Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge - December 2010

The 2010 December Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie's Baking. She chose to challenge the Daring Bakers to make Stollen. She adapted a friend's family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinharts book....and Martha Stewart's demonstration.

I was especially excited for this month's DB challenge, being December and all. Many in the group, including myself, were afraid it would be fruit cake. Though stollen, a German Christmas bread, contains fruit and nuts, it's bread, not that nasty rum soaked door stop of a cake.

Having never made stollen before, I stuck pretty close to the original recipe, using raisins, orange scented dried cranberries, candied citrus peel, and almonds. Be warned: this makes quite a hunk of dough. As you can see, my regular wooden rolling pin was no match, and I had to break out my 20" pin I use for fondant. When all was said and done, the dough, when rolled out completely, was larger than the 20" pin! Part of the challenge was to shape the dough like a wreath. This was a lovely touch for the holiday season. To top it all off, the bread is traditionally coated in alternating layers of melted butter and powdered sugar -- 3 layers each. I figured one fairly generous layer of butter and sugar would be more than enough, and it most certainly was.

This recipe is definitely a keeper, but only for company, 'cause this thing was huge (I baked it on a 16" pizza pan)!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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