Dampfnudeln are a regular Friday lunchtime dish in my grandmother’s kitchen. Bread buns are placed on a bed of apples and steamed on the hub for about 30 minutes. They are incredibly light and delicious and I wanted to share the Dampfnudeln recipe here on the occasion of this month’s #BreadBakers theme ‘Steamed Buns’.
The Austrian/German delicacy also featured in the Great British Bake Off 2016 as a technical challenge.
My granny’s recipe, based on Dampfnudel variation from the Innviertel in Austria and I think this version of the recipe is also popular in neighbouring Bavaria. The Dampfnudeln are steamed on a bed of lightly spiced apples. This recipe provides 6 portions.
For the dough
500g strong white wheat flour
7g dried yeast
250g milk, tepid
50g unsalted butter, melted
50g sugar (I use brown sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of half a lemon
For the apple base
850g apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2 cm slices
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp milk
How to make Dampfnudeln
Combine all dough ingredients in a large bowl.
Knead dough until smooth and elastic.
Place back into the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 45 minutest at room temperature.
Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal pieces.
Shape the pieces into buns and place onto a pre-floured surface.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to proof for about an hour. The buns should grow significantly in size during that time.
Prepare the apples while you are waiting.
Once the dough buns are ready, melt the butter in a large (circa 30 cm in diameter) non-stick frying pan (you need a tight fitting lid for it too) on a low heat.
Evenly distribute the apple pieces in the pan and sprinkle the sugar on top, then add the milk.
Carefully place the dough buns on the apple base and cover the pan with the lid. Don’t take the lid off again (or even slightly lift it) until the buns are fully done as they otherwise deflate.
Turn up the heat to medium to bring the liquid in the pan to boil.
After 15 minutes, turn down the heat to the lowest level and steam for another 15 – 20 minutes.
Leave to rest for a few minutes once the heat is off before you take the lid off.
If you like this Austrian steamed bread recipe, check out this plum preserve filled steamed bread recipe for Germknödel and here are also my fellow #BreadBakers’ recipes.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Browsing the local delights of the organic grocery store in my home town in Austria, I picked up a bag of Grünkern. The greenish grains looked pretty and unique on the shelf! Grünkern grains are unripe spelt kernels cultivated predominantly in Southern Germany. Although mainly used for soups and vegetarian burgers, I wanted to incorporate some of this unique green spelt grain in a sourdough Grünkern bread.
What is Grünkern?
Grünkern (German for ‘green kernel’) is spelt, harvested when green, in the dough stage of ripening, and then dried. Historically, harvesting spelt so early and before it reaches its full ripeness was a reaction to periods of adverse weather, which destroyed crops and resulted in poor harvests. It was a way to prevent crop failure.
The green spelt grains are harvested when the starch isn’t fully developed and the kernels are still soft and juicy at about 50% moisture content. Grains are dried over a beechwood fire or in hot air dryers – right down to a moisture content of 10 to 13%. Once dried, the outer husk is removed. Have a look at gruenkern.de for more information around the harvesting process, then and now.
The dried green spelt kernels smell aromatic and a little bit like fresh hay. The aroma remains uniquely pleasant and hearty when cooked with water, so it became a tradition to harvest a portion of the spelt as Grünkern. Grünkern doesn’t tend to be milled and is typically available as whole grains or chopped grains.
If this sounds similar to another grain, Freekeh, then you are right. Freekeh is also harvested green, then roasted. The difference? Freekeh is made from green unripe durum wheat and dates back to the ancient regions of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria while Grünkern is made from spelt and is still mainly produced in Germany.
How Grünkern was made
Watch these videos showcasing the Grünkern harvest back in the 1970s in Germany.
Where to buy Grünkern in the UK?
I’ve only seen Grünkern on Amazon in the UK. Unfortunately, other probable places such as Real Foods or Buy Whole Foods Online don’t seem to stock it.
Grünkern bread recipe
This recipe adds Grünkern to a wholemeal spelt sourdough loaf. Adding black treacle enhances the flavours, but you can easily leave out the treacle if you would like to taste the pure Grünkern flavours.
I love crispbreads and tend to make a batch every few weeks. Usually, I bake savoury crispbreads, but I’ve been wanting to make an old childhood favourite of mine, Zwieback crackers, a lightly sweetened crispbread. My mum didn’t bake this herself, but bought an industrial version called Feldbacher Zwieback. It was generally on the menu when I wasn’t feeling well as it’s easy to digest, a kind of sick kids treat. Here is my recipe for baking Zwieback crackers at home.
