I was so excited to find the December challenge was yeast bread, I woke Sydney up in wee early morning to tell her. She was not so excited, since it was 3:00 am, but by 7:30 she felt differently. She also respectfully asked me to never wake her before six in morning. What trooper.

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.

That morning I ran out to the local book store and purchased Peter Reinhart’s book..The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I had been wanting to add the book to my library anyway and this was the perfect excuse. I thumbed through the entire book, and finally read his recipe on the stollen. After some time I felt I had a solid understanding of what was expected, so we began to create the stollen.

I already own a few scales, due to the fact that my husband and I created an apple app converting measurement, substituting ingredients, and the ability to add your own ingredients; The Culinary Calculator. We spent months testing, weighing, every ingredient imaginable, sorry I have gone off topic.

Back to the Stollen, I grabbed my sponge ingredients as Sydney heated the water to 43 degrees C/110 degrees F, prior to heating the water we mixed rum with rasin and cranberries to wake them up with a kick of flavor!

The sponge took a short rest on counter for about 60 minutes, as the sponge napped we started candying the zest. Sydney and I peeled with great caution, as not to have any pith on the strips, and then cut the peel into thin strips. The strips were blanched for 1 to 2 minutes, enough time to remove the bitterness without loosing the vibrant beautiful color. The water must start cold and come to a boil with the strips of zest in the pot.

After blanching the zest twice it was time to began a simple syrup bath for our lemon, lime, cara cara and navel orange. We then transferred the candied zest to a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper, and transferred once more to a cooling rack. After about one hour we let the zest roll around in white sanding sugar and set aside till they were needed.

It was now time to awaken the covered resting sponge, the extra 50 minutes didn’t seem to harm the sponge; we gathered the flour, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, orange zest (not the candied), cinnamon, butter, and water.

We weighed all the ingredients to the correct amounts, began mixing the flour, sugar, salt, fresh zest (not the ones we candied), and cinnamon on low-stir speed in the bowl of my standing mixer with the paddle attachment. After about 30 seconds we added the sponge,eggs, butter, and the water, on low speed. When the dough transformed into a  soft, but not sticky ball (this process took about 2 minutes) Sydney grabbed the plastic wrap and I covered the bowl. The dough was able to have a short nap of 10 minutes,(rested for 10 minutes).

After the 10 minutes I grabbed the rum soaked raisins and dried cranberries, with my hand I added them to the dough, and than floured the counter top and kneaded the dough. The dough should feel soft, satiny, tacky, but not sticky. I kneaded the dough by hand for about 7 minutes (I know the instructions required 8 minutes, but we both felt it was ready). We placed the wonderful satiny dough in a lightly oiled bowl and placed it in our proofer for about 45 minutes.

Looks Good!

The dough felt good, so I went ahead to flour the counter top and roll the dough into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cm) and 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick. We wanted our stollen to have marzipan and the candied zest we had created while the sponge was resting nicely!

We wanted the stollen to be shaped like a wreath, Sydney explained to roll the dough starting with the long side, once the dough was rolled to the center we added the candied zest and marzipan, continued rolling, joined the two ends together, and cut with a sharp kitchen scissors about every 5 cm apart. Now I must admit at first when I read “twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape” my brain went blank. I, for what ever reason, could not picture this twist. Thank goodness Sydney has a full functioning brain and demonstrated this twist. So we now had our shape and the wreath dough needed a little more proofing.

So Cute!

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 Recipe:














59 grams/ ¼ -cup water warmed to 43ºC/ 110ºF

14 grams/ 2¼-teaspoon yeast, 1 packet

244 grams/ 1 cup whole milk

140 grams/10 Tablespoons, unsalted butter

660 grams/ 5½ -cup cup all-purpose flour, sifted






1 cup raisins, plus additional for sprinkling on the final dough

¼ -cup candied orange peel

¼-cup candied lemon peel

Orange or lemon essence(I used less than 1 Tablespoon due to essence being more castrated)

54 grams/ ½-cup rum

270 grms2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

13 grams/ 1 tbsp sugar

4.5grams/ ¾-teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1-teaspoon ground cinnamon

170grams/ 1-cup dried cranberries

170grams/ 1- cup dried golden raisin

3 large egg, 99grams


Icing sugar, for dusting

Melted butter, for coating







Soak the raisins and dried cranberries in a medium bowl with a 54 grams/ ½-cup of the rum, let the dried fruit soak for at least 1 hour.



Make the sponge by warming the water to about 100°F (37°C, just lukewarm) Whisk in the flour and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for 1 hour or until the sponge is very foamy and ready to collapse when tapped.

To make the dough, in a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, salt, orange and lemon zest and cinnamon.


Stir in the sponge, egg, butter, and enough water to form a soft, but not sticky, ball. Mix for about 2 minutes. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.




Add in the fruits and mix to incorporate.



Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, knead (or mix with the dough hook) to distribute the fruits evenly, adding more flour if needed. The dough should feel soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for about 6 minutes (4 minutes by machine) Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


Ferment at room temperature for 45 minutes. The dough will rise somewhat but not double in size.


Sprinkle flour lightly on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. If you are making two loafs, divide the dough in half. Roll out the dough into 1 or 2 rectangles, begin adding the fillings: roll marzipan into a thin rope, place onto the dough and additional fruit/zest along side of the marzipan. Roll up the dough, sealing the crease by pinching the dough with your hands. I decided to construct homemade candied zest for the recipe for candying fruit is on my post Happy Holidays Candied Fruit.

Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 




Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.


Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of the circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape.

Mist the dough with spray oil, cover with plastic wrap, proof for about 1 hour or until the dough is 1 1/2 times its original size.


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), bake it on the middle rack for 40 minutes for 2 loafs, or up to 60-70 minutes for 1 big loaf. You may need to turn the sheet for an evenly baking. The stollen should be deeply golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Transfer to a cooling rack, brush the top with vegetable oil while still hot, immediately tap with a layer of powdered sugar through a sieve. After 1 minute repeat. The stollen should be generously coated with powdered sugar. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.


Storing: When completely cool, put the stollen in a plastic bag.

Happy Holidays!

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