16 February 2009

Geburtstagsstollen

I recently mentioned to a friend in my ward that I love Christmas Stollen and wanted to make some for my birthday. That sure paid off. She said she would provide all the ingredients if I would provide the kitchen, and that she didn't want any for herself. Since Stollen is supposed to be at least a few weeks old when it's eaten, we had our great birthday Stollen-baking night on Thursday.

Stollen has a lot of ingredients, and many of them would be very hard to find or very different in the U.S.













First, we broke up the weirdest form of yeast (150 g) I have ever seen--it was in rubbery blocks. Sabine convinced me to try a little; it was just as weird as I suspected. We added 1/4 liter of warm milk, a generous amount of sugar, and 500 g of flour. After mixing by hand, we then poured flour on top so it could rise for 15 minutes without sticking to the towel. In another bowl (a large mixing bowl), we started with 1000 g of flour in a big mixing bowl and added a teaspoon of salt and 300 grams of sugar. Then came the fat! Everything in the following picture that is not flour is some form of fat. That must be why Stollen is so good. Sabine said that's also why it lasts forever.













So the fat consists of 250 grams of concentrated butter, 250 grams of butter, 125 grams of margarine, and 125 grams of lard cut up into the flour! That's 750 grams of fat!

After kneading in the yeast mixture, we added 200 grams of Zitronat, which is lemon peel that has been somehow crystalized. That's those rubbery sections in fruit cake, I think. Then came 2 teaspoons of bitter almond extract and 300 grams of sweet almonds that vary in size between fine and chunky. We mixed in a couple of teaspoons of lemon extract and 3 packets of vanilla sugar (have I ever seen this in the U.S.?). Sabine kept saying I hadn't eaten enough dough and would pull off cookie-sized amounts for me to eat.

We then washed and soaked 800 grams of raisins in warm water, and kneaded them into the dough, which had a was slimy but not sticky, and very resilient. Leaving the dough to rise for an hour, I asked Sabine if she'd had some dinner.

Here's where it got kind of embarrassing. I didn't really have anything in the fridge, so I offered her EasyMac which I got for Christmas, saying she should try America's typical kid food. I should have made two packets for her. Just one was hardly anything in that bowl. And the fact that my apartment is really cold made her put on her coat. (I actually thought the kitchen was pretty warm.)

Then we formed the dough into four loaves, slightly slitted the tops (in two rows), and left them to rise for 15 minutes.













Sabine and I had an enjoyable time talking about all the great trips she's been on. Then she wanted to see my room, which was thankfully clean. I told her how lucky I was that I had gotten this room and that it had everything I needed. She was also glad that the previous roommate had left everything behind--everything, that is, except for curtains. She said, "Michelle, I have curtains that you can have," but I protested that Elfrieda (her mother-in-law) had already tried that, but I had no way to hang them. "That's not a problem," she said, and she told me to get a ruler so she could measure my window.

We put two Stollen loaves into the oven (on a tray with baking paper, which is all the rage in Germany, I've never seen anyone grease or flour anything) at 150 degrees Celsius and continued talking. She politely watched the home videos I showed her. During one of them, I remarked how skinny I used to be, and she said, "You're still thin, just not like that. Sometimes you don't eat, do you?" Her question took me by surprise. "Actually, I always eat, and I eat a lot," I said, but I could tell she didn't believe me, because she answered with, "You are invited to eat with us at any time. Just tell us when you can come."

When the Stollen loaves were done baking (after about 50-55 minutes), we spread 250 grams of butter on top, sprinkled 6 packets of vanilla sugar after that, and then 200 grams of powdered sugar after that--we were breathing sugar.























She'd even brought paper Weihnachtsstollen bags and plastic bags for me to put them in until they had "matured."













I crossed out "Weihnachts" and wrote "Geburtstags."













Now they are sitting on my shelf in plastic bags (to hold the flavor) until my birthday comes around. I think I'll just eat one then and save the others for special occasions, like the arrival of my very first American visitors--Amy and Paul! Wahoo! I have wanted visitors for so long, I'm super excited, even it will only be for less than two days.

Oh, and P.S. Sabine came to me in church on Sunday (after I gave a talk, played the organ for all three hymns, and provided the musical number) and had me pick a color of curtain from a magazine. She's ordering them! That really humbled me. And I hope that the picture wasn't deceiving and I don't regret saying the one that looks red, though she suggested the orange.

Some people just can't get any nicer.

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are making some wonderful friends over there! Enjoy the stollen. =)

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  2. That looks awesome! Anything with that much butter (and lemon) must taste great. I'm excited for you to have your first American visitors. One day you'll have your second American visitors!

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