Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Stollen dispute and 2 recipes

Christmas Cake

By David Crossland in Dresden

Spiegel online December 11 2007

Dresdner Stollen baked in the grand city of Dresden is the queen of German Christmas cakes and has gained a growing popularity abroad. But the small town of Torgau is risking the wrath of Dresden's bakers by claiming it invented the cake 550 years ago, and launching its own Stollen to mark the occasion.

At Christmas time in Germany, no household is without its "Dresdner Stollen," a bread loaf-shaped cake containing raisins and marzipan which the city of Dresden has prided itself on for half a millennium.
Celebration of the powdered-sugar-coated delicacy reaches religious proportions in this eastern city. Thousands turned out last Saturday to cheer the world's biggest Stollen, a three-tonne monster, as it was hauled through the streets on a horse-drawn cart in an annual ritual not unlike a crowd of Aztecs worshipping a sun god.
Marching bands and dozens of bakers followed the 4.35 meter-long cake, made with 74 liters of rum and 2.6 million raisins, all the way to the city's main Christmas market, where it was cut into bite-sized half-kilo portions.
But the festivities have coincided with a claim by the small town of Torgau, 75 kilometers to the northwest of Dresden, that it was a Torgau baker who invented the Stollen.
"We don't want to start a Stollen war and we don't want to talk down the Dresdner Stollen in any way," Anja Jerichen, head of Torgau's tourist information office, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "We just want to point out that the Stollen in its current form goes back to a cake made 550 years ago by the Torgau baker Heinrich Drasdow."

Plucky Torgau Baker Defied Pope

In 1457, Drasdow added butter, raisins and sugar to a recipe that had been devised more than a century earlier in the German town of Naumburg a little further west, said Jerichen, citing historical research. Drasdow was brave because adding butter was in direct contravention of a papal ban on butter being consumed in the Advent fasting period leading up to Christmas.

Drasdow had a letter of privilege -- a type of patent -- from the local duke to bake his revolutionary new Stollen, which was far more tasty than the original dreary mix of flour, water and brewer's yeast the Naumburg bakers had presented to their bishop in the early 14th century as a fasting food. The white oblong shape of that cake was intended to symbolize the baby Jesus in swaddling, and has remained unchanged to this day.
The "Drasdow Stollen" was baked 17 years before Stollen was even mentioned in conjunction with the city of Dresden in historical records. It gradually became known as "Dresdner Stollen" because the people of Dresden don't enunciate clearly, claims celebrity chef Reinhard Lämmel in his "Saxony Cookbook," adding insult to injury.
Predictably, Dresden's bakers are having none of it. Wolfgang Hesse, head of the city's Stollen Protection Association, told SPIEGEL ONLINE: "It doesn't matter who baked what 500 years ago. The real Christmas Stollen only comes from Dresden. I'm sure Torgau bakes good Stollen. But Dresden never claimed to be first, we're just the best."

Marketing Success

Dresden's bakers have certainly been the best at marketing their Stollen over the centuries. Dresdner Stollen has trademark protection and has established itself as the Mercedes of Christmas cakes in Germany.
Only the cakes produced in the city's 150 bakeries, many of them family-run, may be called Dresdner Stollen.
The city's Stollen Protection Association maintains strict quality control and dictates the quantities of raisins, almonds and other ingredients that go into it. However, subtle differences remain in the recipes passed down through generations of bakers, and a true Stollen connoisseur can detect them, said Hesse.

Dresden's bakers churn out more than two million Stollen cakes in various sizes each year.
"It doesn't matter who invented it, it was the bakers of Dresden who refined the recipe and turned it into a world-famous cake," Marlon Gnauck, manager of Dresden-based bakery Bäckerei Konditorei Gnauck, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Because we're selling so many of them, it's understandable that others are trying to get a piece of the cake, as it were."
Just as German-style Christmas markets are popping up in cities around the world, Dresdner Stollen is enjoying growing international popularity. Gnauck exports 80 percent of the around 7,000 Stollen cakes his company bakes every year, mainly to European Union countries (especially France) but also to the US.
But plucky Torgau is fighting back. "We've been marketing our own Stollen more aggressively this year to mark its 550th anniversary and have started baking the Torgau Butterstollen according to an old recipe," said Jerichen.

Recipe: Marzipan stollen

Los Angeles Times December 19, 2007

Marzipan stollen
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus rising and proofing time

