Monday, December 13, 2010

100% Whole Wheat Christmas Stollen and King Arthur Baking Kit

100% Whole Wheat Christmas Stollen
Stollen?  What's that?  Well, this is my introduction to a Christmas Bread that my HB5 group is baking now.  According to Guff at Guff's Healthy Bread In 5 Challenge , "Stollen is a rich German sweet bread containing nuts, dried fruit, and such--it gets its name from Stollen, a wooden post or prop; so called from its shape."  Thanks, Guff, for this wonderful explanation!

Every year I make a special bread for my friend's Christmas dinner.  The last 2 years, I've made Swedish Cardomom Wreath.  When I told her about this stollen recipe, she wanted to try it this year.

A mixture of cherries, cranberries, blueberries and raisins seemed flavorful.  I began by soaking the fruit in a mixture of brandy and water, after chopping it in my mini food chopper. Not sure how much of either, just enough to cover the rinsed fruit.
Soaking the dried fruit in brandy!
Well, now that the dried fruit is soaking, I can't do anything to make the stollen for awhile.

I guess I could open my package from King Arthur....  I was the really lucky winner of Zoe Francois'  and Jeff Hertzberg's King Arthur Baking Kit giveaway. Zoe and Jeff are the famous authors of "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" and "Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day." Check out their wonderful website at Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
I've learned so much from their step by step posts and great videos!
I won the giveaway, but I almost didn't win!  I got an email from Zoe on Thanksgiving day, and almost deleted it.  I couldn't believe I would ever get an email from Zoe.  THE Zoe! (Can you say "starstruck?").   :)

I'm going to use the kit in making this stollen, so you can see how great it is. The kit includes a square 6-quart acrylic storage container; the great book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, King Arthur dough whisk; a 2-pound bag of King Arthur organic all-purpose flour; and an instant-read thermometer to test your loaf when it’s done.   I think it's a great gift; you can find it at King Arthur No Knead Bread Gift Kit

The dough bucket looks really neat and compact.  I wonder how it compares to the round dough bucket I've been using?

round vs. square?

Well, it turns out they are about the same height.  But that square size will fit in my fridge better, and fits really nicely on my scale.I found that there's a tradeoff with the square dough bucket.  It's a bit tricky to get the flour out of the corners.  With practice, I bet I'll find a trick!

This temperature probe is great!  The cover doubles as an extended handle!  It's flat and will pack well when I travel.  
I bake at the homes of friends, to give them the gift of freshly baked breads.  They love that wonderful smell of baking in their home! 

Ok, all my ingredients are laid out.  I'm ready to put the stollen dough together!  I'm going to use my King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour for this recipe.  I'll make something later with the cute package of organic unbleached flour they sent me.


Here's a tip I would like to share.  I'm making a half batch of stollen.  I've gotten the amount in ingredients for a half batch mixed up in the past.  Now I write the weights for a full batch to the left of the ingredients, and a half batch to the right.

I'm making a change in the recipe.  My friend said she would love brandy in the stollen.  So I am not cutting the amount of brandy in half for a half batch.  Also, I am draining the dried fruit and using that fruit/water/brandy mixture as part of my water.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe as listed in the HB5 book.  

Ok, it's time to put the dough in the fridge overnight.   

Yep, I really like the way this container fits in my fridge!

The next morning, I braved the very cold garage and took the dough out of the refrigerator.  It had a nice color to it:  

Let's shape the loaves.  I measured out the suggested 1 1/2 pounds of dough for a stollen loaf.  There was also enough dough for 2 mini loaves (Stollenettes??), about 8 oz. each.  
"Let's Do the Gluten Cloak, Again!"
After doing the gluten cloak, I'm covering them with a flour sack towel to rest.  That way, they are easier to roll out.  Meanwhile, why don't we watch a HB5 video, where Jeff and Zoe introduce "Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes," and Zoe shapes stollen.  It might give us some shaping tips!:

I decided to use a combination of almond paste and toasted almonds:

Time for a short nap
The loaves are put aside to rest, rise and shine later!  I have purchased a number of these timers from the dollar store.  Each pan can have its own timer.

The loaves get an egg wash and are put in my oven for baking.  I used the convection setting, to make baking easier.  Don't they look yummy?

They cooled, and then I put 2 loaves in the freezer for later.  My friend wouldn't be by for a few days.  I put powdered sugar on one of the "stollenettes" so we could taste it.  Really yummmy.  My hubby said it would taste fabulous with jam, too.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my version of this HB5 challenge.  I hope you will leave a comment below.  I learn so much from baking friends!

And thanks so much to Zoe Francois, Jeff Hertzberg and King Arthur Flour.  You guys are awesome!