Monday, December 20, 2010

Mrs. Kekelia's Stollen, German Christmas Bread

A bread rich in eggs, sweet in butter and filled with fruit and nuts is always perfect for Christmas.

The Stollen form represents the Christ Child in swaddling clothes.  
The smell of Stollen made me feel right at home in College Point.

Hope it makes your guests feel welcome, too.


Grease 2 cookie sheets
Preheat oven to 325ยบ 

Blanch, toast and chop
1 1/3 cups almonds
Reserve 1/3 cup almonds for topping.
Mix remaining almonds with
1 cup golden (or dark) raisins
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped citron
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
Set aside.
Heat  to scalding
1 cup milk
Let it stand until it is lukewarm.
Pour into a warmed mixing bowl
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
Stir until yeast is dissolved.
Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl put
1 cup butter (or margarine) softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Add the milk and stir until butter is melted.
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Stir softened yeast and add.
3 cups flour
Beat until smooth.
Add, in thirds
3 large eggs, well beaten
Beat until smooth.
Add the reserved fruit-nut mixture.
Mix thoroughly.
Add enough flour to make a soft dough
(about 3 to 4 cups). 

Turn out on a lightly floured surface and
allow it to rest 10 minutes.

Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Put in an oiled bowl, turning the dough 
to coat it with oil.
Cover with waxed paper and a towel.
Let stand in a warm place away from drafts 
about 2 1/2 hours (until doubled in bulk).

Punch down the dough and turn dough over in bowl.
Cover with waxed paper and a towel and 
let rest 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and turn out
onto a lightly floured surface.
Divide into 2 portions and shape each 
into a smooth ball.
Allow dough to rest 10 minutes.

Shape dough into an oval 13 in. long and 1 in. thick 
and fold over one lengthwise half.
Lightly press edges together.
Pres the fold down firmly to prevent dough from
springing open during rising.
Repeat to form second oval.

Place one stollen on each greased sheet.
Brush tops with
Melted butter
Cover with waxed paper and let rise in a warm place 
about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.
While baking prepare frosting by combining
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Add gradually
2 to 3 tablespoons milk or cream
to make spreading consistency
Remove baked stollen to cooling racks.
Immediately spread frosting and
sprinkle reserved almonds over frosting.

A few finely cut candied cherries can also be added
to the almonds and sprinkled on top.

Some Moms didn't use icing but generously dusted the 
loaves with sifted confectioner's sugar.  
Powdery, but also good.

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