One neat thing about the food blogging community is the inspiration we all draw from each other, and the challenges we undertake as a result. In particular, I’ve been impressed with what goes on with The Daring Bakers, as every month, we are challenged to undertake a recipe selected by a member.Last month was my first challenge, and I adored the pasta frolla and enjoyed the flexibility we all had with the filling.
This month, I read the challenge, and was truly terrified. The recipe called for something that has taunted the baker in me for years.
Isn’t that scary? Dude, it’s YEAST. It’s really easy to accidentally kill your yeast, or under-knead, or just plain screw it up and make a loaf of brick, er, bread, that’s inedible. But I don’t shy away from a challenge, so off I went on the December 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge, which was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration. You can see her more detailed instructions here should you wish to attempt this challenge yourself from the original recipe
I adapted the recipe to suit my own tastes, and included orange, cranberries, and white chocolate as the featured flavors.
Here’s how my stollen-making experience went.
Orange-Cranberry White Chocolate Stollen Ingredients
¼ cup lukewarm water
4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup milk
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
5½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange oil
¾ cup candied orange peel
1 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces chopped white chocolate
1 cup flaked almonds
To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast on the water and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely, then pray that this won’t be another yeast-based baking failure (the last step is mandatory).
In a small saucepan, combine milk butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add the vanilla extract and orange oil. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.
Then mix in the yeast/water mixture, egg mixture, and milk water mixture with a paddle attachment on low speed until the dough comes together.
Cover the bowl with a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, pull out your featured ingredients, which should include some chocolate. Here, white chocolate.
And some homemade candied orange peel, which I had from my previous chocolate-covered candied orange peel exploits.
Once the dough has rested 10 minutes, mix in the candied orange peel, dried cranberries, white chocolate and almonds on low speed. Once the additions are incorporated, attach the dough hook to the mixture and knead for approximately six minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl, roll dough to cover in oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Now for the shaping and baking, where I had a lot of fun, as evidenced by the photo at the top of this post. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let rest for two hours. Punch down the dough and divide it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 8”x12” rectangle.Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder. Shape like a candy cane.
Repeat with the other three portions of dough, and then transfer the shaped dough to a pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes, turning the pan halfway through baking.
Once out of the oven, break open one of the delicious-smelling loaves to see what this tastes like.
While I may be the champion, I still had some plain-looking stollen that vaguely resembled candy canes. How on earth to make it more obvious? Whip out two divided cups of powdered sugar, add just a tad of milk, and color one batch of this simple icing red while leaving the other white.
Using a spoon, I painted stripes of alternating colors with this icing.
Once finished, it really, really looked like a candy cane. And still tasted incredible.
Nobody I shared this with believed that this was essentially fruitcake, but since they were so busy devouring it by the mouthful, they didn’t really have much to say.
Thanks for the challenge, Penny – so happy to have conquered yeast-based baking.
Do you like baking with yeast? What’s your favorite yeast-based recipe?