Also great for Easter!
Secretly sorry Christmas is over so soon? Well I am, because I so love to bake my stollen! That is why I came up with these ‘stollen bollen’. They are a deluxe version of our much loved raisin buns with a lovely almondy surprise in the center. It is a mini stollen in disguise. Nobody needs to know…until they take a bite!
For my stollen and raisin buns I like using fresh yeast because it seems to be more enthusiastic when it comes to proofing this enriched dough, and somehow it smells even better too. I also love adding the drunken cherries as an extra over the top surprise, but you can leave them out of course.
Making a recipe your own is one of the great delights of baking so by all means give these buns your own twist.
Ingredients for the Stollen bollen
200 g bread flour
200 g all purpose flour (or French type 55 flour)
40 g fresh yeast or 14 grams instant yeast
8 g salt
50 g fresh softened butter
1 egg yolk
220 g milk*
20 g orange rubbed sugar (see ‘before you start’))
360 g mix of raisins, currants and cranberries, washed and soaked
180 g almond paste (see ‘before you start’)
1 egg yolk and 1 tsp cinnamon to add to the almond paste
12 drunken cherries (optional, see ‘before you start’)
30 g melted butter for brushing after baking
*Depending on the flour you use, it could be you need to add a few % extra milk to your dough. But remember the fruit you are going to add will also give some extra moisture.
Before you start!
For this recipe it is really handy if you have three things ready and prepared in advance, the cherries, orange rubbed sugar and cinnamon almond paste.
The cinnamon almond paste
You can find our recipe for homemade almond paste here. For this recipe you need 180 grams of it and add an egg yolk plus a teaspoon of cinnamon and work this through the paste until smooth. If you do not want to make almond paste you can also use marzipan.
The drunken cherries
You need to make these cherries well in advance so the cherries can soak up the liqueur, at least two days in advance but longer is even better. If you do not have the time or not want to add them, you can very easily leave them out without spoiling the recipe. But they are very easy to make and good with many other recipes (see our Christmas brownies for example). This is how it works: Put good quality dried cherries in a clean jar until the jar is almost full. Top off with almond liqueur (or a liqueur of your choice, use rum if you prefer) and wait for the cherries to soak up the liquid and get plumb. Check after a while if the cherries need topping off with more liqueur, because they need to be ‘under water’.
The orange rubbed sugar
For the orange rubbed sugar mix 20 grams of sugar with the zest of 1 unwaxed orange. You can store this mixture in your fridge, it will keep for a long time.
Soaking the raisins
You also have to wash and soak your raisins, currants and cranberries. First wash them and then leave them in warm water for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and leave to dry on a plate for up to two days (cover them against dust). If you do not want to wait two days, or you forgot, just drain them well and roll them lightly in flour before using. The amount of raisins used in this recipe is almost the same as the amount of flour used. It seems like a lot, but you need this amount to not ‘have to bicycle from one raisin to the next’ as we say. As you make these ‘stollen bollen’ more often, you will come to your own preferred amount.
Making the stollen bollen
Put flour, salt, orange sugar, egg yolk, yeast and most of the milk in the bowl of your standing mixer. If you are using fresh yeast, first dissolve it in some of the milk, before adding it to the other ingredients. Let everything come together by mixing slowly and gradually add the rest of the milk, then add the soft butter and knead the dough until well developed. With a KitchenAid type mixer, the kneading takes 8 to 10 minutes, by hand it will take about 15 minutes of good kneading. Make sure the dough is not too sticky or too dry. Aim for a bit tacky, which means that when you poke the dough with your dry finger it should stick for a second but then peel off as you remove your finger. Remember, there can be a lot of difference in the required amount of liquid, depending on the flour you use! Now Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
Next add the raisins and ‘pinch’ them through the dough very carefully by hand, so they are evenly distributed. If you are lucky enough to own a spiral mixer, you can use the mixer instead and it will only take up to one minute to distribute the raisins. If not, just do the work by hand.
Shape the dough into a ball, transfer to a greased bowl, cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Now press the dough down with both hands into a flat disc, roll it up tightly, cover it and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and shape into balls. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
Now press the balls with your hand until slightly flat and put 15 grams of the almond paste, also rolled into a ball, on top of it. If you want to add the drunken cherries, you can now put one on top of each heap of almond paste and slightly press it in the paste. Seal the dough around the past and round the dough again into a smooth ball.
Place the rolls on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet or paper.
Now the rolls are ready for their final proofing. Loosely cover them with plastic wrap dusted with flour. Depending on your room temperature and the temperature of the dough this should take at least 1 hour, but more likely 1.5 hours or even more. Just be patient and check regularly. When you think it has risen enough, use your finger to carefully make a very small dent in the dough. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake, if the indentation disappears, the dough needs a little bit more time (check every 15 minutes).
During the proofing process preheat your oven to 200 ºC /390 ºF conventional setting.
When ready place the buns in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, also depending on your oven. They should have a nice golden brown shine. Temper the oven when the crust has the desired color (with some ovens this is needed, otherwise the tops of the buns will burn). Take the buns out of the oven. Brush the tops with some melted butter while the buns are still warm, this way they also stay soft and get extra taste. Leave to cool. If you place them in a bag while still slightly warm, they will stay nice and soft too. Eat with fresh butter and a dusting of powdered sugar. The buns also keep well in the freezer and you can give them a quick blast in the microwave until they are slightly warm again.