Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sourdough Stollen - Sourdough Surprises

I am somewhat of a Grinch. All around me people are talking about Christmas cookies and cakes and I am just not feeling it. In December, my main focus is usually on what kind of birthday cake I want to make for myself and Christmas baking is tossed to the wayside. If I am home with my mother, I will bake the traditional Jamaican Christmas cakes - rum, wine and fruit laden cakes. I love booze in my cakes but I do not like the fruit. But I "suffer" through it for the sake of tradition. Plus, if I am making them, I get to blend the fruits to oblivion and use as little of the brightly coloured peel as possible. Look, let me totally honest here, you won't tell anyone, right? For years, I barely ate a bite of those cakes. But now? If you gave me a slice, I would gobble it up - fruits and all. I really don't think I dislike the fruits that much anymore. Plus, it's hard to resist a slice of home. I just stick to the story and use it as a reason not to bake. Don't tell anyone. 

Mmmm. Melted butter.

I had no intention of doing any sort of holiday themed baking though. However, Sourdough Surprises insisted otherwise. I do love this group - my Grinchdom (not a word,  I know) is not tolerated! This month we are baking stollen - a German Christmas bread that is stuffed with lots of liquor soaked fruits. Fret not, if you are a dried fruit hater, you can simply choose ones you don't dislike. Cranberries? Mango? Homemade candied orange peel? That's what I used. And if you really don't like any at all - go for chocolate chips. If I weren't already riding a chocolate high, I would have gone chocolate. If you don't like chocolate, I have nothing to say to you. We can't be friends. That much I know. Wait...actually, we can be friends. You would give me any chocolate that you got and I would never have to share my chocolate with you ever. This could work. 

Do you think that's enough powdered sugar?

Now, I have never seen or tasted stollen before (another reason I love this group - introducing me once again to new things). This means that if you're a stollen expert reading this, you may be clutching your heart. I didn't use marzipan. I used non-traditional fruits. I didn't shape it correctly.  I'm sorry that I messed up your wonderful bread. If it's any consolation, what I made was delicious so your lovely stollen will not get a bad name from me.  

I really wanted to make a beautiful wreath but my dough just felt a little too soft. I didn't think it would show the cuts in the dough well so I shaped it in an oval instead. 

Be sure to scroll down to see all the beautiful stollen that the other Sourdough Surprise bakers made!

Sourdough Stollen
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 cup of dried cranberries then a mix of candied citrus peel and dried mango)
1/2 cup rum, orange juice or brandy
250 grams 166% sourdough starter
35 grams oil
1 egg
12 grams sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
280 grams flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
melted butter for brushing dough
powdered sugar

At least a day before baking, soak the dried fruit in rum. On baking day, drain the fruit. 

Combine all the dough ingredients except cinnamon, cloves and salt. Mix until just combined - about two minutes then let rest for 20 minutes. 

After resting, add the spices and salt and knead for an additional 5 minutes. Cover dough and let rest at room temperature for 6 hours. Every two hours, perform three or four stretch and folds on the dough.

On the third stretch and fold, pat the dough out into a rectangle and add the drained fruits. Fold the dough several times to incorporate the fruit. If dough is extremely sticky, use a little flour to help this process. 

Place dough in an oiled container, cover and refrigerate overnight. Dough may only rise slightly.

Let dough come to room temperature and then shape into a log or oval. Place the dough on a parchment (or non-stick foilor baking mat) lined baking sheet and let sit at room temperature until puffy. This dough is slow to rise because of all the fruit and spices. Your dough may feel puffy but not double. I let mine sit about 4 hours before baking. 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake loaf for 30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 F. 

Immediately brush dough with melted butter. Wait until it seeps in and brush with more melted butter. Dust a generous coat of powdered sugar over dough. Allow to cool completely. You can dust with another coating of powdered sugar, if desired. 

Apparently, this bread tastes better if left to sit for a few days. Uh yeah...I wasn't that patient.