Last year I saw a Christstollen with Sourdough which “Ofenkante” published on his blog. This stirred my brain and I started to think about Stollen made with sweet starter. But as I was already done with Stollen baking at this time point, I stored the idea in the back of my mind. After one year of thinking about it I decided to bake directly two stollen for this Christmas: a traditional and a experimental one.
In the experimental stollen with sweet starter I kept the same ratio of ingredients then in my traditional one (never change a winning team) but build the the sweet starter over several steps to get a enough strength for rising. It is always amazing to see how strong the sweet starter gets when fed three times in a row! But as the feeding is time consuming, this recipe needs a day until it is done.
After four weeks of ripening I brought the stollen from the cold attic back to the warm kitchen and sliced it. The crumb was perfect, firm but moist and the different flavours had fused to a harmonic consonance. Compared to the traditional stollen there are subtle differences in flavour nuances, but it is hard to pin them down. After all, both of them taste terrific and I can not name a favourite.
There are only seven days left until the first advent. So we all have to start planning what we want to bake for Christmas. In the last years I published already a lot of different recipe here in the blog. To make it easier to find them I sorted them and summed them up hier:
When I bake my Sourdough Pandoro with the special (not sour) sourdough called sweet starter last year I knew already that I would have to make my own Panettone recipe for the following christmas. Similar to the Pandoro recipe I planed to build the dough in some steps so that the yeasts in the sweet starter would get used to sugar and fat which would help to let the dough rise fast. The sweet starter I kept during 2014 alive and baked rather a lot of different breads with him.
On 22. December I refreshed the sweet starter tree times to make him strong and fast rising. He was so strong and fast rising that he only needed two instead if three hours to double his volume when I started the sweet starter for the Panettone at the 23. in the morning. And even the sugar and the butter in the following first and second dough did not slow him down, and tripled its volume in 90 minutes instead of 2 hours. But anyway the third (and last) dough had to take 3 hours for rising because I had to run some errands. Coming home again I formed the Panettone (Susans Tip to grease hands and counter with a lot of butter is really helpful!) and during forming I calculated: I’m now two hours earlier then planned… but it will need about 12 hours at least to proof… and at seven in the morning I’m normally already awake. So there is no problem at all…
At five o’clock the next morning, on my way to the bathroom, I quickly checked the Panettone in the kitchen. And turned the oven on. Ten hours were what they needed to reach the rim of the form. And who needs sleep?
One hour later the panettone was already hanging between two chairs and I crawled back into bed to have another little nap. Later that day we took some pictures and sliced one cake. And it was so delicious: soft and fluffy, the crumb could be teared into long strands, flavours of orange and vanilla and subtle, but complex notes from the sweet starter. And it keeps fresh for a long time, we eat one with my family on the first christmas day, and had some on second christmas day as well and it still tasted like freshly baked. It is a fussy cake and I could less sleep then normal but it is worth everything! It is the perfect christmas cake!
Christmas Eve is very near now and I want to use the time to wish you all a merry and peaceful Christmas! The dearest and me will have a piece Panettonne (recipe will come soon) before we leave to meet with the family.
All the best!
Du you already have a plan for breakfast during the holidays? I prefer baking the one or other overnight recipe where either the dough rise over night or the already shape rolls. And during the holidays I love everything which is made with sweet brioche dough. But the high butter amount in this dough get solid in the fridge and hinder the dough to rise properly. A solution for this problem is using cream as liquid in the dough. That adds enough fat to make the crumb soft but will not keep the dough from rising.
This Sunday I made a test run and baked already my Christmas wreath. It is made with sweet Starter (if you have no sweet Starter please refer to the Biga recipe at the end of the recipe as replacement) and some cream makes its crumb nicely soft. The segments of the wreath are formed by dough “roses” made of four circles each. I saw this idea somewhere in the internet some time ago but I did not save the site. But luckily it worked with the facts I still had in mind.
As finish I glazed the dough with a cooked sugar glaze. A sweet bread with sugar glaze is somehow essential for my Christmas breakfast!
My entry for the christmas party in the lab looked like that: Bread (of course homemade). That was an easy decision. It was more difficult to decide what to bake. We are a very international team and everyone should bring something special from his country. And so I decided to honour the swabian part of my family history and baked pretzels. For the second kind of bread I chose my favourite bread. With this dough you can do every “mischief” you can imagine when forming a bread. And so I decided to bake a Santa Claus bread. I saw similar breads before but I did not like the fact that they were painted with food colouring and the way how they were formed did not fit to my ideas complexly either. But I had my own ideas already…
… and the ideas worked well and the breads turned out to be the most photographed part of the buffet. And one colleague asked me to bake such a bread for christmas eve for her (what I will love to do).
About the bread itself I can just repeat what I said before: It is delicious crusty with a soft crumb and great flavour. It is my personal favourite. And that makes it a good candidate for Michas new permanrnt blogevent where she looks for “Undiscovered Blog Buster” (german: Der Unendeckte Blog Buster =DUBB)!
This Month I published another recipe in the staff journal of the university of cologne. And this time it is a chocolate cardamom sablé recipe, perfect for Christmas.
Sablé is French and means “Sand” and as tender and friable is this cookie inspired by the French original. With cacao, cardamom and cinnamon the cookies are very aromatic and the little salt crystals of the fleur de sel are the perfect contrast to the sweet cookie.
When making the dough you have to take care of two things: Butter and egg white should both have room temperature, to ensure a soft dough perfect for piping and you should just fold the flour under to ensure a tender cookie. But then they are easily made and a perfect treat for Christmas time!
with this view out of my kitchen window I want to wish you a merry and peaceful Christmas!
There are three recipes I bake each year for christmas: Vanillekipferl (with or without almonds), Liebesgrübchen and Linzer Ringe. These are family recipes, and a christmas “must have”.
But each year I have to bake some new recipes as well. And one of the recipes I tried this year are these quince stars. When I made my traditional Linzer Ringe recipe I had the Idea of a cookie made with a quince fillung and some grounded almonds and a little bit of tonka bean in the dough. I use the tonka beans always carefully because while they taste delicious, their aroma is a strong one, too.
I like my spontaneous recipe vey much, the combination of almond, quince and tonka bean fits very well!
On of attractions in cologne is the shrine of the holy three kings in the cologne cathedral. The story how this relic was brought is not a nice one. They were part of the loot that Barbarossa take from Milan. The shrine attracted since then pilgrims to cologne and due to many people that came to see it, the decision to build the cathedral was made.
But something like the three kings bread (german: Dreikönigskuchen) is not know here. When I saw the bread that Claudia baked, I had to know more about this swiss tradition. And so I started reading and learned that it is an old tradition that was resurrect in Swiss during the fifties.
The Bread is made of the sweet dough, and shaped as a flower. A small figure, a bean or an almond is hidden in the bread and who finds this will be the king for one day. That is a niece tradition.
For my Three kings bread I choose a sweet dough like for a challah, containing some orange juice which adds a niece flavour to the dough. The vitamin C in the orange juice helps to strengthen the gluten network and so the bread could rise very nicely. For a more complex taste I added some Lievito madre, too. The bread tasted very good, sweet and fluffy, perfect for our breakfast on Sunday.