Stollen : German in my Dubai Kitchen

It was last year in December that I heard about stolen on Dubai one, I was in sri lanka at that time doing my masters in sugar flower and cake decorating from Knightsbridge university UK. It was a busy time with sugar flower making for the exams and taking care of a 3 month old baby. I heard the word stollen and was wondering if that an ingredient but I dint have the time to browse the internet and find out the meaning. It’s been a year since then and only a week ago I came across some posts and images of stolen, it’s the winter season and seems like stolen is a good that’s famous in December. They call the Christmas season but I call it the winter season. So finally I goggled for stolen and went through the Wikipedia which gave a brief detail on what’s stolen and where it originated. I learnt that stolen originated from Germany and is kind of a fruit loaf but it’s special and is not called a fruit loaf because of it marzipan centre. This bread is made with less sugar but dusted with excess amount of powdered sugar to give it that festive look and sweet taste. The marzipan also acts as a sweetener in the stolen.

Trying out a German recipe was really interesting and according to me if you can’t travel around the world you need to cook international cuisines. Talking about international cuisines, I believe international cuisines means atleast one dish from one country. Once I went for an international buffet and was very disappointed to find just a few selections of dishes which were mostly from the eastern part of this world and not even a sushi for it to be worth having on a sailing boat. Don’t you readers agree with me?

So I decided my blog needs an international touch while my taste buds were craving to experience different flavors from around the world and in no way am going to get to travel around the world to taste the traditional food of different countries so I cook and bake different recipes. This stollen is said to be a traditional German good especially done during the Christmas season and I here that some bakeries have started getting orders for stollen as early as November so you know how the good is on demand now let me explain how it tastes and the role each ingredient used played a role in my cooking life.

As I went through the recipe on my big book of baking the ingredients were very interesting. The dried fruits and peels were some of which I am familiar or had on my pantry while a few I had to substitute and adjust to make sure I had the perfect stollen from German. The spices used on the stollen were also were readily available on my pantry. The cinnamon powder and cardamon pods which I later pound and used the inside were some I have tasted and used on my cakes and desserts. One spice I have never tasted or used on a sweet dish was nutmeg powder, yes, I never even imagined of using it. I was so reluctant to use it though I was generous to use the said quantity amidst doubts if the nutmeg will taste good on a dessert or cake. So only way to find out if it’s good or bad is by trying it, that’s what my hubby always mentions every time I say something. So I take it as an encouragement and try different things. One other ingredient that was mentioned was dark rum. We don’t use those or consume them in any form so I had to substitute it with my favorite malt drink the one and only Bavaria pineapple flavor. The moment I poured it on my dry fruit mixture I heard the sizzle of the malt drink. This malt drink works wonders on substituting for alcohol.

So finally my dough was ready and I popped it into my oven in a couple of hours. The moment it was done I could not wait but glaze it with butter and powdered sugar. As soon as it was done I sliced it and started eating a few slices. Trust me the fear of how the nutmeg would taste vanished the moment is saw my final product the snowy looking loaf standing on my kitchen top with the winter breeze squeezing itself through my window making the atmosphere wonderful with the aroma of a baked stollen with all those spice mixed filling the air. The perfect winter treat in this December in Dubai can never be better than a German stollen.

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Bread Basket

everytime I see a basket filled with breads and bun I am mesmerized by its beauty. bread in a basket is such a lovely sight. I have been wanting to create a lovely basket like those I see on the internet, tv programs and picnics images. I remember seeing my ginn readers back in junior school illustrated with images that have picnics with baskets of bread or sandwiches. so the first time I saw a lovely basket in sri lanka last year I grabbed it and shoved it on my cart. the purpose was to create a basket of bread or bun.

I tried making my yeast free bread for the second time and it was a success, they were soft and delicious. quick and easy. so here are some images on my visualized basket of bread created from my junior school reader illustrations.

so after successfully achieving my very own recipe of baking bread and buns I decided to follow a recipe to make a bread loaf so I depended on my very own and loving “The Big Book of Baking”

it has a good selection of recipes and they need to be tried at least some of them. It’s winter, the best time to bake bread, especially when it’s fresh out of the oven homemade and the house scented with baking makes it the best comfort food (according to me).

The desire to master the art of baking breads and buns was passed onto me by my mum, she loves to bake a perfect bread loaf and she is a self taught cook who is crazy of cookbooks and I am her crazy daughter who adopted her cookbook love and the passion for cooking. every time my mum sees a cookbook or cooking show she used to be glued to that place until she found out what’s the outcome. I here she is not feeling well now and has given up her passion but am here to continue it and I am addicted of baking. I just can stay awake for the sound of baking, or watching a baking program or even eating a baking good. no worries I can even just stand there watching and photographing a baked good. so last weekend was a bread thursday. I baked the crusty loaf bread and voila it turned out super perfect. it was soft and delicious. kept well over the counter for up to 4 days. You can make a sandwich, serve with stew or even do a bread pudding with this homemade bread. I would like to say that The Big Book of Baking is a worthy investment for all bakers. it has details from basic baking to bread making and it gives you information on all things baking. I am so glad I invested a 50 dirham for this book and it holds my memory at the first floating library visit last year in september.

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next idea is to create a glass of bread sticks 🙂

have a great winter 🙂