Daring Bakers: Christmas Stollen

What a great challenge for Christmastime.  I wish I’d had a huge family to share this with.  I’d bring it out on a lovely platter.  Everyone would ooh and aah over this lovely sugar coated, fruit and nut filled bread.  But it is just me, Ben and the new baby at home…and the new baby can’t appreciate my culinary feats just yet.  We’re going out of town for Christmas, and traveling with this thing intact would be difficult.  So, I made my stollen, had a little photo shoot and cut it into pieces to pack away.  At least I can post the photo of my stollen for all of you!

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge 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.

The dough for the stollen was quite easy to prepare and work with.  While I was given the option to let my imagination run wild in what I added to the dough, I just used cranberries and sliced almonds.  As a new mom I decided it was OK for me to opt out of making the candied citrus peel.  It would have been quite nice in this bread though, so I wish I’d taken the time to make it.

I used orange juice instead of rum to soak the cranberries and it was a good substitute.  The citrus flavor was subtle, but nice.  If you’re really into citrus then definitely use the juice, more zest and the candied peel as well.

I froze half of the wreath and plan to bring it down to my parents for Christmas.  The other half I have been snacking on over the past week.  It is incredibly tasty toasted with a little spread of butter.  Now, the only issue I had was the bottom of the bread.  It was beyond browned.  It was beyond dark.  It was burnt.  Solution?  Slice off the bottom before enjoying!

You can find the recipe and photos here.  Merry Christmas!