December Recipe: Tear and Share Stollen Ring

I am going to encourage those of you who have never used yeast, or made bread, to give this recipe a go as Stollen is such a traditional Christmas ingredient, although obviously not originating in the UK.  A tip is to make sure that the milk you add is only lukewarm, too hot and you will kill the yeast and your dough won’t rise.  I put mine to prove in my airing cupboard, but anywhere warm and free of draughts is suitable, so not near a window or open door!  You can of course make your own marzipan too but that might be a step too far, although actually it is quite an easy process.

Do make sure both your yeast and flour are in date, so if you have some old yeast lurking around in the cupboard and it is out of date bin it and buy new.  Its a bit like using old herbs and old baking powder!!  I did have students turning up with out of date items and was always giving them some of mine.

Good luck.  I love making bread, its good for the soul.  You can take all your problems out on the dough!  Have a lovely Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to you all.

Serves 10

  • 450g. / 1lb. strong white bread flour
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 sachet fast action yeast
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large pinches of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice
  • 225mls. / 8fl. ozs. semi skimmed milk
  • 40g. / 1 ½ ozs. butter, melted plus extra to grease
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 50g. / 2ozs. sultanas
  • 150g. / 5ozs. marzipan, softened
  • Icing sugar to dust
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, ¼ tsp. salt and spices. Make a well in the centre. Heat the milk until lukewarm, then stir in the melted butter. Working quickly, crack one of the eggs into the well, then pour in enough of the milk to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface, then knead for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 45 minutes.
  3. Knead in the sultanas. Weight the dough and divide into 10 equal pieces. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 200C / gas mark 6. Cut the marzipan into 10 pieces. Using your fingers, flatten out one of the pieces of dough slightly, then put a marzipan chunk in the middle. Fold the dough around it, then squeeze together to make a neat ball. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Position the balls in a circle, close but not touching on the lined baking sheet.
  4. Brush with the remaining egg then bake for 20 – 25 minutes the dough will join together into a ring as it cooks. Leave to cool on the tray as the ring is delicate at this stage Dust with icing sugar before serving. To freeze complete the recipe (apart from dusting with icing sugar). Wrap the stollen whilst on its baking tray completely in clingfilm, then freeze. To use, defrost at room temperature.
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