What does Zwieback mean?
The name Zwieback translates as “twice-bake” and is a result of the baking process whereby the bread is baked twice. Once as a loaf, and the second time in slices.
Zwieback Crackers Recipe
Zwieback is easy to make at home. The ingredients include wheat or spelt flour, water, yeast, butter, salt, honey or cane sugar. After the first bake, the ‘Einback’ (“one-bake”), the bread is allowed to cool, then cut into slices. The second bake toasts the slices. This is were the flavour develops and the Zwieback cracker gets its typical aroma and brittle structure. While standard bread has a moisture content of about 45%, Zwieback will have 3 to 5%.
7g dried yeast
5g vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
How to make Zwieback
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and form a dough.
Knead for 10 minutes on your work surface to produce a smooth and elastic dough.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a lid and leave to rest at room temperature for about 60 minutes until significantly increased in size.
Punch down the dough and knead for a few seconds.
Shape into a tight log (this will ensure a fine crumb structure) and place in a baking tin (no need to oil or butter the form) – I used a large form at 12.2 x 8.6 x 31 cm.
Cover the tin with a clean kitchen towel or wrap in a polythene bag and rest for another hour in the tin.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for approximately 60 minutes.
Take the loaf out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.
Rest for 24 hours.
Cut the loaf into 7mm slices.
Lay them out on a baking tray and bake at 100°C for approximately one hour until golden brown.
Store in an airtight container to ensure the Zwieback remains dry and crisp. Keeps well for weeks!
Dark chocolate and sour cherry is one of my favourite flavour combinations. You will know how well they work together if you have ever tasted a good Black Forest Gateau. When the Bread Bakers Facebook group opted for the topic ‘cacao’ this month, I wanted to bring these flavours to life in a swirl bread and decided to adapt a stunning Ploetzblog recipe for chocolate & cherry swirl bread rolls. The recipe was inspired by the blooming cherry trees in North Rhine-Westphalia and I can’t wait for this year’s blossoms to perform their annual show!
There is a good bit of time and effort involved in making these chocolate & cherry swirl bread buns, but they are exquisite and light so well worth the effort. I truly love how the flavours of cacao, dark chocolate and sour cherries come together in these swirling beauties.
Chocolate & Cherry Swirl Bread Recipe
35g strong white wheat flour
50g whole milk
1 pinch dried yeast
15g strong white wheat flour
1 egg white
20g strong white wheat flour
15g good quality dark chocolate
1 egg white
20g wheat starch
100g sour cherries from a jar (de-stoned)
80g cherry juice (from the jar)
40g strong white wheat flour
250g strong white wheat flour
25g whole milk
3g dried yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tsp apricot jam
1/2 lemon, juice
2 tsp water
How to make chocolate & sour cherry swirl breads
Make the sponge by combining the sponge ingredients in a small bowl. cover and put into the fridge to rest for 16-18 hours.
Prepare the water roux by combining the flour and water in a small saucepan. Mix well then heat up on a medium heat, stirring all the time until it has thickened. Place in the fridge overnight .
Prepare the chocolate dough. Combine the egg white and flour in a small bowl, stirring until there are no lumps. Combine the water, cacao and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil on a low heat, stirring while you do so. Add the egg white and flour mixture and stir until the mixture thickens. Then, on a low heat, add the butter and chocolate and stir until viscid (continue until the mixture has thickened; it should no longer be liquid but still spreadable; if the mixture is not thick enough it will be difficult to contain within the main dough later). Prepare a piece of cling film, spread the mixture to a square of 20 x 20 cm. Cover with another piece of cling film and store in a cool place.
Prepare the cherry dough. Combine the egg white and starch in a small bowl, mix until there are no further lumps. Squash the cherries with a fork, then combine with the juice, sugar and flour in a small saucepan. Heat up on a low heat, then add the egg white and flour mixture. Finally, add the butter and stir continuously to the same consistency as the chocolate dough. Spread on cling film in the same way, cover and store in a cool place.
Prepare the main dough by combining the sponge, water roux and all main dough ingredients except the sugar and salt. Knead for 10 minutes.
Add the sugar and salt and knead for a further 5 minutes.
Shape into a ball, place in a bowl, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Thank you Flavoury for the delivery of my first box of craft beers! Flavourly is an Edinburgh-based craft beer club, delivering subscription boxes with beers from independent producers across the UK – a great way for beer lovers to discover new tastes and flavours. The box of beers comes with a welcome message, a map to ‘meet the brewers’, a detailed introduction to the brewers and a selection of gourmet snacks.
