Christmas Stollen (Daring Bakers Challenge) and My Thoughts on Yeast Doughs

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 is here

I followed the recipe and made a large as well as several small stollens.  However, instead of following the yeast rising schedule, I used the method I learned from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day in which you just mix the dough without kneading and let it rest in the fridge (I use the fruit cellar in the winter – it works perfectly).  In the book they say you can leave the dough for as long as a week, and I have done this and the bread is great.  In the book they have a recipe for brioche that is a similar dough recipe to the stollen, so I just used the long rest method and let the dough sit for three days before I had time to make the actual stollen.  The advantage of this method is that by letting the dough rest in a cool place you get essentially a sour dough development, with resulting more complex flavour.

There are various methods on this cool rise technique, but I highly recommend this book.  I use this method for all yeast doughs now.  They also have a new book with healthier recipes including gluten free.

My kids were here for the holidays, and the stollen little buns were eaten quickly.  Today with the kids gone and a quiet house, I tried another use for this cake – I cut it up into chunks and put caramel sauce over it with left over whip cream.  Mmmmmmmm, sort of like a Christmas version of Baba au Rhum!  Try it.

Thanks to Penny for this challenge, it made a great treat for the holidays.

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