Stolen Stollen

The 36th recipe in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge is Stollen, a German holiday bread. Never was a bread so aptly named. But we’ll get to that in a minute. Stollen is traditionally made at Christmastime. The shape of the bread is meant to resemble a blanket in a manger. And the color (studded with candied fruit) is supposed to remind us of the gifts brought to the baby Jesus by the Magi.

Before I started this bread, I made a quick trip to the store to stock up on ingredients: candied fruit, almonds, candied citrus peel, and golden raisins. I decided to take PR’s recommendation and soak the fruit for several days before making the bread. I measure out the dried fruit, raisins, and peel (I decided to add some citrus peel); added lemon, lime, and orange oils; and then reached for the brandy.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered there was no brandy in the house. And no rum, either. It was a dark and stormy night, and I didn’t feel like running back to the store, so I decided to use something I had on hand. And the something I reached for? Scotch. Single malt scotch. Expensive single malt scotch. It’s not that I mind using expensive ingredients when I bake. I just wasn’t sure how fruit soaked in scotch would taste. But, it was what I had, so I decided to use it. After adding the whisky to the fruit mixture, I stirred it up and covered the bowl. I stirred the mixture several times a day for the next few days.

On baking day, I made the sponge. Since I don’t bake with milk, I mixed the sponge with warm water, flour, and yeast.

After an hour, it looked like this:

I mixed the dough and sponge for a few minutes in the Kitchen Aid (substituting buttermilk powder for the milk), let it rest for about 10 minutes, then added the fruit a little bit at a time. After kneading the dough for another 4 minutes, I put it in an oiled bowl to ferment for 45 minutes.

I patted the dough into a rectangle and sprinkled it with almonds, raisins, and dried fruit.

Then I rolled it into a batard and placed it on a baking sheet, curving the ends slightly.

I let the dough rise for about an hour-and-a-half, then baked it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. I removed the loaf from the oven, turned it for even baking, then inserted a probe thermometer into the dough and let it bake for about another 25 minutes, until the internal temperature reached 190 degrees.

Then I removed the bread from the oven and immediately brushed it with vegetable oil.

And finally sprinkled it liberally with two layers of powdered sugar.

I went off to do something else for an hour or so while the bread cooled. After about half an hour, I heard my daughters laughing and yelling at the dog (never a good sign), and I walked into the dining room to see Bailey standing on the table, licking all the powdered sugar off the bread. Here’s what it looked like when he was done:

I will say that dog saliva gives the bread a nice shine. Unfortunately, it’s not too appetizing. My mom and I were the only ones brave enough to try it (without the top crust). It had a really good flavor from the spices and nuts. And the fruit in whisky wa s interesting combination. The scotch mellowed a bit with the soaking and baking, but it still had the distinct taste of the bog where it was produced and the peat harvested there.

It really was a beautiful bread, and had it not been a sugar lick for the dog, I think it might have made an excellent bread pudding.


  1. November 11, 2010 at 12:04 am

    […] sooner finished my tart when a commotion broke out in the dining room. I hurried out there to find Bailey the Wonder Beagle standing on the table, enjoying the rest of the sweet potato tart. I’m not sure he enjoyed […]

  2. September 15, 2010 at 7:09 am

    […] the table, enjoying his third cheesecake, paper and all. This wasn’t his first foray into the culinary arts. I only wished I had thought to take a picture of him before I shooed him off the […]

  3. ap269 said,

    February 19, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I posted my stollen experience now… Would be glad if you stopped by ;-).

  4. Bill Middeke said,

    January 25, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve been making Stollen for Christmas for well over 30 years. Never had my dog lick the sugar off though. Guess I’m lucky. It does look nice.

  5. sallybr said,

    January 16, 2010 at 11:06 am

    And I thought my dogs were naughty! 🙂

  6. Daniel said,

    January 12, 2010 at 8:38 am

    That’s a nice shiny Stollen! From your tweet I thought the dough licked off some of it, but didn’t realize it was all gone.

    I actually soaked my fruit in scotch for the Panettone because I’m not too keen on Rum or Brandy. It wasn’t a Laphoraig, though- That nectar will only touch my lips pure- it was a Macallan that I had once gotten in Duty Free and was underwhelmed by. The flavor of the Panettone was so good that I have to repeat it for the Stollen.

  7. gaaarp said,

    January 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    And of course it couldn’t be just any scotch. It had to be Laphroaig (!

  8. Phoo-D said,

    January 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Oh no! Lol, that is a funny story though I’m sorry that it ruined the bread. What a bad dog! =)

  9. Di said,

    January 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Oh, boy. We had a dog when I was in high school that did a lot of things like that. The things he ate… it’s amazing he survived. Your stollen looks really pretty; too bad you didn’t get to enjoy it more.

  10. ap269 said,

    January 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    What a hilarious story! The crumb looks nice. I made the BBA stollen for X-mas even though I haven’t arrived there yet in the challenge, but still – I’m German, Stollen is a German Christmas bread – hope the bread police is not going to come and get me. I didn’t post it for BBA challenge though, but contributed this post to the Bread Baking Day:

  11. Frieda said,

    January 10, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Canine a la stollen! That’s life for ya~ I’m glad it turned out great. I’m not sure about trying this bread as I do not like fruit…

  12. January 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    That’s hilarious! Your stollen looks great though! I’ve made this version (before we started the BBA Challenge). It’s really good! I guess I’ll be making it again in a few weeks. I’m still in the Sourdough series right now. Happy Baking!

  13. Natashya said,

    January 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I’d just carve the crust off and eat the middle..
    Looks great! Such a wonderful rise you got.
    I’m not that far in the BBA yet, but I did KAF’s biscuit-like stollen for the holidays.
    And I’m glad my dogs are way too short to reach the counter! 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      January 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

      Mine looks like he should be too short, but he can stretch like a Slinky. And he’s very determined!

      • Cindy said,

        January 11, 2010 at 2:01 pm

        Thanks for a great mid-day laugh. I love that you soaked the fruit in Scotch. My Scotch loving friends will be horrified that you sacrificed good scotch for dried fruit!

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