The beers are thoughtfully selected and you can choose from boxes of light, dark or mixed beers. My mixed beer selection included a golden ale, amber ale, brown ale, black IPA and wheat beer from producers based all over the UK, from Cornwall to St. Andrews.
FLAVOURLY VOUCHER CODES (UK)
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My interest in beer is not so much in drinking it but in baking with it. The connection between beer production and bread is long-standing as bakers used to get their yeast from the beer fermentation process. Such brewer’s yeast was developed in the 15th century and was used for the production of bread until the 19th century.
Compared to water, the amazing variety of beer flavours provides bakers with an interesting alternative liquid ingredient for bread dough. Craft beers and real ales are of course a much less economic way of adding liquid into your bread and one could argue that they are better used for drinking than baking. However, there are some interesting breads to be achieved with beer and here are two beer bread recipes I’ve tried and tested.
German-style dark beer bread recipe
This pure sourdough dark beer bread is a compact and strong bread with a thick crust. This dark beer bread (made with ale) goes well with ham, cold cuts of meat and cheeses.
Some of the water that goes into the bread dough is replaced with dark beer. The bread’s flavour varies dramatically dependent on the beer used, it can taste of malt and of hops to varying degrees. I’ve also baked this beer bread with just dark beer (no water), but for me, the taste was too strong.
How to make dark beer bread
Day 1: Sourdough
115g dark rye flour
115g white spelt or wheat flour
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well and cover with a lid. Keep at room temperature to ferment for 16 – 24 hours.
Day 1: Barley soaker
100g barley grains
Slowly simmer the barley grains in the water until the liquid has boiled off. Combine the grains with the ale in a small bowl, cover and keep at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours to soak.
Day 2: Final dough
320g white spelt or wheat flour
240g dark rye flour
330g dark beer (I used the Black IPA from Stewart Brewing here, it’s a bottle-conditioned real ale i.e. live yeasts are in the bottle.)
Combine the sourdough, barley soaker and final dough ingredients and knead for 10 – 15 minutes.
Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a lid. Keep for approximately 3 – 5 hours until visibly risen. Depending on the temperature in your room, this process could take longer if colder.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a round and place into a well floured proofing basket.
Proof for a further 3 – 5 hours until well risen and fully proofed. Again, the length of the proofing process can vary widely depending on the temperature in your room.
Preheat your oven to 250°C.
Turn out the dough onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 250°C for 10 minutes then at 210°C for a further 40 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Ale barm bread recipe
I discovered this method of beer bread making in Dan Lepard’s book The Handmade Loaf.
The original method of making yeast bread in Britain was a by-product of ale-making. When traditional ale is made, a yeasty froth appears on top of the fermenting liquid. This used to be scooped off, washed and added to bread dough in order to leaven it.
The leavening yeast used to be called ‘barm’. Barm-based baking is a method of leavening bread, not to be confused with sourdough-based baking. Barm bread is sweeter than sourdough leavened bread as it lacks the sourness created by the acidification typical of lactobacillus.
How to make barm beer bread
Day 1: Making barm
Barm is a fermenting brewing liquor, the liquid yeast sediment left over from making beer. According to Dan Lepard, you can make a barm sponge by heating bottle-conditioned ale (250g) to 70°C and whisking in wheat flour (50g). Dan Lepard explains that this is a perfect replication of the complex barm of old. The barm (a shiny, smooth paste) smells amazing. Dan Lepard adds leaven to the bread whereas I have not used this in the beer and flour barm – in order not to mix together two different yeast cultures. I left the mixture to ferment for 24 hours.
Day 2: Final Dough
In a large bowl, mix the barm with water (250g), wheat flour (500g) and salt (7g). Knead for a minimum of 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a lid and leave to rise for a few hours until significantly expanded in size. Punch down the dough and shape into a boule. Work with flour to prevent the dough from sticking, but make sure you only use flour on the outside of the dough, without working it in. Place the dough seam-side-up into a floured proofing basket. Cover with a polythene bag and keep at room temperature for its second proof until fully risen and fully proved. Preheat the oven to 220°C, turn out the loaf onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for approximately 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
The beer I used here was Rose Wheat Beer from a brewery called Ticketybrew. A real ale (with live yeasts) is needed for this process, so look for a bottle-conditioned ale when you attempt this recipe.
