Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finished Stollen

Stollen before snowy sugar dusting

This took longer than I expected to get into cyber-land. My apologies. I am only now starting my Stollen for the family, so you too have time to sneak in a big batch before Christmas. Don't hesitate to ask me questions about the recipe in the comments section as this is the first writing - I am working through it today and may make a few adjustments to process as I go along. Love to get the feedback so as to make the recipe as workable and easy to follow as possible, especially with these multi-step recipes. I have some candy and boozy raisins/currents kicking around, so I am going to start today.


This recipe is based on the Joy of Cooking recipe. There are some changes, such as making my own candied fruit, adding currants, having a slightly lower butter dough ratio and using marzipan instead of sliced almonds. Give yourself a day and a half to make this bread, soaking the raisins/currents overnight before you start.


1 cup raisins
1 cup currants
Rum or scotch to cover raisins and currents – about 1 cup
½ cup chopped candied fruit
½ cup minced candied lemon or orange zest
16 oz. marzipan (20 oz. if you love marzipan and want a really big strip of it in your bread)

2 tablespoon dried yeast
       1 ½ cups milk
3 cups flour

½ cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
zest of 2 oranges or lemons, minced
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour
3/4 cup butter, softened


1.      Soak raisins and currents overnight in the rum and/or scotch
2.      In the morning combine the candied fruit with the soaked dried fruit.
3.      Soften the yeast in the milk in a large bowl. Add flour and mix until you have a dough. Let rise for about an hour and a half, or until doubled in volume.
4.      Combine sugar, eggs and vanilla together, beating well. Stir into the sponge with the zest and salt. Add the flour, stirring together until you get a messy, partially mixed dough. Turn this floury, lumpy dough out onto a clean flat surface and knead until you have a nice smooth dough with a little spring to it – about 8 to 10 minutes. You can do this in a mixer if you have a large one.
5.      Roll or press the dough out into a large rectangular disc on the lightly floured work surface. This doesn’t have to be perfect, it is just allowing us to incorporate the butter into the dough. Spread the soft butter over the dough, roll the dough into a jelly roll, fold it over itself and start kneading again until all the butter is incorporated and you have a smooth, softly springy dough.
6.      Spread the dough out as outlined above in preparation for the boozy fruit. Sprinkle the fruit over the dough, roll and fold again and knead briefly to ensure the fruit is distributed evenly. Place in a buttered bowl and let rise, covered, for 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
7.      Punch the dough down, knead briefly on a lightly floured surface, then place back in the buttered bowl. Place in the fridge overnight (if you are in a rush you can also let the dough sit for a few hours and then continue – you will not have given the dough and fruit time to develop and marry flavours the same way that an extended sit would).
8.      Divide the dough into four pieces (or if you want large loaves, divide into two). Working with one ball of dough at a time, yet again, roll or press the dough into an oval-ish disc on a lightly floured surface. This is in preparation for rolling the dough around the marzipan filling. Let the dough rest while you divide the marzipan into 4 pieces. Roll one of the pieces into a strip the same length as the flattened disc of dough. Place the marzipan just of center of the dough lengthwise, closest to yourself. Fold the dough over the marzipan, leaving a slight lip on the bottom jutting out - see photo below.
9.      Place the dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining dough. . Let rise for about ½ an hour to 45 minutes. The dough should not double in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.
1  .  Bake the Stollen for 45 minutes for small loaves, about an hour for the large. Remove from the oven and brush with butter (or, if you have reserved the sticky, flavour drenched sugar syrup from the candied fruit – use this!). Sprinkle with powdered sugar until the bread is snowy white. Cool. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar if the top is looking spotty. Eat.

Here is the stollen folded over the marzipan, unrisen
Candied Fruit

 Candied Fruit

1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
1 ½ cups water

orange zest from 4 oranges
2 kiwi, sliced

1.      Combine sugar, honey and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, preferably something that can heat and cool quickly. Aluminum clad stainless steel or lined heavy copper works well. Heat slowly over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, increase the heat between medium to medium-high, to keep the syrup at a steady simmer – not too hot or fierce a boil as the syrup will boil over – and simmer steady for about 8 minutes…until it reaches 235 if you want to use a candy thermometer.
2.      Add the orange zest gradually to prevent cooling the syrup. Cook the zest at the slow simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove zest with a fork, trying to let any extra syrup drip off into the saucepan before setting on to parchment paper to cool.
3.      Keeping the syrup simmering, add kiwi slices gradually, (same reason as mentioned above), and simmer for about 35 minutes. Remove with a fork, trying to let any excess syrup drip off before placing the kiwi on parchment to cool.
4.      Once the zest and kiwi have cooled, let air-dry on a wire rack for a few hours.
5.      To finish the candied fruit, toss the candied orange zest in berry sugar to coat. Repeat with the kiwi. Store in a tin. Use to make Christmas breads and cakes instead of that horrible stuff you buy at the grocery store.
6.      Yeilds about ½ cup chopped candied zest and chopped kiwi (You could easily do twice as much zest with this much sugar syrup if you need more).

Friday, December 09, 2011

CBC Almanac Visit - all about bread

This first photo is my first try with a no gluten recipe. Not bad! Today I have posted four recipes: a no gluten bread, a sprouted bread, rye and Nic's Crackers - a recipe that came to me through the grapevine all the way from New Zealand! Nic, if you are listening "Thank you!!"

