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Stollen with Marzipan

Stollen with Marzipan is a Christmas-season specialty This stollen is a yeast bread that’s filled with a fruit-and-almond paste. The recipe makes three loaves, so you have one or two to eat and at least one to give as a gift.

You may be used to following a recipe precisely, but when it comes to yeast breads like stollen, you must rely, to some extent, on touch and feel. You want the dough to be smooth and springy, but not sticky or wet. Sometimes you need a little more or a little less flour to get your dough the way it needs to be. So don’t be put off by the range of flour; if you follow the recipe, you’ll know when you’ve added enough.

Stollen with Marzipan

Preparation time: 3 hours

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Yield: 3 loaves, 10 slices per loaf

2/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries

2/3 cup golden raisins

2/3 cup dark raisins

2/3 cup candied orange peel

2/3 cup dark rum, brandy, or orange juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1-1/4 cups warm (about 115 degrees) milk

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds, natural or blanched

5 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil

8 ounces almond paste or marzipan

  1. Combine the dried fruit, candied orange peel, rum (or other liquid), extracts, and zest in a small bowl; set aside to soak.

  2. Stir together 1/4 cup of the warm milk and the yeast in a large bowl; set aside in a warm place for the yeast to proof, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the remaining milk, melted butter, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in the soaked fruit and nuts. Stir in 4 cups of flour to make a very soft dough. Gradually add more flour, using your hands to stir, until the dough comes together and forms a smooth, springy, elastic ball. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes.

  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn it over a few times to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean, damp towel and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise for at least 2 hours or until it’s almost doubled in size.

  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. With an open palm, roll the almond paste into three logs about 6-inches long. Let them lie there for the time being.

  6. Gently punch down the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Divide into three equal pieces. Pat out each piece until it’s about 1/2 inch thick and 9 inches around. Returning to the almond paste logs, use a rolling pin to roll out each log to a circle 1 inch smaller than the dough and place the almond paste on the dough; fold the top half over the bottom half, leaving a 1-inch strip of the bottom edge exposed.

  7. Place the breads on sheet pans, cover with clean, damp towels, and set in a warm, draft-free area to rise for about 1 hour.

  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the breads until they’re golden brown, about 45 minutes, rotating the pans front to back once during the baking time. Cool breads directly on rack for 10 minutes before proceeding with topping.

During the first rise, the dough may not quite double in size. This is a very dense dough and it does not rise high like some others. After rising, look for a softness and springiness when you touch it.

Telling whether a yeast dough is thoroughly baked is a little different than with other baked goods. Try this trick of the trade employed by professional bread bakers. Pick up the baked loaf and knock the bottom with your knuckles. It should sound hollow. If it’s underbaked, the interior will still be moist and it will sound like a dull thud.

Coating for Stollen

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sugar

2 cups confectioners' sugar

  1. Brush the cooling, but still warm, breads with melted butter and then roll the breads in sugar.

    Don’t skimp on this last basting and coating step.

  2. Cool completely, then roll the breads in confectioners sugar. Store for up to 1 week at room temperature in airtight plastic bag.

Per serving: Calories 288 (From Fat 117); Fat 13g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 43mg; Sodium 96mg; Carbohydrate 40g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 5g.

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