A Harmony of Flavors

Monday, December 17, 2012

Delicious No Matter the Language

Small Stollen loaves, just baked
and glazed with a simple icing
So many cultures, and so many wonderful recipes. I have focused on my Slovak and Serbian ethnic recipes, and on Guatemalan foods I learned to love, along with Indian. When Christmas time rolls around, regardless how many other goodies there are to eat, German Stollen bread is on my list. Fruit and nut filled and rich with butter and egg, this bread is just marvelous for breakfast or brunch, with coffee or tea on a cold winter's morn. These things are food for the soul, and are made from the heart.

There are many, many Stollen recipe variations, of course. Everyone who writes a recipe declares theirs is the only "right" way. I declare there is no right way to make anything, but only interpretations. All recipes are personal interpretations. We alter a recipe to include an ingredient we prefer, or leave one out that we dislike. Then and there, the recipe is now a personal variation and no longer someone else's.

Stollen for Breakfast
I enjoy reading recipes, and variations on recipes. I love seeing the differences and similarities and then making them to my own taste. I rarely make a recipe as it is given. Stollen bread is basically as I described: fruit and nut filled and butter and egg rich. Amounts and specifics are left to personal interpretation. I prefer having my Stollen filled to overflowing with the fruits and nuts. Though many Stollen recipes call for citron in large quantity, I dislike citron and would never put it in anything I make. Does that make it any less good? I think not. Some recipes call for cherries, and some not. I am not generally wild about raisins when baked in a food, but I do use them in my Stollen, because it seems an integral part of the recipe. Golden or dark raisins, either/or, or both. I really love candied orange peel, so that goes in.

But have you ever tried to make such an overwhelmingly rich yeast dough? It is very hard for the yeast to have an effect on such a heavy dough, so the making of Stollen is a long process. Rising times are very long. I started making my Stollen this morning at 10:30 AM. The last loaves were out of the oven at 6:30 PM. I have been working on many other things today, while waiting for the dough to rise, so its not that I had to be there attendant upon the dough. Just checking in periodically is enough. The bread is made for this year, and I am pleased.  The recipe makes two quite large loaves, or three more medium sized loaves. This year I want to give them as gifts, so I made 8 smaller loaves. See the recipe for my Stollen loaves and you might be tempted to spend a nice day inside watching this marvelous bread rising, with the promise of such goodness at the end.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter.