Project Description

Hier geht’s zur deutschen Version.
 

So, Christmas is over and done with, everyone is running to the gym in a frenzied attempt to keep up with New Year’s resolutions (three times this week!) and absolutely no one is interested in a recipe for a calorific vegan stollen. But here it is, nevertheless! Two months too late and with terrible pictures (it get’s eaten up so fast. . .) Perhaps it’s best for you to consider this my premature contribution to the delicious vegan recipes you’ll be trialing for Christmas 2016. I think you’ll like it.
I love stollen and and for years toyed with the idea of tackling this project. But then time always got away from me and I put it off again and again. Until last year. I read up on all of the traditional methods, beginning with the ultimate tome of southern German cooking, the Bayerisches Kochbuch, and ending on some professional Austrian baker’s website. I sought advice and secret tips from mothers, grandmothers and uncles, experimented recklessly with ingredients and techniques and have baked, wait for it, 24 stollen to date! During the summer, I played around with the basic recipe a bit to create the hearty party tear and share savoury party rolls. Dan is averse to assonant foods. I digress.
The stollen is best when everything is as fresh as possible. This means freshly ground almonds and cardamom seeds and freshly grated organic lemon. If you’re in a rush, don’t bake a stollen. Bake this, instead. One recipe generally yields two good sized stollen, though I’ve also divided the dough further to create four adorable mini stollen, which make wonderful presents. Watch the mini stollen closely in the oven, as they don’t take as long: mine were done in 28 minutes. So, here they are: the classic stollen and the phenomenal fig walnut stollen. Enjoy!

1-4 stollen, depending on size. 4 hours.

For the dough you’ll need:

  • 500 g / 4 cups flour
  • 20 g yeast (½ cube of fresh yeast or 1 packet dry instant)
  • 130 g / ⅔ cup sugar
  • 235 ml / 1 cup soy milk
  • ¼ t cardamom, freshly ground
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 grated lemon (make sure it’s organic, otherwise the peel is not edible)
  • 200 g margarine, room temperature (I use Sojola, as it does not contain palm oil)
  • 100 g / 1 cup ground almonds (fresh is best)

 
Additional ingredients for the classic stollen:

  • 200 g raisins, soaked in rum or water overnight
  • 1 T candied lemon peel
  • 1 T candied orange peel
  • 100 g marzipan

Additional ingredients for the fig walnut stollen:

  • 125 g / ¾ cup chopped dried figs
  • 75 g ⅔ cup chopped walnuts
  • 60 g / 2 T candied orange peel
  • 100 g marzipan

And for on top:

  • approximately 3 T melted margarine
  • powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Heat the soy milk (235 ml) in a small pot until it is warm, but not hot. Pour the flour (500 g) into a large bowl and make a depression in the center. Put the sugar (130 g) into the depression and crumble or sprinkle the yeast (20 g) on top. Pour the warmed soy milk into the flour pool and let your pre-dough rest for 10 minutes. As the yeast is activated, it should start to bubble and make your kitchen smell like a bakery.
  2. Add the margarine (200 g), ground almonds (100 g), salt (¼ t) and cardamom (¼ t) and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and sticks to itself more than it sticks to your hands.
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rest in a warm spot until it has doubled in size. I find that this takes about an hour.
  4. While the dough is proofing, prepare your additional ingredients. If you want to make two different stollen, you can easily halve the ingredients to bake one of each. In some traditional stollen, the marzipan gets rolled into a long sausage and placed into the center of the loaf. I prefer little flecks of marzipan throughout, so I crumble it and mix it with the other ingredients, being careful not to have it stick together in large clumps.
  5. Once the dough has risen, punch a depression into the center and pour in all of the additional ingredients. Fold over the top of the dough and knead it carefully until all of the delicious extras are evenly distributed. Let it rise again, covered, in a warm spot for another hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180° C. If you’re making more than stollen, divide the dough now. Traditionally, the form of the stollen is supposed to resemble a swaddled baby Jesus. I find this deeply disturbing. But if you want to serve up the reason for the season in effigy, shape the risen dough into a loaf form and then, using a rolling pin, roll out one half of the loaf lengthwise. Dabble some cold water on it with a pastry brush and fold the rolled out side over the body of the loaf. That’s your swaddle, and that’s how the Bayerisches Kochbuch says to do it. I usually just shape it and create a little off-center trough along the top using the side of my hand. Once you’ve shaped your stollen, let it rest on the baking tray atop the stove, covered, for about 20 minutes.
  7. Bake the stollen until lightly golden brown on top, testing to make sure it is baked all the way through with a toothpick. One large stollen takes 50-55 minutes in my oven, two medium-sized ones about 40 minutes and four mini-stollen 28 minutes.
  8. Once the stollen have cooled enough to touch but are still warm, slather them with melted margarine and then, using a small sieve and a spoon, dust them over and over again until they are covered with a generous layer of powdered sugar. Press the sugar down carefully but firmly with dry hands. The stollen can be enjoyed right away or wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a cool, dry spot for two weeks. It also freezes well. Have fun and let me know how this works out for you, or what other tasty variations you come up with.