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 have heard of Stollen, but have never made it. I’m not a fruitcake person, really, but I do love dried fruit and nuts, and this was more of a bread than a cake. I was excited to give it a try, but knew I only had 1 shot at getting it right. Instead of trying to guess which gluten-free flours would make a perfect bready texture (and I’m out of several of them, and have to wait for my online order to arrive), I opted instead for Pamela’s Bread Mix. I’ve used it multiple times for pizza crust and hamburger buns, and it bakes up fluffy and light. As for the dairy-free substitutions, that was a breeze – I used So Delicious coconut beverage for the milk, and palm shortening for the butter. I opted to not use red glace cherries, instead substituting dried cherries and bumping up the amount of dried fruits in the bread.
The verdict? I was worried it wasn’t rising at first. I made the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 days, and when I let it warm, rolled it out, and rested it, it really didn’t look as though it rose. I know gluten-free dough has a tendency to have difficulty rising (that lack of gluten!), but I had concerns it was going to bake into a doughy lump. But once it was in the oven, it rose, browned, and looked delicious and crusty. And when we ate it – heaven. Yum. Not too sweet, crusty on the outside, and a soft interior studded with sweet cherries.
I would love to make this again. Next time, I’d love to soak my dried fruit for longer (I only soaked for about an hour), to really bump the flavors, (and probably use rum instead of bourbon) but overall, a lovely Christmas treat.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Christmas Stollen Wreath
1/4 c lukewarm water (110 degrees F)
2 packages dry active yeast (Red Star is gluten-free)
1 c non-dairy milk
9 T palm shortening
5 1/2 c of your favorite gluten-free flour blend
1 T xanthan gum, if your flour blend does not already include it (mine did)
1/2 c sugar
3/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1 t lemon juice
3/4 c candied orange peel (make your own!)
1 c golden raisins
1/4 c dried cranberries
1/2 c dried cherries
3 T bourbon
Juice from zested orange
1 c sliced almonds
Melted non-dairy butter for coating the wreath
Powdered sugar for dusting the wreath
In a small bowl, soak the raisins, dried cranberries, and dried cherries in the bourbon and orange juice. Set aside while you work on the rest of the stollen.
Add the yeast to the warm water and stir to dissolve. Allow to sit for a few minutes to “proof”.
In a small saucepan, combine the non-dairy milk and the shortening and melt the shortening over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand until lukewarm (about 110 degrees F).
Lightly beat eggs with extracts in a small bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, xanthan gum (if using), sugar, salt, cinnamon, and zests. Then stir in the yeast mixture, eggs, and the lukewarm milk mixture. Mix until dough comes together. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Add in the candied peel, the soaked dried fruit, and the almonds and mix with your hands or with a mixer (with a dough hook) on low until well-incorporated.
Sprinkle some additional gluten-free flour onto a clean counter, and turn dough onto flour. With floured hands, knead dough for approximately 8 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not excessively so. The raisins and dried fruit might fall out of the dough a bit as you knead – this is good. Just keep pressing them back in. Gather the dough and make a ball. Lightly oil a large, clean bowl, and place the dough ball in it, rolling it around to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature on the counter for about 2 hours. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and turn dough onto it, and place another large piece of parchment on top. Roll dough out into a rectangle about 16 X 24 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment, and starting with the long side, roll dough up tightly into a cylinder.
Transfer the cylinder roll to a sheet pan. Form the roll into the shape of a wreath, using a bowl in the center as a guide, if needed. Pinch the ends together. Using kitchen shears, make cuts along the outside of the circle, about 2 inches apart, and about 2/3 of the way through the dough. Roll these pieces towards the outside of the wreath so that the cuts separate somewhat. Cover wreath loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate 180 degrees. Bake for another 30 minutes or until dough reaches 190 degrees F in the center and wreath is deeply browned. Remove from oven and brush with melted non-dairy butter. Using a sifter or a fine-mesh strainer, sprinkle powdered sugar over the wreath in an even layer. Allow to soak in for a minute, and sprinkle another layer of sugar. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving, or store in a plastic bag once completely cool.
Serves about 12.