If you haven’t heard of stollen before, you are missing out! Stollen is a traditional German Christmas bread. It is a bread with a cake-like texture. And it usually contains nuts, spices (such as cinnamon and nutmeg), dried or candied fruit, marzipan and coated with powdered sugar. Traditional stollens are mostly leavened by yeast and are by no means vegan, as they are made with butter, milk and egg yolk. Since I love making everything with sourdough starter and making vegan twist to traditional recipes, I decided to challenge myself with a Vegan Stollen Recipe this Christmas.
Vegan twist to traditional recipes
The Key To Making Sourdough Stollen – Stiff Starter
For this Sourdough Vegan Stollen recipe, it is especially important to use lievito madre (aka stiff starter), instead of your normal 100% sourdough starter. Stollen is a highly enriched dough with higher proportion of butter and sugar than usual. It is therefore particularly important to reduce the sourness in the final product.
Lievito madre is a stiff sourdough starter that is often used in Italy. It is not only active in nature, but it also has a very mild flavour profile without any sourness. All these make it very suitable to leaven enriched dough with high fat and sugar content, such as panettone and brioche.
Apart from stiff starter, you may notice that this brioche recipe has an unusually high start to flour ratio. One of the main reason is that I want to keep the proofing time as short as possible to eliminate the sourness. The longer the proofing time, the more sourness there will be in the dough.
In this recipe, I used a 40% hydration lievito madre as the stiff levain. The main reason of using stiff levain in this recipe is to reduce the sourness in the bread. You can of course convert your 100% hydration sourdough starter to a 40% hydration starter if you don’t have lievito madre. You can learn how to convert your starter by following this recipe. If you are using lievito madre, remember to refresh at least 3 times (4 hours apart) before using it. You will need 150g of Lievito Madre for this recipe.
Recipe adapted from Daring Gourmet’s and Natasha’s Stollen recipe.
Sourdough Vegan StollenCourse: Sourdough, DessertCuisine: GermanDifficulty: High
Stollen a bread with a cake-like texture. And it usually contains nuts, spices (such as cinnamon and nutmeg), dried or candied fruit, marzipan and coated with powdered sugar.
- Lievito Madre
70g Lievito Madre (refreshed at least 4 times beforehand)
70g bread flour
520g bread flour
250g plant milk (I used oat milk)
150g Lievito Madre from above
150g vegan butter (unsalted)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or sub 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup candied lemon peels
1/2 cup candied orange peels
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup hazelnuts (chopped)
1/3 cup spiced dark rum
- Glaze & Topping
50g vegan butter (unsalted)
- The night before, soak the dried fruits in spiced dark rum.
- Mix all the ingredients of Lievito Madre and leave it to rise until doubled or even tripled. It usually takes 3-4 hours at 82°F (28°C).
- Dissolve the sugar in plant milk. Mix the liquid flour and Lievito Madre in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook.
- Mix until the dough has strengthened (around 7-8 minutes).
- Gradually add butter. I added it in 3-4 batches. Remember to let the butter fully incorporate before adding in more. Continue mixing for around 10 minutes until it reaches window pane stage. Stop and place the dough in the freezer for 10-15 minutes in the dough became too warm.
- Remove the dough, lightly spray the bowl with some oil, cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until it almost doubles in size. Mine took 5 hours at 82°F (28°C).
- Take the dough out from the dough, punch it down, then put it back into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the soaked fruit and nut mixture (drained).
- Using the dough hook, knead the dough until well incorporated (about 3- 6 minutes on low speed). If the dough is too wet to handle, add a little bit of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Place it onto a floured work surface and cut it in two equal portions. Press the dough into an oval shape with 1 inch thickness.
- Roll 125g of marzipan into a log with length approximately equal to that of your dough. Place marzipan into the middle of the dough. Grab the top part of the dough and fold it over to cover the marzipan, then fold the bottom part over on top of the previously folded part so that the edge of is almost in the middle of the stollen. Similar to a letter fold.
- Place the stollen on a lined baking pan. Cover the stollen and let it rest in a warm place 82°F (28°C) for 1-2 hours until it becomes puffy and jiggly.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake the stollen for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Internal temperature should reach 190°F (87°C).
- Let it cool down for a couple minutes, then use a toothpick to poke holes all over the stollen. This will allow the melted butter to seep in.
- Generously brush the stollen with melted butter while the stollen is still warm. Immediately sprinkle a generous amount of powdered sugar on top of the stollen.
- Let the stollen cool completely.
- The stollen is ready to be eaten right away or you can wrap it tight in plastic and airtight bag and left to “mature” in a cool place for one to two weeks.