Wednesday, December 25, 2013

German Stöllen, Daddy's Christmas Bread

As a descendant of four German-American grandparents, I grew up expecting Stöllen for Christmas. My dad started baking his own several decades ago, and in honor of him today, our first Christmas without this giant of a man who loved Christmas, I will share his recipe here.

Stöllen is a heavier bread, full of raisins, candied fruit, and nuts.  Daddy always glazed his, which was always the best part!  


(makes 2 loaves)

Have all ingredients at about 75 degrees.
Sift before measuring - 6 cups all purpose flour.
Crumble  1 1/2 to 2 cakes compressed yeast in 1 1/2  cups 85 degree water or scalded, cooled milk for about 10 minutes, until dissolved.  Add 1 cup of the sifted flour.  Permit this sponge to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.  
Sprinkle a little of the sifted flour over  1/2 lb raisins, 1/2 lb. blanched chopped almonds, 1/2 cup chopped candied fruits.
Sift 3/4 cup sugar and beat until soft 1 1/2 cups butter.  Add sifted sugar gradually.  Blend until light and creamy.  Beat in, one at a time, 3 eggs.
Add 3/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. grated lemon rind, 2 tablespoons brandy or rum.
Add the sponge and the remaining flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic.  Permit it to rise until it almost doubles in bulk.  Toss it onto a floured board.  Add fruit and nuts, Divide into 2 loaves and place them in greased pans.  Brush tops with melted butter
Let the loaves rise, covered, until they again almost double in bulk.
Bake in 350 oven for about 45 minutes.  
When cool, brush them with milk or lemon glaze.
Daddy called himself Guido Panzini in the kitchen.  I just love his chef's hat and apron; he looks like a pro.  Stöllen takes a bit of time and effort, so not just ANYONE received a loaf of his Christmas bread. Rest assured, if you were blessed with any of his Christmas treats, you were loved.  His other recipes will be here, too.  The Gingerbread Men are included.

Merry Christmas, Dad!  I'm trying very hard to be brave and happy today because I think that's what you would want.  

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