With a dusting of powdered sugar and looking like a snow capped landscape, stollen is a wonderful holiday treat. Stollen is a rich yeast bread loaded with candied orange peel, cherries, raisins and a thin layer of marzipan is tucked inside. When I was a child, a family friend made stollen for us every Christmas season. My mother tucked it into the freezer, so that we could have it on Christmas morning. Then as an adult, before I had children, I made stollen every Christmas for friends and family, but I haven't made it in years, so this was a fun challenge to do with the kids. Rather than making a stollen wreath, we chose to make the traditional loaf shape.
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. .
Since the recipe is long and detailed, this is the link to the printable Daring Bakers Stollen Recipe.
We decide to make our own candied orange peel for the bread and it really was the highlight of this recipe. We have a large tree in the backyard, and the winter season brings baskets full of the fresh fruit, so we were excited to try these out. The fresh candied peel was soft, sweet and delcious in the bread, a pleasant change from the store bought variety which can be hard and chewy.
Candied Citrus Peel
Remove the peel from 3 or 4 oranges (or lemons,limes or grapefruits) and cut in strips.
Blanch the peel 3 times. Place peel in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. When the water boils, drain and repeat twice more, for a total of three times.
Make a simple syrup: Put water and sugar in a medium pot stir to dissolve sugar and bring to boil. I used equal parts water and sugar, but I have seen recipes that use 3 parts sugar to 1 part water. You need enough syrup to cover the citrus peel. For 3 oranges I used 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar.
Add citrus peel to the simple syrup and simmer until translucent. This took me about an hour. The time will vary depending on how thick your citrus peel is. When translucent remove from the syrup, drain and place on a wire rack to dry. Once drained,you can roll the peel in additional sugar before drying, but I thought this was just to sugary and we ended up knocking the sugar coating off our peels.
Store in an air tight jar in the refrigerator or freeze.