Servings: 16 to 20 (8 to 10 per loaf)
Note: From Donna Deane.
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup diced mixed candied citrus peel ( 1/4 -inch dice)
1/2 cup candied cranberries
1/2 cup brandy
4 to 5 cups flour, divided
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 package (7 ounces) marzipan
Melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1. In a medium bowl, combine the raisins, currants, candied peel and candied cranberries. Pour the brandy over the fruit and let stand 1 hour. Drain, reserving the brandy. Pat the fruit dry with paper towels, return to a clean bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the flour.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over one-fourth cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees) and stir until dissolved. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand until the yeast begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, salt and remaining sugar to warm (110 to 115 degrees). Add the milk mixture, vanilla extract and eggs to the yeast mixture and beat in a mixer or by hand with a fork or wooden spoon until combined. Beat in the reserved brandy. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Cut the butter into small pieces and beat in. Beat in enough of the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Flatten the dough out, then knead in the candied fruit, adding flour to the board as needed.
5. Shape the dough into a ball and put the dough into a buttered glass bowl. Turn the dough buttered side up and loosely cover. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
6. Punch down the dough and divide into two equal parts. Place one half aside. Roll the other half into a 12-by-8-inch oval. Brush with melted butter.
7. Cut the marzipan into quarters and roll each quarter into a 12-inch rope. Put two of the ropes alongside each other along the length of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2 - to 2-inch border between the two ropes in the center of the rolled-out dough. Fold the long side of the dough over to the center of the oval. Fold over the other long side so that it overlaps the center by about 1 inch, pressing down gently but firmly. Lightly taper the ends of the loaf. Put the finished loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Repeat with the reserved dough.
8. Let the two loaves rise until each has doubled in size. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake about 30 to 40 minutes until dark golden brown. Dust loaves with powdered sugar.
Each of 20 servings: 320 calories; 5 grams protein; 57 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 7 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 34 mg. cholesterol; 129 mg. sodium.

Recipe for traditional German Stollen made year after year

By Tracy Sahler

Delmarva Daily Times (MD) 12 December 2007

Most years, at just about this time in December, I have my annual eye check. This doesn't involve an appointment or equipment, only a single copied sheet of an old newspaper article that I have been using for more than 15 years. That's when I started making traditional German stollen from a recipe my stepmother had clipped in 1978.
The copy is dark and the tiny fractions are almost impossible to decipher, so each year I squint and stare and take my best guess at how much candied fruit and other ingredients to add. I could have retyped it long ago and ended this particular challenge, but it seemed to have become part of the ritual of making the bread for my dad, my aunt and others who from fond childhood memories remember this bread. The bread always seemed to turn out pretty well, too.
My Aunt Andrea loved stollen, and for a number of years, I could always be found baking stollen in the kitchen the night before we would see her. She died in January, so in her memory, so that others may experience the wonderful tradition of homemade holiday bread, here is the recipe, complete with readable fractions.

Frau Neumann's Best Stollen
3/4 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup candied lemon, orange and lime peel, diced
1/2 cup candied pineapple, diced
1/2 cup candied cherries, quartered
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup rum
1/4 cup very warm (105 to 110 degrees) water
2 packets active dry yeast
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated lemon rind
3 eggs, beaten
5 1/4 to 5 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, divided use
1 cup blanched, slivered almonds
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

Combine raisins, candied fruit and currants in a bowl with rum. Toss fruit well, cover, and set aside for at least four hours.
In a cup, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Let stand several minutes, then stir until particles are dissolved. Stir in a pinch of sugar and set aside for five minutes.
Meanwhile, place milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, heat until milk is very warm, almost hot to the touch. Stir mixture until sugar is dissolved and place in a large bowl. Add extract and lemon rind. Stir in yeast, which will be very foamy. Drain rum from the fruit and add the liquid to milk mixture. Add beaten eggs and stir well.
With a large kitchen spoon, gradually beat 5 cups of flour into the mixture. Then beat softened butter (using one stick plus 2 tablespoons) into the dough. Set dough aside 10 minutes.
Spread drained fruit on a layer of paper towels Blot additional moisture with more towels. Return dry fruit to a clean bowl, add 2 tablespoons flour and the almonds and toss well.
Place dough on a floured surface and begin kneading. If necessary, add a bit more flour as you work, but be careful not to over-flour the dough. Knead 10 minutes. Gently press fruit and nuts into the dough, about 1/4 cup at a time. Avoid overworking, or dough will discolor. Return stollen to a greased bowl. Brush dough surface with a tablespoon of the remaining butter. Cover bowl with a slightly dampened cloth and set in a warm spot for two hours or until dough doubles in bulk.
Punch down and divide into three equal portions. On a greased surface, roll out each portion to form a rectangle about 11 inches long and 8 1/2 inches wide. Spread the surface of each rectangle into a loaf by folding one long side into the center, then folding the other in so it overlaps the first one by about 1/2-inch. Press down each seam to hold it in place. With a spatula, transfer loaves to greased rimmed baking sheets. Taper ends of each loaf slightly to form a smooth, gently rounded shape. Grease stollen tops with remaining 5 tablespoons butter. Set in a warm spot and let rise for one hour.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees if loaves begin to brown too rapidly; however, they should be slightly crusty and well browned when done.
Remove loaves to a wire rack with spatula. Cool 10 minutes, dust with powdered sugar, and serve. Or, allow stollen to cool thoroughly, wrap in storage bags and freeze for up to 3 weeks. Thaw completely, warm in foil, dust with sugar and serve.

NB Under “Stollen recipes” on Google many other recipes can be found….

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