Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sourdough Stollen

Sourdough Stollen my version

These are large 750 gram stollen (before baking)

These are 450 gram stollen, shaped as ovals rather than folded.

I took this recipe from Virtuous Bread

I made an initial batch, with which I wasn't satisfied. I wanted a wetter dough and only butter, instead of butter and lard, so that my vegetarian friends could eat it, which meant changing it a bit.

Also, there were stages that needed more explanation, like kneading in the butter.


- 400 g raisins
- 100 g candied citrus peel
- 150 g slivered almonds
- 150 ml rum or tea
- 1.1 kg plain white wheat flour
- 500 g refreshed white flour sourdough
- 150 g sugar
- 450 g full fat milk
- 225 g butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- grated peel of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
- 50 g melted butter
- icing sugar to dust


The day before you bake:
1.  Soak the fruit in the rum or tea, if you want to be non-alcoholic. Or I suppose you could use any other liquor you want, like brandy or whiskey.  Cover it and leave until you need it.
2.  Refresh a white wheat sourdough starter so that you have 500 grams to use for the stollen.  I use a 100% hydration starter; that is, equal amounts of flour, water and original starter. If you use 200 grams of each, you will have 100 grams left over for the next time you bake.
Actually, I just keep refreshing my basic starter with equal amounts of water and flour, usually about 150 grams of each, every couple of days.

The evening before you want to make the stollen you need to take 600 grams of your refreshed  sourdough and add 350 grams of warm milk, heated to near boiling and allowed to cool to blood temperature, 500 grams flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar, about 15 grams. Mix all the ingredients and then work it into a rough dough.  It will be slightly stiff.  Cover it and leave it at least 12 hours or longer.

The morning you want to bake the stollen, take the dough from the first rise, which should be pretty bubbly and well-risen. Add 600 g flour, 150 g sugar, 1 tsp salt and the grated lemon zest. If you forgot to buy a lemon, use lemon essence, almond essence or something similar. Knead this for a good 10-15 minutes, until you have a good springy dough. Let it rest while you cube 225 grams of butter and microwave it for about 10 seconds until it's soft but not runny.

Flatten out the dough and put abut ¼ of the butter on top. Fold the butter into the dough and start kneading. When you have worked some of the butter in, put more of the butter into the dough and knead it in. Keep adding the butter and kneading the dough. This will be very messy for a while, but have patience. As you knead, the butter will work into and combine with the dough until you have a smooth and shiny dough, and the work surface is almost entire clean of butter.

I don't have any photos of this, because I was afraid to pick up the camera with such buttery hands.

It might be a good idea at this point to drain the fruit in a sieve over a bowl, so there's not too much extra liquid.

 Let the kneaded dough rest in the bowl, covered, for 1 hour and then fold in the soaked fruit.   The best way, I've found, is to flatten out the dough again and spread some of the fruit and almonds over it. Fold the dough over the fruit and keep pushing and folding until it seems distributed through the dough. Keep doing this, adding fruit and almonds bit by bit, until all the fruit is incorporated. You may decide to stop adding fruit and almonds if it seems you can't work any more into the dough.

 Put the dough back in a bowl, cover, and let rest for 2 hours. Every 50 minutes, take it out of the bowl, knead or fold it, and return to the bowl.

Take the dough out and divide into as many pieces as you would like. Originally, I used 450 gram sections, then tried 750 gram pieces (roughly) for the second attempt. I think a compromise of about 600 grams is probably best.

Press each piece into a rectangle and then fold one side into the middle and the other side over the top.  If you would like to use a sausage of marzipan, lay the marzipan in the middle of the dough and fold the dough around the marzipan - wrapping it up completely and sealing it in by pinching the edges together. I didn't do this, so I can't verify the results.

Roll the loaves slightly so that they are log shaped and like a fat cigar, trying to maintain the folded shape.

Place the loaves on a baking tray on floured baking parchment and cover and let it rest for two hours.
Preheat the oven to 250 C.  Place the stollen in and turn the heat down to 180 C.  Bake for 50 minutes.

When done, remove from the oven and brush them with melted butter.  Sprinkle with vanilla sugar and dust with icing sugar.  Let cool completely and then dust with more icing sugar. You can then wrap them well in baking parchment/greaseproof paper and let mature for 4-6 weeks, but I didn't.  Slice, toast (unless you used marzipan), butter, and have with tea!

On the left is my first attempt. Tasty, but heavy and a bit doughy. The ones on the right, I took to Bakehouse St Albans. They sold four out of six, which is slightly disappointing, but the women who work there said they were delicious and asked if I would bake more.


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  2. Very inspiring recipe. Merry Christmas!