Dresden Stollen is a traditional German Christmas Bread. I plan on making as many Christmas treats as I can this year. I adapted this from Big Sur Bakery’s recipe.
¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup bread flour
For the stollen:
1 ¼ cup unsalted butter, plus extra for coating the bowl
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground clove
¼ tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. almond extract
1 ¼ cups dried candied orange zest
2 cups mixture of currants and golden raisins (soaked in 3 cups of dark rum overnight or longer)
½ cup raw unbalanced almonds
3 cups bread flour
For the almond paste center:
7 oz. almond paste
½ cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Start the morning or night before you are baking and soak the raisins and currants in rum.
In an electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, combine the milk, flour, and yeast until a loose dough is formed, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a buttered bowl big enough for the sponge to double in size. Cover with plastic wrap then place in a warm part of the kitchen until it doubles in size (approx. 30-60 minutes).
Scatter the almonds on a cookie sheet and toast until very light brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely and roughly chop. Meanwhile, cream the butter, spices, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix to combine.
Drain the currants and reserve the rum. Toss together the currants, candied fruit, and toasted almonds and reserve until ready to use.
In the electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the sponge and the remaining flour with the butter mixture. Mix on medium until the dough is shiny and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add currant, raisin, fruit and nut mixture until incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a ball, keeping a smooth skin of dough over the top that contains the currant-nut mixture inside the dough. Place the dough in a buttered bowl large enough to let it double in size and cover it with plastic film. Let it rise in a warm part of the kitchen until it doubles, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and cut into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a football, keeping the smooth skin on top and tucking in the fruit underneath. Let the breads rest for a few minutes covered with plastic film. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flip them over on your work surface. Punch them to get rid of any air bubbles and tuck the dough over and in to form a tight football shape. Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough. Let them rest on the table covered with a plastic bag for 15 minutes.
While they’re resting, cut the almond paste into four pieces and roll them into 4 logs about 6 inches long. After the 15 minute rest period, take your first loaf and flip it on a floured surface. Roll the center of the loaf until it’s 1/2-inch thick with a rolling pin to create a cradle about 4 inches wide while keeping the edges thick. Place the log in the center and fold the top half over. Press with the side of your hand to create a crease between the log and the two thick pieces of dough. Place the shaped loaves on two sheet pans lined with parchment paper, apart from each other so they can double in size. Place the trays in plastic garbage bags and then set in a warm part of the kitchen for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough is spongy to the touch.
While it if rising for the final time, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Once the bread is cool enough to handle, brush it generously with the reserved rum and melted butter. Sprinkle with the sugar and dust heavily with powdered sugar. Eat right away or store it wrapped in plastic film.
(Adapted From The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant, William Morrow An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2009)