This German sunflower seed bread recipe makes a delicious loaf of rye-based bread which is infused with the earthy flavour of dry-roasted sunflower seeds. The recipe is inspired by Gerhard Kellner’s “Rustikale Brote aus deutschen Landen“. A great way to use sunflower seeds in bread baking!
German sunflower seed bread recipe
On the day before baking
Prepare the sourdough
90g cracked rye
100g wholemeal rye flour
30g rye sourdough starter
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly, cover and keep at room temperature for 16 to 18 hours.
Prepare the sunflower seed soaker
100g sunflower seeds
Dry-roast the sunflower seeds in a frying pan, then finely chop the seeds in a food processor. In a bowl, combine the chopped seeds with the water and cover for 16 to 18 hours.
On the day of baking
Sunflower seed soaker
165g wholemeal rye flour
135g wholemeal wheat flour
70g white strong bread flour
For the tin: 1 tsp olive oil
Combine all ingredients (except the oil) and knead for a few minutes.
It’s hard to find a good recipe for traditional German Pumpernickel so I thought I would try and fill this gap! Here is step-by-step guide to baking the real thing as well as some interesting Pumpernickel facts. Give this Pumpernickel bread recipe a go – you won’t be disappointed!
What is Real German Pumpernickel?
100% rye bread (only whole rye grain and cracked rye is used for the dough, no milled flour – Pumpernickel has humble origins and for a long time it used to be peasant fare for people with no access to a proper mill)
Pumpernickel has a rich dark-brown colour, but no crust (it’s baked in fully covered baking tins)
A very heavy bread with a unique sweet aroma and earthy taste (rye has 7% natural fruit sugar, compared to wheat at 4%, which caramelises during the bake)
No colouring agent such as caramel colour is added.
The characteristic dark colour is achieved through a very long baking period (about 14 hours in a low temperature of around 120°C) and caramelising fruit sugars.
In this process it’s important that the steam doesn’t escape – otherwise the bread will completely dehydrate during the long bake. The moisture can be retained by wrapping your baking tin with a few layers of tin foil. However, I invested in a large Pullman pan, a loaf tin with a lid that slides on top to keep the loaf entirely contained. I still wrap a layer of tin foil around to be doubly sure.
The bread should mature at least 24 hours before cutting to allow the crumb to fully develop (all-rye breads tend to otherwise gum up due to the high percentage of pentosans – read all about this and what makes rye different over here at Azélia’s Kitchen)
Is Pumpernickel healthy?
Yes, the starches of real Pumpernickel have undergone so much of a transformation that they are quite easily digested (source: “Bread” by Jeffrey Hamelman)
Whole-grain rye contains nearly 15% fibre
Pumpernickel also has a low glycemic index (less likely to increase in your blood sugar level)
Where to buy Pumpernickel ingredients?
Organic rye grains (also called rye berries or kernels) from health food stores like Real Foods
Important note: If you can only find coarsely cracked rye, it is highly advisable that this is mixed 50/50 with wholemeal rye flour, otherwise you will find it difficult to form a dough that sticks together.
Since using a grain mill (Komo Fidibus) to mill my own flour at home, it’s been really easy to achieve the right coarseness of cracked rye (I set the dial to medium between fine and coarse), so if you do have a mill at home, it’s great for this recipe.
How to make Pumpernickel bread
Prepare the preferment, scalded rye and rye soaker on day 1.
Put together the main dough, prove and slow-bake for 14 hours on day 2 and overnight into day 3.
Enjoy authentic Pumpernickel bread on day 4.
All the exact instructions to bake Pumpernickel can be found below. I’ve included sample timings for a weekend bake – starting Saturday, completing the bake on Monday morning and enjoying Pumpernickel bread on Tuesday for breakfast.
120gmaple syruptraditionally cane sugar syrup is used but I prefer maple syrup
1tbsprapeseed or sunflower oilfor the tin
All the exact instructions to bake Pumpernickel can be found below. I’ve included sample timings for a weekend bake - starting Saturday, completing the bake on Monday morning and enjoying Pumpernickel bread on Tuesday for breakfast...
Day 1 (Saturday noon/early afternoon)
Prepare the preferment. Combine in a bowl, cover and leave to ripen for 16 - 24 hours.
Prepare the scalded rye. Pour the boiling water over the rye grains and leave overnight.
Prepare the rye soaker. Combine in a bowl, cover and leave overnight.
Day 2 (Sunday)
11.30am - Add one litre of water to the scalded rye soaker, bring to a boil and simmer for approx. 1 hour until soft.
