I love making bread, and this one oozes Christmas with its festive shape and ingredients. You can use your favourite dried fruits and nuts, I chose to use a pack of Forest Feast 'Dried Cherries and Berries' and some roasted sliced almonds. Some Stollen breads have quite a bit of marzipan inside, but I prefer a smaller amount - I grate and spread it over the dough before rolling up.
The bread can be made ahead and frozen until Christmas Day, all you need to do is defrost it and pour over the icing on the day.
Christmas Stollen Wreath
I make the dough in my bread machine, but you could use a mixer with a dough hook or knead it by hand. Only add enough milk to make a soft dough.
You can also add spices and mixed peel if you want to make a strongly spiced bread.
1 sachet (7g) quick rising yeast
600g strong white bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Approximately 325ml milk , you may need slightly more or less
Zest of 1 lemon
1 packet of berries and cherries (170g) or dried fruit of your choice
50g toasted sliced almonds, save a few for decoration
110g white marzipan, thinly sliced or grated
1 beaten egg to glaze, optional
A few cranberries to decorate, or take a few dried berries from the cherries & berries packet
6 tablespoons of icing sugar mixed with lemon juice for glazing
Put the first 9 ingredients into the bread machine, in the correct order for your machine (not the toasted almonds). My machine has a raisin dispenser, but you can add the fruit on the final kneading if your machine doesn't have one.
When it comes to the milk, you may need less or more, keep an eye on it and add as necessary to make a smooth, soft dough. I like to weigh the egg and then add the milk to come roughly to 360-370ml in total.
When dough is ready, roll into an rectangle, roughly 15cm x 40cm. Spread the marzipan evenly over the dough and sprinkle with the roasted almonds, reserving a few for the top. Roll up as if rolling a Swiss roll, from the long side.
Shape into a circle and join the ends up by squeezing them together. Place onto a greased baking tray and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Brush with beaten egg and bake in a pre-heated oven 180ºC/350ºF for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Add lemon juice to the icing sugar until it's just runny, pour over the bread and decorate with the cranberries and reserved sliced almonds.
This is my entry into the Most Wanted Yule-Blog Bake Challenge competition from VoucherCodes 'Most Wanted' magazine. All you have to do is bake something Christmas themed to be in with a chance of winning a £150 John Lewis voucher. Entries must be in by today, Monday December 13 2010. You can submit your entries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or post your entry up on your blog and email them to let them know it's there.
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