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Easy Christmas Stollen

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Easy Christmas Stollen

Easy Christmas Stollen on First Rising

Photo © Elizabeth Yetter

Every Christmas season, I make a few batches of German stollen to serve my kids and give as gifts. This year, I planned an easy stollen recipe so that even beginning bread bakers can easily make their own loaves.

Yield: one large or two small loaves

Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp (2 pkg. or 1/2 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Grated rind of 1 small lemon
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, about
  • 1/2 cup mixed candied fruits
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 cu confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. In large bowl, mix water and yeast. Add milk, eggs, soft butter, sugar, salt, and lemon. Stir. Add 3 cups of flour and mix well. Slowly add in remaining flour, enough flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is soft and smooth to the touch. Place dough in large greased bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so that the top is also lightly greased. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

  2. Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead in candied fruit and almonds for 4 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread. Divide dough in half for two small loaves, if desired.. Pat dough into a 1-1/2 inch thick oval. Fold in half. Set folded loaf on greased baking sheet and repeat with second half if you are making small loaves. Brush loaf or loaves with melted butter.Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

  3. Bake loaf at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until the breads are golden brown. Remove loaves from sheet and let cool on rack.

  4. In small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Put frosting on bread. Allow to set for another 15 minutes before slicing.

Bread Baking Tips:

  1. Lemon and orange zest can be gathered ahead of time. Make sure to only grate off the colored part of the peel. The white part, the pith, will make the bread bitter.

  2. Keep yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.

  3. Store flour properly to keep it from spoiling.

  4. You can use any type of milk in this recipe: whole milk, skim, low fat, etc. Milk can also be replaced with water and nonfat dry milk.

  5. Milk can be replaced with soy milk.

  6. There is a milk to dry milk powder conversion table. Use it to figure out how much dry milk to add to the water when replacing the milk in the recipe.

  7. Egg substitute can be used in place of the egg.

  8. Use bottled water instead of tap water to make your breads. Water softeners and chlorinated public water can sometimes kill the yeast needed to make your bread dough rise.
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