12.30pm - Strain the rye and discard any remaining water. Set aside to cool.
1pm - In a large bowl combine 700g of sourdough (the rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), the cracked rye soaker, the cooked and cooled rye berries, the 550g extra cracked rye, the water (150g), salt (22g), maple syrup (120g) and mix until the dough comes together well. Mix for a few minutes (I just do this with my hands). Once this is done, cover the bowl and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Note: The dough should not be wet. It should stick together well and not fall apart. It should peel off the side of the bowl easily and stick on a spoon when held up.
1.45pm - Oil a large and a small loaf tin (I use a silicone brush to do this), then place the dough into the baking tins. Again, just use your hands to do this and even out the dough surface across the tin. Fill the tins only half full. Cover the tins - if you are using Pullman forms, use the Pullman tin cover, otherwise use a polythene bag to ensure the dough doesn't dry out.
2pm - Leave to prove for 3 hours (depends on room temperature, so do keep an eye on the dough during this time). The dough will have risen, probably not quite to the top of the tin, but it should have visibly risen.
4.30pm - Preheat the oven to 150°C.
5pm - Brush the top of the dough with a little water. Fully wrap the baking tins with two tight-fitting layers of tin foil to avoid the steam escaping and the dough drying out during the long baking process. Note, that I cover even the Pullman tin in these additional layers. Place the wrapped tins at the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 14 hours (best done overnight).
6pm - Turn down the temperature to 120°C.
Day 3 (Monday morning)
7am - After baking, turn off the oven and leave the baking tin in the cooling oven for another hour.
8am - Take the loaf out of the baking tins and wrap in a kitchen towel for another 24 hours.
Day 4 (Tuesday morning)
Cut into thin slices and enjoy with butter and jam or smoked fish for a hearty breakfast!
A new favourite! This rye bread with sunflower seeds is amazing – rye sourdough, malt and toasted sunflower seeds give this bread its delicious flavour. While sunflower seeds usually only have a very mild taste, toasting them evokes a wonderfully nutty flavour. Additionally, they are a great source of Vitamin E, copper, vitamin B1, magnesium and selenium.
Packed with great tasting flax seeds, this flaxseed bread recipe is one of my current favourites. I love baking with rye and use both wholemeal rye flour as well as whole wheat and white wheat flour in the recipe. The result – a robust loaf of wholesome brown bread filled with crunchy seeds. Delicious with butter and jam for breakfasts or as a side to creamy vegetable soups.
Thanks to the way the seeds are soaked, the bread will stay extra-moist for days after baking. It also tastes delicious when toasted as the heat will bring out the nutty flavour of the seeds. Give it a go – you’ll love it!
The mighty flaxseed…
There are two basic varieties of flax seeds: brown and yellow/golden. Nutritionally, they are very similar; both types are a great source of dietary fibre, antioxidants and a type of omega-3 fat.
It’s important to soak the seeds before baking (see another example of this technique in my Kamut flour bread recipe). If flax seeds are not soaked, they absorb moisture from the bread and dry out the crumb quickly.
Prepare the sourdough by combining 30g sourdough starter, 50g dark rye flour, 50g wholewheat flour and 100g water in a medium bowl. Mix well then cover with a lid. Leave to rest at room temperature for 16 – 24 hours.
For the flaxseed soaker, combine 90g flax seeds with 200g cold water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside until needed.
Combine all ingredients: 200g of the sourdough (rest goes back into the fridge for your next bake), 125g dark rye flour, 50g whole wheat flour, 175g strong white flour, 130g water, the flaxseed soaker, salt and dried yeast in a large bowl.
Knead for 10 minutes. Have some extra water ready as you might need to wet your hands and the worktop a few times depending on the dough’s consistency. You should end up with a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it into a bowl and keep it covered for 1 or 2 hours – it should have quite visibly risen by then.
Give the dough a quick 10 second knead, lightly flour the dough surface all over and place it into a lightly floured proving basket.
Cover with a polythene bag and keep in a warm place for another hour or more until it has expanded significantly and is fully proved.
The traditional German Christmas bread called Stollen is a rich, sweet fruit bread made with butter, milk, spices and rum-soaked dried fruit and nuts. Here I present my very own version of Xmas Stollen – my sourdough Stollen recipe for all you adventurous bakers out there.
