The kids no longer living with us, I get late into Christmas mode. No Adventskranz (traditional wreath with 4 candles lit for each Sunday before Christmas) on the table, no calendar window to open.
Having to limit my output I'll do two of the best: Mohnstollen (Poppy Seed Stollen) and Lebkuchen (German spice cookies). Before I came to Maine I never made either of them. Stollen I always got from my mother, and I never cared too much for Lebkuchen (something that should change dramatically.)
|Toasted hazelnuts: one of my favorite things|
I would add an overnight fermentation, reduce the sugar, and exchange some of the white flour with whole wheat, and half of the raisins with cranberries for a little bit of tartness.
So far so good! But what about the most important part of the Stollen: the poppy seed filling?
Germans use "Mohnback", a ready-made poppy seed mix you can buy everywhere. Luckily I found a recipe for a DIY Mohnback, with almond paste, semolina flour, milk and eggs.
Our Cuisinart coffee mill that we were about ready to trash - it did a miserable job with coffee beans - now got a second chance. And, lo and behold, it ground the poppy seeds as if it were made for just that purpose.
MOHNSTOLLEN - GERMAN POPPY SEED STOLLEN (1-2 loaves)
(adapted from "Essen & Trinken")
125 ml milk, lukewarm
125 g all-purpose flour
17 g instant yeast
POPPY SEED FILLING
148 g milk
10 g semolina flour
143 g poppy seed, ground
26 g honey
1 pinch salt
1 egg yolk
57 g raisins, coarsely chopped
11 g almond slices
100 g almond paste, grated
50 g raisins
50 g dried sweetened cranberries
50 g orange peel
50 g citron
50 g rum (or orange juice)
163 g whole wheat pastry flour
162 g all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
200 g butter, softened
100 g almond paste, coarsely grated (box grater)
50 g hazelnuts, toasted, chopped
40 g butter, melted, for topping
40 g powdered sugar, for topping
For the rum fruits, chop all fruits in a food processor (or with a chef's knife) to desired size. Transfer to a small bowl, add rum (or juice) and mix well.
For the sponge, stir together flour, yeast and lukewarm milk until all flour is hydrated. Let rise at room temperature, until foamy and just ready to collapse.
|Ground poppy seeds|
Add poppy seeds, honey, salt, egg yolk, raisins and almond slices. Mix well. Add almond paste and combine. Cover and keep cool until using.
Place sponge, flour, vanilla extract, butter and almond paste in mixer bowl, and mix at low speed (or by hand).
Add hazelnuts and rum fruits, and continue kneading until everything comes together. Switch to medium-low speed (or continue kneading by hand) and knead for 4 minutes.
Let dough rest for 5 minute, then resume kneading for another 1 minute. Place dough ball in oiled container with lid, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove dough from refrigerator at least 2 hours before using to come to room temperature.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into an 18 x 12 inch/45 x 30 cm square. (For smaller loaves, cut dough into 2 equal pieces, and roll them out separately, the short side should be about the depth of the baking sheet.)
|Spread poppy seed filling over dough square, leaving the edges free|
Using a spatula, spread poppy seed filling evenly over dough square, leaving the edges free (1/2 inch). Fold short sides in, then roll up from long side. Place Stollen, seam side down, on parchment lined baking sheet.
|First fold the short sides in, then roll up from the long side|
Cover and let rise at room temperature for 60 - 120 minutes, or until it has grown about 1 1/2 times its original size, and a dimple, made with your finger, stays visible. (If the Stollen doesn't rise long enough, it might split open on top in the oven.)
|Stollen: speckled from nuts and fruits (here a small one)|
Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC.
Bake large Stollen for about 60 - 70 minutes (smaller ones: 45 - 50 minutes), rotating them 180 degrees after half the baking time, for even browning. They should be golden brown and register 200ºF/93ºC on an instant read thermometer.
|Stollen fresh from the oven|
Brush with melted butter while still hot. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Repeat this procedure once again. Let cool on a rack.
|Brush with butter followed by a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar|
Keep Stollen cool, wrapped in aluminum foil. It takes a day or two to develop its full flavor. Mohnstollen keeps for at least 2 weeks.
|Two who are happy about the snow - and don't have to shovel!|
Submitted to Yeast Spotting
Submitted to Panissimo: Bread & Companatico
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