My husband loves Stollen. He will cut a slice off the loaf and then cut it into smaller pieces and proceed to dunk it into a glass of milk. Over the years his mommy would send us a loaf from Germany in our Christmas package along with other yummy treats. Unfortunately, the shipping cost has gotten way too expensive to send much of anything to us now. My husband has just about everything he really wants or needs, so I thought it would be nice to make him Stollen from scratch. It turns out it is much easier to make than I thought it would be, and according to my husband it is the best Stollen he has had in his 46 years of existence. I think he is just saying that to be nice, but I have to admit the Stollen I made wasn't too bad. There are several varieties of Stollen, but my favorite has marzipan in the dough. After looking at several recipes, I came up with my own.
1 Tablespoon of yeast dissolved in 2/3 cup of warm milk plus one Tablespoon of sugar to feed the yeast. Once yeast is dissolved, add 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Add one beaten egg and 1/2 teaspoon of salt along with almost 6 Tablespoons of melted butter. Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla or if you like 1 teaspoon of rum extract. Then add 2 1/2 cups of bread flour along with 1/3 cup of dried dates, 1/3 cup dried citron, and 1/3 cup currants and 1/3 cup dried cherries then chop up 6 ounces of marzipan into bite-size pieces and add to dough. Traditionally, you are suppose to roll the marzipan into a rope and fold the dough around the rope with the marzipan in the center. I like it throughout the dough. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. I forgot to add nuts, so if you like you can add 1/3 cup of chopped pecans or your favorite nut to the dough too. The dough will be slightly sticky so flour up your hands and kneed is ever so slightly. The place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise for one hour . After an hour punch dough down shape into a free-form loaf and place on baking sheet to rise a second time (about 1 hour). Bake loaf for 10 minutes at 350 degree and about 20 minutes at 300 degrees until loaf is golden brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool, but just before it cools brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with powder sugar. Now you have a piece of Weihnachten. The history of Stollen goes back to the year 1329, but may go back even further. Today the loaf is supposed to represent the baby Jesus. Originally, the recipe did not include butter or milk until the King of Germany petitioned the pope to drop the ban on using these ingredients during Advent season. Thank goodness, because I think this cake would have tasted like a brick. If you ever have a chances to go to Germany during the holiday season do it because the Christmas markets are so amazing.