Stollen - Christmas Bread: A Family Tradition

My mother got this recipe from her mother, who got it from my mother's godmother's mother, Mrs. Schumann, who was from Germany. She said her recipe was typical for her part of Germany. Traditionally, stollen was a very rich bread with preserved fruits and nuts, made in various fancy forms and iced, to symbolize the Christ Child. The only part that appears different from standard christollen is that it isn't formed in a ring on a flat sheet and braided somehow.

My grandmother started a family custom of making twenty or so loaves of Christmas bread, and sending them to relatives and friends. It has always been a big production with several family members getting together. At one time my mother, aunt and grandmother made Christmas bread together at my grandmother's house. For awhile my mother and aunt split the loaf making. Then my brother went up to my mother's house to work with my mother on the project. Since she moved to Austin, where my sister and I live, she and other family members have gotten together each December to make the Christmas bread. The past two years, my sister's small sons have been helping too. See photos and links to Quicktime film clips below.

This recipe makes six standard loaf pan loaves.

            3 1/2 cps milk
            1/2 cp wm water
            3 env yeast
            1 1/2 cp butter melted cooled
            1 1/2 cp + 1 tsp sugar
            2 tsp grated lemon peel/ zest
            1 tsp cinnamon
            1/4 tsp cloves
            1/4 tsp allspice
            1 tsp salt
            14 cps flour appr +
            4 eggs

            4-8 - 11 tbs bacardi rum  marinate fruit overnight

            1 1/2 cp white seedless raisins (3 boxes)
            1 1/2 cp diced citron - four of those little (4 oz?)
            1 1/2 cp dried currants
               (3 boxes sunmaid) 
            1 cp blanched, chopped almonds 1 lb of almonds
            in their shells plunge in boiling water for one
            minute, chop real fine

            or add extract 1 tsp almond extract with commercially
               chopped blanced almond

            1 cp or one half pound of both red and green chopped
               pref marascino or use candied drained 
               (1 10 oz jar each red and green)

            1 tsp salt

Scald milk (bring to just below boiling), cool to luke warm. dissolve yeast in water for ten minutes. Add to milk. Add 3 tbs sugar. Add 6 cps flour sifted w the salt. Make soft batter. Let rise til doubled. (Very old method - makes a sponge)

Add 1 1/2 cps in butter, melted and cooled and rest of sugar. Don't add lemon rind bec adding that w the fruit. Add eggs. Mix thoroughly. Add 4 cps of the flour sifted w the spices. Add fruit, nuts work in well. W sturdy wooden spoon.

Add appr 4 cps more flour. slowly wkng in until the mixture loosens from the bowl. Knead thoroughly, adding flour as needed. Dough should be moist and elastic but not sticky. Knead abt 10 minutes. Let rise til double in bulk. Knead til it shapes up another 10 knead minutes. Divide into six loaves, knead again thoroughly (a minute or two) placed in greased pans. Let it rise until double. Cover loosely while rising.

Bake moderate oven 350 one hour.

Original recipe from Mrs. Schumann calls for form dough in a ring, or several rings, on a flat sheet, slice dough 1 1/2 - 2 inches apt 2/3 of the way through all the way around, tilt the slices to one side. Then glaze with a standard sweet roll glaze. (Mom doesn't have the recipe for that.) Mom doesn't know anything about buttering the tops of the dough before baking.

I made the following changes:

            1 1/2 to 2 cps brown sugar
            For spices:  1 1/2 to 2 tsp cinnamon
                         1/4 tsp cloves
                         1/2 to 1 tsp allspice
                         1/2 to 1 tsp ginger

            For fruit:  2 10 oz jars red, 1 6 oz jar green marascino
                        1 flat pkg preserved (1 lb?) apricot halves
                        rinds of four lemons and 8 naval oranges, 
                        plus juice of one orange and 1/4 cp brown sugar
                           and 1 tsp almond extract, mix all together
                           and let sit overnight.
            For nuts:   6 oz chopped walnuts
                        2 oz chopped or sliced almonds (1/2 cp)
                        1 tsp almond extract w the fruit

            No rum.  Rum is responsible for that weird sour taste
               fruit cake normally has.   
            NO raisins, currants, anyplace.  NO.  NONE of that.

I think it could have used more fruit.

Film Clips of 2005 Christmas Bread Making

They Boys Help Make Christmas Bread Part 1

They Boys Help Make Christmas Bread Part 1

They Boys Help Make Christmas Bread Part 1

They Boys Help Make Christmas Bread Part 1

They Boys Help Make Christmas Bread Part 1

They Boys Help Make Christmas Bread Part 1

They Boys Help Make Christmas Bread Part 1

And here's my sister making sure we get pictures of it all! LOL!

Snapshots of 2005 Christmas Bread Making

I'm not in these photos, because I was taking them! I had my own little operation going on off to the side.

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