What makes stollen bread so special?

What makes stollen bread so special?

I grew up watching my mother cook. I would assist her in the kitchen whenever possible. The smallest of tasks given to me would boost my confidence and further strengthen my determination to become a chef. 

I grew up with a keen interest in food and everything to do with it. I have always been an experimental cook and made it a point to never repeat dishes. I believe innovation is key to surviving in the hospitality industry. My sense of curiosity and thirst to explore the world of food has taken me to many places and helped me understand and discover more about food. The challenge has always been to find something new and present it in the most palatable form. 

We are just a week away from Christmas and the most popular dessert that is made, the world over, is stollen bread. It has been a traditional Christmas dessert for generations. It is a rich, moist cake that literally melts in your mouth. It is called bread because it is shaped like one and is cut using a bread knife. This dessert holds significance only during Christmas. In European countries, the fruits are soaked in leftover alcohol in October. This lends a rich feel and flavour to the cake. When I make it, I soak the fruits in alcohol and add a dash of nutmeg and cardamom to it. This gives it a spicy finish. 

Bakers across the globe have experimented with this dish and given it their own twist. This is made during Christmas and distributed among family and friends. 

Ingredients 

*Refined flour 335 gm
*Yeast 30 gm
*Milk 140 ml
*Castor sugar 35 gm
*Soft butter 112 gm
*Soaked fruits 310 gm
*Nutmeg powder 4 gm
*Cardamom powder 8 gm
*Marzipan 300 gm

For soaking 
*Icing sugar 200 gm
*Butter 250 gm

Method 

Make the dough using flour, yeast, chilled milk, sugar, soft butter, soaked fruits, nutmeg and cardamom powder.

Make small balls out of the dough. Keep aside on a lightly floured table wrapped from the top.

Punch back the dough, keep a marzipan stick in between and roll the dough to shape the bread in a half moon shape.

Keep for proving for at least one and half hour, apply the milk wash on top and bake at 210 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Clarify the butter. Soak the ready breads immediately into the warm clarified butter.

Take out the breads and roll them over strained icing sugar. Cover the breads with sugar properly from all the sides. Cool the breads.

Slice and serve.

(Yash is the Executive Sous Chef of Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway) 

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