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  • pixeltheatre 4:24 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: stollen   

    Daring Bakers 45th Challenge: Stollen 

    The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

    I was late in checking the new challenge this month. It goes live on the 17th of every month. Hilariously enough, I looked at it after coming back from the first German Christmas Market in Vancouver. A open-air market with vendors selling typical German-fare such as gluhwein and…stollen! I had bought one, as it is one of my favorite Christmas treat. I told my partner that it was something I always wanted to to make, but never got around to it. I had bought some marzipan a couple of years ago with the intention of making it, but it was still in my cupboard. No more excuses. I particularly liked this recipe, though it’s a multi-day affair. I made this a couple of times, adding marzipan both times. The first, despite reading the instructions over and over, I rolled the wrong side of the dough, ending with a very fat wreath. Still good, though. The second time around, rolled it the right way, but it took a lot longer to bake than the time indicated in the recipe. Still turned out right. This will become a staple of my Christmas baking. Thanks Penny for a great challenge!

    Stollen Wreath

    Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people

    Ingredients

    ¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
    2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
    1 cup (240 ml) milk
    10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
    5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
    ½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
    ¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
    2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
    ¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
    1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins
    3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
    12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
    1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
    Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
    Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

    Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.

    Directions:

    Soak the raisins
    In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside. See Note under raisins.

    To make the dough

    Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

    In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

    Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

    In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

    Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

    Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

    Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

    Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
    Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

    Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

    1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
    2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
    4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

    Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

    Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

    This was before I pinched it together

    Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

    Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

    Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

    Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

    Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
    Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
    Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.
    The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
    Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

    When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

    The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm

    Storage
    The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
    The following is for the recipe as written and uses the 45 mls of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar
    1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
    2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
    3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

     
    • Audax Artifex 5:00 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I just love that first photo your stollen looks so perfect and rustic wonderful effort and the snow effect on you blog is so cute.

      Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    • Coz 7:37 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think your stollen looks like a snow topped mountain. I like how you did your cuts to make it look that way.

    • Erin 8:13 pm on January 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful job on the challenge this month!! Your stollen is beautiful and just looks so festive. I love that you made the recipe a couple of times during the month. Well done!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on December 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: eggs benedict, poached eggs   

    Daring Cooks 20th Challenge: Poach to Perfection! 

    Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

    I was grateful for a simple technique and  choice of recipe for this challenge. It’s been a busy November, and I knew I could easily complete this one, while making one of my favorite breakfasts: eggs benedict. I am no stranger to poaching. While working in one of my part-time cooking gigs, I had to par-poach (no less) 300 eggs, in preparation for Mother’s Day brunch at a local country club. I used the huge soup kettle for this task, poaching a tray of 24 eggs at a time.  I’ll always remember trying to figure out which egg I had cracked first, as the eggs swirled in the simmering cauldron, to scoop it up as soon as the last egg of the tray hit the water. Quite a feat and a challenge. I cheated at the end of this challenge and used a powdered mix for the hollandaise. My timing was a little off in putting everything together in the end, but we both cleaned our plates nonetheless. 🙂

    Eggs Benedict

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    4 eggs (size is your choice)
    2 English muffins*
    4 slices of Canadian bacon/back bacon (or plain bacon if you prefer)
    Chives, for garnish
    Splash of vinegar (for poaching)

    For the hollandaise (makes 1.5 cups):
    3 large egg yolks
    1 tsp. (5 ml) water
    ¼ tsp. (1 ¼ ml/1½ g) sugar
    12 Tbl. (170 g/6 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces º
    ½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3 g) kosher salt
    2 tsp. (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
    Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

    • for gluten free, use gluten free English muffins or bread of your choice

    º for dairy free, use a dairy free margarine

    Directions:

    1. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.

    2. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside.

    3. Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.

    4. Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes (it only took about 3 for me) until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.

    5. Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.

    6. Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using).

    7. Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water.

    8. If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer.

    9. Add salt and a splash of vinegar (any kind will do). I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to my small saucepan (about 3 cups of water/720 ml of water), but you may need more if you’re using a larger pan with more water.

    10. Crack eggs directly into the very gently simmering water (or crack first into a bowl and gently drop into the water), making sure they’re separated. Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.

    11. While waiting for the eggs, quickly fry the Canadian/back bacon and toast your English muffin.

    12. Top each half of English muffin with a piece of bacon. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the bacon. Top with hollandaise and chopped chives, and enjoy!

     
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