In December I found this very handy dough that I named the Wonder Bread Recipe. Not only does it make delicious sour dough bread, but it can also be used to make monkey bread, homemade pigs in blankets, and croutons.
The other day I added sugar, nuts and fruit and created a very simple stollen. So, now I have yet another reason to make sure that some of this dough is always in my fridge.
This is so easy and if you like coffee and toast for breakfast you are going to be in heaven.
Super Easy Stollen
1/2 Wonder Bread dough (Scroll down for recipe.)
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of dried fruit (Craisins or raisins work well)
1 cup of chopped dates
1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
Pull 1/2 of the prepared dough from the fridge and place on floured surface. Knead for a minute and shape into a somewhat flat shape. Pour sugar on dough and knead until incorporated. Flatten dough again and add nuts and fruit. Knead the dough. Some of the fruits and nuts will fall out as you knead. Just keep adding them back in. Continue to work dough and when all the fruit and nuts are kneaded in shape the dough into a round loaf. Spray a 9 inch cake pan or cast iron skillet. Add dough to skillet and cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. When doubled in size combine icing ingredients and drizzle this mixture over the top of the risen stollen. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.
*The flour/liquid ratio is important in this recipe. If you measure flour by sprinkling it into your measuring cup, then gently sweeping off the excess, use 7 1/2 cups. If you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then sweeping off the excess, use 6 1/2 cups. Most accurate of all, and guaranteed to give you the best results, if you measure flour by weight, use 32 ounces.
1) Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket. For first-timers, "lukewarm" means about 105°F, but don't stress over getting the temperatures exact here. Comfortably warm is fine; "OUCH, that's hot!" is not. Yeast is a living thing; treat it nicely.
2) Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don't have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk till everything is combined.
3) Next, you're going to let the dough rise. If you've made the dough in a plastic bucket, you're all set — just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here. If you've made the dough in a bowl that's not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it's going to rise a lot. There's no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it's time to bake bread.
4) Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you're pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it'll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it'll rise, then fall. That's OK; that's what it's supposed to do.
5) When you're ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It'll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.
6) Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball, or a longer log. Don't fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.
7) Place the dough on a piece of parchment (if you're going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the dough moist as it rests before baking.
8) Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. It won't appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it'll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the dough rests. Place a shallow pan on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.
9) When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2" deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that's OK, it'll pick right up in the hot oven.
10) Place the bread in the oven, and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It'll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.
11) Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown.
12) Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
13) Yield: 3 or 4 loaves, depending on size.