i should have just bought a christmas pudding from m&s
So, to overcome my fear of baking and breadmaking, I'm making loaves of Stollen today. There are actually many versions out there you can do in a bread machine, but I thought I'd do it the old fashioned way. This may end up being a terrible idea; bread and I don't get along very well unless it involves slicing and slathering with butter. Another tricky bit is the fact that I've never eaten Stollen in my life, so I have no idea what it should taste like. Cripes, what the hell have I gotten myself into? Anyhoo, in honour of my lovely German sister-in-law (who is hosting our family Christmas again this year), I decided to make Stollen. Since it needs to sit for a good couple of weeks and I can bring it with me, I thought it would be a good one to try.
I'm following this recipe from the fabulous A Spoonful of Sugar blog, with a few small changes. And I do honestly mean small changes; I hate it when you read a recipe review and the reviewer has changed the original beyond recognition. How are you supposed to know if the recipe is any good or not based on that? Allrecipes.com is notorious for this sort of thing: "I made this chilli recipe and my whole family loved it! I would definitely make it again! I made a few changes. Instead of using kidney beans I used tinned corn, and instead of tomatoes, I added a couple of cans of mushroom soup. I thought it was a bit spicy, so I adjusted the seasoning a bit. I omitted the chilli powder and substituted it with 4 cups of Bisquick. Yum!"
I really did make minor changes and attempted to stay true to the original where possible. I can't get my hands on fresh yeast around here so I used dried and I didn't make my own marzipan. I know, I know - it's easy to make and tastes a million times better, but the little lazy imp that sits on my shoulder (the left one, if you're curious) told me to buy the prepackaged marzipan. "Go on", he said. "It's got a pretty label and doesn't say 'Tesco Value' on it. It's probably good quality stuff. Go on!" The only other change was the addition of a teaspoon of cinnamon, partially because I came across a few Stollen recipes that call for it, but mostly because I love cinnamon in fruited breads.
So far, so good. I'm on the first rise and the dough smells delicious already. I shall get back to you in about 2 1/2 hours when it's done rising and baking. In the meantime, enjoy this amusing video that starts out funny, but frankly gets a bit creepy the longer it goes on: