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BBA Challenge #36: Stollen

So one thing that I didn’t think about when I decided to change the order of the Panettone is that the next bread after it in the list is Stollen — not just another fruit and nut bread, but also one that is almost the exact same recipe. After making the Panettone, I was not exactly excited to begin on the Stollen, and to make matters worse, the next two breads (Swedish Rye and Tuscan) I am also not too excited about. All of this is basically my excuse for not baking this bread earlier.

Stollen is a Christmas bread and I have three weeks off from work for the winter holidays. As I Tweeted earlier today, after the Stollen I only have seven more breads left in the BBA Challenge. One of my plans for the break is to finish the Challenge, so I planned to make the Stollen today.

First you make a starter by warming up milk and then whisking in flour and yeast. The first time I tried this, the results were not so good.

Failed Starter

I misread the Celsius temperature on my thermometer for Fahrenheit, so I let the milk get much too hot. Then when I tried to whisk in the flour, it clumped up, and the yeast just stuck to the outside. I thought this was not what it was supposed to look like, so I tried again.

Starter

This looks a little better. I was supposed to used whole milk, but I didn’t have any so I mixed 1% and half and half to get an approximate.

I also mixed the King Arthur flour fruit mix with Bacardi and orange/lemon oil. The BBA recipes have been, in my opinion, almost too full of add-ins so I only put one cup of fruit blend in and not the extra cup of golden raisins, and later I added only one ounce of almonds instead of two. That was because I only had one ounce of almonds left. I ran out of orange oil in the middle of the tablespoon, so I topped it off with lemon oil. I think those were all of the changes I made.

Fruit Mix

Last week I made a trip out to the Penzey’s store in Chestnut Hill. I had ordered from Penzey’s over the internet before, but hadn’t been to the store, even though I am lucky enough to live pretty close to one. One of the things I picked up was Indonesian Cinnamon, which is supposed to be a milder variety than the usual. I thought I should try it, since I am not a huge fan of strong cinnamon flavors.

Cinnamon

After an hour, the starter was very puffy:

Starter Risen

I mixed the dough, but once I added the the fruit and liquor, the dough needed a lot more flour:

Mixed

Kneading

I think I had to add almost an extra cup of flour to get the dough to be “tacky but not sticky.” Then I put it aside to rise.

Ready to Rise

I have been having a problem because I am keeping my house fairly cool in the winter, and my bread dough has not been rising well at all. After 45 minutes, I was not surprised to see not much difference in my dough.

Risen

I divided the dough in half, shaped them into batards, and curved them on the sheet pan.

Shaped

Shaped

I let them rise again for an hour and a half. For the last half hour, I put the sheet pan on top of the preheating oven to encourage more rising.

Risen

I baked them for twenty minutes, turned the pan, and baked them for another twenty minutes. They measured over 190 degrees when I checked them the first time.

Baked

I brushed them with oil while warm, and used a sieve to sprinkle confectioners sugar all over the loaves. I think the confectioners sugar topping went a long way towards giving the Stollen the edge over the Panettone in my book.

Sugared

Sugared

Sugared

I let them cool before cutting into them.

Sliced

As I have said before, I am not a fan of fruit and nut breads in general, but I did like this bread much better than the Panettone. I don’t think decreasing the amount of fruit and nuts added in had a negative impact on the bread, and the confectioners sugar really helped the deliciousness factor. Despite the fact that I put off making this bread, I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. It was also a plus that the recipe could be done all in one day, which is rare for the BBA breads. I give it three and a half stars.

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