Run all the way to the bottom to see what I will be posting tomorrow - the final recipes for stolen, candied fruit and pizza. 
No Gluten Bread

3 cups Bob’s Red Mill blended all-purpose no-gluten flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 ½ teaspoons tragacanth powder
1 ½ teaspoons gelatin
a little salt
1 ½ cups water
2 eggs
5 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons honey
Little, tiny splash of white vinegar
2 ½ teaspoons yeast granules, dissolved in ¼ cup water with a teaspoon Bob’s Red Mill flour

brown rice flour
butter for greasing pan

1.      Blend flour, xanthan powder, tragacanth powder, gelatin and salt in a bowl.
2.      Blend water, eggs, melted butter and honey in a mixer until well combined.
3.      Add flour mixer slowly to the liquid mixture, mixing well between additions. After the first addition add the yeast mixture.
4.      Once all the flour has been added, beat the batter on med-high for 4 to five minutes. It will have lightened slightly in colour.
5.      Meanwhile, grease and flour a 8 by 4 loaf pan.
6.      Scrape the batter into the loaf pan, cover and let rest/rise for one hour in a warmish, draft-less spot in the kitchen.
7.      Bake at 375 for one hour. Cover the loaf with foil half way through baking.
8.      Allow the bread to cool before slicing.

     The recipe online was kind of confusing, (so of course I decided to use it!)not to mention I didn’t have guar guar gum. So I substituted tragacanth for it. We will see what happens. Both seem to be used to provide structure – although the tragacanth gum I usually use for my pastillage, so it isn’t cooked.
I am assuming all these gums are the structural substitute for gluten. They guar gum is legume based, while the tagacanth, while derived from a plant, is made from sap. Xanthan powder is derived from the fermentation of sucrose, fructose and lactose and is used as a stabilizer – it holds other ingredients in place or suspension. I guess this is to address the potential for the ingredients to separate during the rising and baking process.
     We shall see how my substitutions go.
     The substitutions went just fine. The bread has a very fine texture, small bubbles and a moist, kind of spongy crumb. It doesn’t bounce back like gluten bread, hence the spongy rather than springy description. Not at all bad … there is a distinct legume-y kind of smell to it, although no one else mentioned it in the family.
     So, I tried making it with rice flour....I'll talk about that on the show!

 Sweet Rye Bread

Well, this one did not turn out as well as my last one….I think the starter is not vigorous enough yet. We will slice it thin and spread it with sweet butter and it will still taste lovely. I am going to assume that if you make this recipe you have already made a starter. It doesn’t have to be 100% rye starter, you can use the recipe for a standard starter.

Rye Poolish (overnight batter)
240 ml boiled water – cooled to body temperature
½ cup rye flour

rye poolish
200 ml rye starter
120 ml honey (just over a 1/3rd of a cup)
50 ml water
2 ¾ cup rye flour
1 tsp salt
generous ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
zest of one orange, minced

1.      Butter and flour a 7 inch square pan.
2.      Combine rye polish, starter, honey and water.
3.      Stir in flour, salt, cardamom and zest.
4.      Pour the batter into prepared pan, smooth the surface. Cover and let rise 5 to 6 hours.
5.      Bake the loaf, covered with foil, for 1 hour at 375. Remove the cover and bake for 30 minutes more.
6.      Cool, wrap and let sit 2 days before serving.

 Sprouted Wheat Bread

Approximately one and a half days before baking:
Soak 3 cups of wheat berries 8 to 12 hours in tepid water (overnight). Drain, place in a colander lined with cotton cloth (no lint-ish fabric) or fine mesh fabric, cover with plate and set aside on another plate for 8 hours. Rinse with tepid water, cover and set aside again for 8 hours. Rinse and look carefully at the sprouts. You want them to just start sprouting for bread making. If they haven’t started by now, rinse again, set aside covered for 4 more hours and check again. Keep checking regularly until you see the little white sprout.

4 cups soaked, sprouted wheat berries
1/8 cup tepid water
1 teaspoon flour
2 ½ teaspoon granulated yeast
Approximately 2 tablespoons water

1.      Grind soaked wheat berries in the food processor. This can take approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
2.      When the grains are approximately ½ ground, (you will see the berries will be broken in half), add the yeast mixture.
3.      Continue blending. Add one or two tablespoons water to help grind and create a dough. This addition of water is dependent on how wet the wheat berries were when they were put into the food process. Grind the berries until a sticky, chunky coarse paste is formed that spins into a ball. Continue processing for a few more moments – the ball can break back down to spread to the sides, but when it does, stop processing the dough.
4.      Turn into an ungreased bowl, let rest/rise for an hour and a half.
5.      After the first rise, press the dough down, knead briefly (about 6 turns) working some more air into the dough. Shape into a round, place on a sheet of parchment set upon a bread/pizza peel or flat cookie sheet. Cover and let rise one to one and a half hours, or until when pressed with one finger, the dough bounces back slowly.
6.      Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375. Bake the risen bread for one hour.

Nic’s Crackers

1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb mix, or oregano (or one tablespoon fresh oregano, minced)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup water

1.      Mix flour, sesame seeds, herbs and salt together in a bowl.
2.      Combine oils and water, add to dry ingredients, stir to combine well.
3.      Divide the dough into four. Roll each piece into a ball, then start rolling out at thin as you can on a lightly floured surface. You can roll these crackers about as thick as a sesame seed. Cut into squares, bake at 325 for 15 to 20 minutes. The crackers will be golden brown when ready. 

Pear and blue cheese with caramelized onions

Stolen with marzipan filling and homemade candied fruit