It's this time of the year when everybody's making recapitulations of the past year, lists and plans for the new one. But I tend to never think of what I could have done but haven't. I never make planning lists just because the future is there, waiting for us and I prefer living it instead of planning it.
In Bulgaria, we have a tradition. On Christmas eve we are eating banitsa stuck with lucky charms. This year my fortune spell was “happy travellings” and Ivan got “new horizons”. Together these make the perfect lucky charm. This is exactly what I want, not only for the new year but for whole our life – the opportunity to travel, to see and taste new places, meet new people, try different cuisines and dive into different cultures. But this is not a plan, as plans never work with me. This is just my wish to the Universe. What's yours?
We have some work left from the past year since we haven't yet posted our stollen from the Daring Bakers challenges. Although we made it on time, we had no time to post about it, but we liked the recipe and it's worth sharing it. The last DB challenge for 2010 was hasted by Penny from Sweet Sadie's Baking and below is her recipe which we adapted a little bit.
Makes 2 big loaves
- 60 ml lukewarm water (30 - 40º C);
- 2 packages (14 grams) active dry yeast;
- 240 ml milk;
- 140 gr unsalted butter;
- 770 gr all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting;
- 115 gr sugar;
- 55 gr honey;
- 5 gr salt;
- 6 gr cinnamon;
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten;
- grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange;
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) very good vanilla extract;
- 135 gr mixed candied citrus peel;
- 200 gr raisins;
- 60ml rum;
- 12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the colour and the taste;(optional) or 50 gr dry cranberries;
- 100 gr marzipan or more( depending on your taste);
- Melted unsalted butter for coating the baked loaves;
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting.
Pour the lukewarm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.
In a small saucepan, combine milk, butter and honey over medium - low heat until butter and honey are melted. Let stand until lukewarm.
Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add vanilla extract.
In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.
Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter/honey mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
Add in the mixed peel, cranberries, soaked fruits plus any liquid if left. Mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. If using cherries instead of cranberries add them now, but be delicate with them or all your dough will turn red!
Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn't enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly.
The next morning, let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Punch dough down and divide in two or as many pieces as you like.
Roll out each dough piece into a rectangle about 5 mm thick. Roll out the marzipan to a thin or thicker rope (depending how you like it) and place it widthwise onto the rolled out dough Starting with the long side, roll the dough up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder. Transfer to the paper lined pan, cover with a clean towel and let proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.
Preheat oven to 180°C with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
Bake the stollen for around 40 minutes or until done. If needed bake for 25 minutes then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 15 more minutes. The bread should be baked to a dark mahogany colour and should register 88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
Wait for 1 minute, then brush another layer of melted butter and again tap a layer of powdered sugar.
The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keep the stollen fresh. The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
When completely cool, wrap in cellophane or store in a plastic bag.
The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days.