Christmas Bread

Stollen – Christmas Bread

I have included this amongst my cake recipes because this is a bread that tastes like cake and makes your house smell like Christmas Cakes are baking.  I got the recipe from a book given to me by a good friend Dr. Susan D’souza and I have had a really good time going through the book .

This bread has to rise for 5 hours, so start early in the morning.

The Recipe:

85 gms each of red and green tuitti fruitti, mixed; 55 gms  raisins, chopped; 2 tbsp candied peel, chopped; 2 tbsp whiskey; 55 gms salted butter; 375 gms unbleached bread flour plus extra for dusting; 1 tsp mixed spice; 2 tsp instant yeast; finely grated rind of 1 large lemon; 1 egg , beaten; 40 gms almond flakes; olive oil for brushing; 175 gms marzipan coloured pink; melted butter for brushing; sifted icing sugar for dredging.

Place the mixed fruits in a glass bowl, add the whiskey, mix together and cover and keep aside. Place the butter, milk and sugar in a pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts.  This takes a few minutes.  Cool until lukewarm.  Sift the flour and mixed spice into a bowl.  Add the instant yeast.  Mix together with a wooden spoon.  Make a well in the centre and stir in the milk mixture, grated lemon rind and egg.  Beat into a dough using the dough hooks.

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes.  Knead in the soaked fruits with the whiskey and the almonds.  Transfer to a clean, oiled glass bowl.  Cover and let stand in a warm place for up to 3 hours or doubled in size. ( This is when you make the marzipan).  Turn out onto a floured work surface, knead for 2 minutes, then roll out to a 25 cm or 10 inch square.  (I rolled it out on the back of my 10 inch cake pan).

Roll the marzipan into a sausage shape shorter than the length of the dough.  Place in the centre.  Fold the dough over the marzipan overlapping it.  Seal the ends with a little water.  Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet, cover with cling film and let stand in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.  Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C or 375F for 40 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.  Brush with melted butter, dredge with icing sugar and cool on a wire rack.  Slice and serve.  This is my idea of heaven.

Marzipan

500gms almond meal; 250 gms icing sugar; 250 gms caster sugar (blend in mixer); ¼ tsp. almond essence; white of two medium sized eggs; squish of lemon juice; food colouring to colour eggs. 100 chocolate nutties. Baskets for decoration.

Place almond meal in bowl. Add the icing sugar and powdered caster sugar. Mix together. Make a well in centre and fold in the almond essence and lemon juice. Add the egg white a little at a time until the mixture in the bowl becomes a soft dough. Discard remaining egg white. Divide into portions and wrap with cling film. Add a few drops of desired food colouring to one portion and knead until marzipan is evenly coloured.  (I used pink food colouring in this recipe).  Use as and when required.

This has been my most ambitious project to date and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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