, set up a business as a self employed mortgage and protection broker and continue to look after my two little monkeys. Finding time when you are trying to build your own business is a serious challenge but Christmas is nearly upon us and I thought it would be nice to share my family festive baking tradition. In our household I make stollen every year for Christmas. The version I share this time is my take on this classing with the use of sourdough instead of baker’s yeast and with traditional marzipan replaced by crème d’amande. I hope you enjoy it and maybe you make it your Christmas tradition.
Makes 2 large or 3 small loaves.
- 500g strong bread flour
- 240g mixed dried fruit (I like mixture of raisins, sultanas, currants, orange peel and lemon peel)
- 5 – 6 tblsp dark rum
- 200g butter, softened
- 80g demerara sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Zest if 1 orange
- 10g salt
- 2 eggs
- 160g warm full fat milk
For the pre-ferment:
- 50g sourdough starter
- 100g strong bread flour
- 100g warm milk
For the crème d’amande:
- 65g butter, softened
- 65g caster sugar
- 70g ground almonds
- 10g plain flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tblsp dark rum (optional)
For the glaze:
- 3 tblsp apricot jam
- 2 tblsp water
- To make pre ferment, in a small mixing bowl, dissolve the sourdough starter in the warm milk then add the flour and mix into a paste. Cover with cling film (or shower cap) and leave in a warm place to ferment for 4 to 6 hours, until pre ferment starts to show bubbles on the surface.
- Transfer the dried fruit mixture into a small bowl, add the rum and mix well. Leave the fruit to soak up the booze.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the soft butter, demerara sugar, orange zest and salt. Beat using the electric mixed or wooden spoon until soft.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture and beat with the spoon or mixer to bind the mixture together.
- Add the flour, ginger, cinnamon and milk to the butter and egg mixture and work it with your fingers until all flour is incorporated into the mixture.
- Add the active pre ferment to the mixture and knead until you have a rough and slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl and leave for about 10 minutes.
- Knead the dough using method described here. Repeat kneading for another 2 times.
- Drain the soaked dried fruit and add to the dough. Knead using the same method as above for another 2 times to make sure all of the fruit is evenly distributed.
- Cover the dough and leave it to rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour.
- Whilst the dough is rising prepare crème d’amande. Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the ground almonds and beat until fully incorporated into the mix. Add the flour and beat some more. Mix in the egg and then the rum. Cover and put it in a fridg, it will be easier to spread when it is chilled.
- Sprinkle the work surface with a little flour and remove the fermented dough from the bowl. Divide the dough into three or two portions, depending on how big loaves you want (personally I prefer 3 smaller ones).
- Work with each portion of the dough at the time to shape the stollen. Roll the dough into oval shape about 2 cm thick. Spread portion of the crème d’amande on one third surface of the dough making sure that there is room to fold sides of the dough over the filling.
- Fold the sides inwards and over the filling so it becomes a rectangular shape with the filling in the middle.
- Fold the bottom part over the crème d’amande and the fold the top part over again so that the filling is fully enclosed in the dough. Turn upside down so the top fold now form a bottom of your loaf.
- Place formed loaves on baking sheets lined with a baking parchment.
- Cover and leave to proof in a warm place for 4 – 6 hours.
- Place a deep roasting tray on the bottom of the oven and pre heat to 220 centigrade.
- Once the oven is pre heated pour a cup of boiling water into the hot roasting tray and place the stollen in the middle of the oven.
- Reduce the temperature to 200 centigrade and bake for 35 – 45 minutes until golden brown (depending on the size of your loaves).
- Check that the stollen is baked by tapping on the bottom. If it is still soft return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. When baked place it on a wire rack to cool.
- Using a sharp knife remove any fruit that burned on the surface of the stollen. Take care not to damage the bread.
- To make the glaze place the apricot jam and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium high heat. Simmer for couple of minutes stirring constantly to reduce slightly and to make sure there are no lumps in the glaze mixture.
- Use a pastry brush to glaze the stollen whilst it is still hot and leave to cool down completely.
- Dust with icing sugar before serving.