To provide some background: I’ve always wanted to be a Xmas Stollen lover. However, it usually contains a few ingredients I’m not really a huge fan of such as candied orange & citrus peel and marzipan. Heaps of butter and sugar are normally used to preserve the bread for weeks (the typical proportions for traditional German Christmas Stollen according to the Dresdner Stollen Association are a minimum of 50% butter and 65% golden raisins when compared to flour weight).
So, I decided to piece together my own Stollen recipe with #thebreadshebakes rules, a sourdough version with a little bit of added yeast 🙂
Why this is the best Christmas Stollen recipe for me
This is what I set out to achieve:
No candied orange, citrus peel or glacé cherries
Only high-quality organic dried fruit (yet not too much of it)
No marzipan roll in the middle of the Stollen – instead; homemade almond and pistachio paste mixed into the dough
Reduced fat and sugar content. A thick layer of butter and icing sugar is usually applied as topping but I’m opting for egg wash and almond flakes instead.
It’s a sweet treat and I don’t mind it being a little “merrier” than usual 🙂
Note that all the ingredients in this recipe should be at room temperature, so warm the milk slightly if it’s just out of the fridge. This recipe will give you approx. 20 slices of delicious Stollen. Use Austrian Stroh rum for a deliciously authentic rum-flavour. I've added a little bit of yeast into the recipe to lift the rather heavy dough.
FOR THE FRUIT & NUT SOAKER
100gdried organic cranberries
100gblanched almondsroughly chopped
Seeds from a vanilla pod
FOR THE SOURDOUGH
25gwheat sourdough starter
FOR THE ALMOND & PISTACHIO PASTE
½lemon grated zest and juice
FOR THE DOUGH
475gplain organic flourGerman type 550
½lemon grated zest
1pincheach of ground nutmegground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground allspice
FOR THE TOPPING
A handful of almond flakes
How to make German Christmas Stollen
ON THE EVENING BEFORE BAKING
Mix the dried fruit and chopped almonds with the rum, cover with cling film and leave overnight. This hydrates everything slightly and ensures that the fruit and nuts do not soak up too much liquid from the dough.
It’s really important to use good quality ingredients here as the flavours will really unfold in the baked Christmas Stollen and there is a remarkable difference in the taste.
I’ve used organic dried fruit (organic medium currants and organic dried cranberries) and almonds from Real Foods which are just perfect. The currants add lovely bursts of intense flavour and are high in antioxidants and vitamins while the cranberries give the dough a delicious sweetness while being a great source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.
Prepare the sourdough by mixing the above ingredients together and covering the bowl with cling film.
Prepare the almond and pistachio paste, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge overnight. The paste should be nice and smooth, not too wet or dry.
ON THE DAY OF BAKING
Crack the shell of the cardamom pods with a knife handle and remove the seeds. Give the seeds a quick grind with a pestle and mortar. Don’t use ground cardamom as it just doesn't have the same fragrant, fresh flavour.
I’ve used organic cardamom pods from Real Foods which are super aromatic and perfect for Stollen.
Mix together the following ingredients to form a dough:
Knead for 10 mins to develop a smooth and satiny dough. It’ll be a little sticky but that’s fine.
Then work in the fruits, nuts, lemon zest and spices, distributing them as evenly as possible.
Now leave the dough in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel or cling film, until it has doubled in size (the time this takes can vary depending on the room temperature; approx. 1.5 hours, but this could take longer!).
Knock the air out of the risen dough and knead for another minute or two.
Shape the dough into an oval loaf (I’m not too bothered with the traditional fold).
Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover with a moist kitchen towel.
Leave in a draught-free place for its second proof. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, this could be done in one hour, but for me this lasted almost three.
Use your finger to make a small dent in the dough. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake. If it disappears, the dough needs some more time.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5).
Prepare some egg wash (combine an egg and a table spoon of water and whisk together).
When the dough is ready, brush the Stollen with the egg wash and sprinkle with almond flakes.
Bake in the oven on the lowest shelf for 1 hour 15 mins. If it browns too quickly, protect the bread by covering the top with tin foil. I do this after 25 mins initial baking time.
Use a cocktail stick or skewer to check if the dough has fully baked through as you would with a cake. The internal temperature of the loaf should be 94°C, my Thermapen is proving invaluable once more!
Allow it to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before lifting it onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Serve in relatively thick slices with strong coffee or tea and good quality butter. Lightly toast if you would like to heat it through.
Where to buy Christmas Stollen in the UK
Over the last few years, I’ve started to bake Christmas Stollen to order as it keeps and ships well. If you’re interested in a homemade Stollen delivery, please just get in touch via the contact form here to order your special Christmas treat online.