What is stollen ? According to Dictionary.com, stollen is a sweetened bread made from raised dough, usually containing nuts, raisins and citron. In our family it is a bread, a tradition, a couple of days of preparation, trips out of town and fear !! My husband l-o-v-e-s stollen more than almost any other food. His German mother made them every year and stollen was very much missed the Christmas after she died. The following year, Deb, a poor but creative college student decided to surprise her dad and make him stollen as her present to him. She and her best friend Dawn did the prep and baking at Dawn’s house so that there wouldn’t be any signs of her surprise at our house until the unveiling on Christmas. Please CLICK HERE to read DEB’S BLOG POST of that fateful first foray into making stollen.
There it sits… unassuming and rising in its bowls.
Look at it, it’s massive. Inside the bowl are tons of candied fruit… fluorescent green cherries and unnaturally red cherries, glowing yellow lemon thingies, tons of raisins, tons of butter and I’m not sure what else. But in my husband’s opinion there’s never enough fruit… he’s one of the handful of people worldwide who actually like candied fruit.
After rising overnight Deb shapes them into loaves. Just look at all that fruit. And then the scary part begins. Remember I mentioned trips out of town and fear and you probably wondered why? Well, I’ll tell you. Stollens and ovens don’t always get along… the oven has been known to bake the stollens to a beautiful golden brown on the outside and leave them a mushy, yeasty mess on the inside. For Deb the actual putting them in the oven and waiting to see what disaster ensues is the worst part. By baking time she’s tired and really just wants it to be over with. She has a very even and joyful temperment… usually… but on stollen day it has been known to flare up… a lot. The best thing for all of us is to NOT be around. One year my husband went to FL and I went to MA. Another year we went to Martha’s Vineyard for the Christmas in Edgartown weekend. Well, we tried to, we got as far as Woods Hole but a pesky nor’easter/blizzard prevented us from getting to the Vineyard and so we had to come home. The past few years she’s started them on one night and then baked them the next day… but still we are out of the house for at least most of the day. So there they sit waiting to be baked.
… let’s see how they did.
They’re beautiful aren’t they. They seem to like the new oven and the oven was good to them. Stollen day is over for another year… yippee.
Besides making stollen for her dad, Deb makes sure there’s some for her aunt and cousin too. All the stollens are now wrapped up in baggies and in the freezer waiting for Christmas.
Actually all the stollens aren’t in the freezer. There’s a small preview one for breakfast the next morning. It looks yummy doesn’t it.
Breakfast is ready.