Black Forest Stollen

For some time now I’ve been searching for a Stollen recipe that is authentically German and not overly sweet like the versions I’ve found in American cookbooks. As luck would have it, one of my coworkers is the son of a German baker. With a little pleading I was able to get a couple of authentic recipes.

This version is adapted from a recipe published in a modern German cooking magazine and the original version that my friend’s father made in his bakery. Without the marzipan center and the thick coating of powdered sugar, it is decidedly more bread-like and less sweet than American adaptations of this traditional recipe.

Measurements have been converted from weight to American volume and tweaked to my own tastes. You can adjust the amounts of the fruits and nuts to your liking.

Note: this recipe should be made at least one week before it is eaten, to allow the flavors to mature and blend together. Will keep for weeks unopened, so it’s great to make ahead of time for holiday gifts.

Makes 2 Stollen

Equipment
A large mixing bowl (at least 14-inch diameter) to mix and rise the dough
Stand mixer for first stage of the dough (optional)
Parchment paper
Aluminum foil

Ingredients
6 & 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + 1/2 cup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2-3 T. fine sugar for dusting
2 packets dried bread yeast
1 pound unsalted butter plus extra for brushing
1 & 2/3 cups milk
2 cups whole almonds
4 cups golden raisins (sultanas)
1/2 cup (packed tight) candied lemon peel
1/2 cup (packed tight) candied orange peel
1/3 cup medium or dark rum (not spiced rum)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg

Procedure
1. Roast and chop the almonds.

2. Chop the candied citrus and place into a bowl with the raisins. Toss all the fruit with the 1/2 cup flour to ensure they are not clumping together.

3. Melt the butter and warm the milk slightly. In the large mixing bowl combine the 6 &1/2 cups flour, salt, 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, yeast, nutmeg, melted butter and warmed milk and mix until thoroughly combined. (Optionally, mix this first dough stage in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, then transfer to the large mixing bowl.) Dough should be wet and sticky; if not add a little more milk. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen cloth and set in a warm place for 20 minutes to rise.

4. Add to the dough the dried fruit, almonds, rum and remaining granulated sugar, and knead together for 8-10 minutes or until thoroughly combined. If the dough is not wet enough it will be very difficult to work in all the fruit and nuts – add a little more milk if needed. Form the dough into a ball and let rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F.

5. Divide the dough in half. Dust with flour and roll each half into a flat rectangle approximately 14 by 14 inches. Shape the loaf by making a crease in the dough lengthwise at 1/3 of the width, then fold this third over onto the remaining 2/3 of the loaf. Repeat the folding process with the second loaf and place both loaves onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone baking mat. Set aside and allow to rise for a final 30 minutes.

6. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes. Remove the Stollen from the oven and allow to cool sightly. Brush each loaf with melted butter and dust with the fine grained sugar.

7. Wrap each loaf tightly first in parchment paper and then in a layer of aluminum foil. Store in a cool, dry place for at least one week before unwrapping and cutting. Stollen will keep for several weeks after cutting if kept wrapped between servings.