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Haven’t forgotten how to bake, and I think I can still recall how to type, too. Think I just haven’t done anything so special lately – say for 6 months, well hmm.. No, actually I have learned to make excellent choux pastry and so delicious éclairs out of it with the most gorgeous vanilla-pudding filling. You ain’t getting that recipe (yet) though. Instead this post is about something more christmassy, and actually, I’m quite happy to serve you the recipe for marzipanstollen.

Sliced

I’ve tried making stollen before and somehow then they weren’t that successful at all. And something about the usual over-powering amount of raisins kills it for me. Therefore, these marzipanstollen are simply made with almonds and candied peel, no raisins included. And I always thought stollen were a tricky bake. Ha, these were simple to make, trickiest part would the the buttering-sugaring-action after baking, but it can be done.

Marzipanstollen (2 medium ones)

Mother dough:
175 g   Luke-warm milk
200 g   All-purpose-flour
35 g   Yeast

Actual dough:
300 g   All-purpose-flour
60 g   Sugar
200 g   Butter, cold
50 g   Egg (1 egg)
5 g   Salt
Aroma (lemon, vanilla)

Fruits and almonds:
100 g   Almonds (slivered, chopped)
50 g   Candied orange peel
50 g   Candied lemon peel

And
200 g   Marzipan (Almond paste)
100 g   Sliced almonds
100-150 g   Butter
Sugar, vanillasugar

1. Make the mother dough. Warm up the milk, dissolve the yeast into it and knead together with the flour into an elastic dough. Let it stand covered for 30-45 minutes in room-temperature.

2. Meanwhile, measure the slivered and chopped almonds into a cup. Pour warm water over them, so that they are covered. This way they soften and do not suck away the moisture from the actual dough.

3. After your mother dough is ready, add the ingredients for the actually dough into it (flour, sugar, butter, egg, salt and aromas). Use cold butter, for too warm butter melts into the dough and ruins its structure. Knead into a smooth dough and let it rest covered for another 30 minutes.

4. Drain the almonds. After the actually dough has rested for 30 minutes, knead the almonds and the candied peel gently into it.

5. Divide the dough into two (about 600 g each) and form balls. Divide the marzipan into two as well and form sticks (about 10 cm long). Flatten the dough balls and place the marzipan sticks in the middle of them. Close the dough around the marzipan. Brush the stollen with water, or go over them with wet hands. Then roll them in the sliced almonds and place on a baking tray with a paper with the seam side down. Let the stollen proof covered for 30-45 minutes in the room-temperature.

6. Heat up the oven to 210°C.

7. After proofing, place the stollen into the lower level of your oven. Turn the temperature down to 190°C as the stollen go in. Bake for 45 minutes.

8. Melt butter in a pan. Mix an amount of sugar with vanilla sugar in a box enough big for the stollen to fit in.

9. Once your stollen and nicely browned and baked, cover them properly with the butter using a brush or by plunging them shortly in the melted butter. Roll the buttered stollen in the sugar mixture and leave them to cool on a baking rack.

Out of oven

10. Cut and enjoy once cooled. Stollen ough to keep good for quite the time, and this really is the Lembas come true. Even the smallest piece fills you up for the day (me and Carlos might be Hobbits, since half a stollen seemed to make just a nice mid-day snack for the two of us…).

Merry not-so-white Christmas (+7°C and raining, yay..)

-Marika

Close up

My boyfriend loves these puff pastry bakings, and well, I do also have trouble keeping my fingers away from them. But being a baker, I’m the most excited about the fact that all one needs for such a delicious treat is flour, butter, sugar and water. The trick lies in the lamination of the dough, the key to which is using cool ingredients and giving the dough a plentiful resting time between the folds. I’ve had my practice with this dough, so I think, I can now share it with full confidence that it indeed, does work.

Serve

Elephant ears

250 g   All-purpose-flour
250 g   Butter (83 + 167 g)
150 g   Cold water

and quite an amount of sugar

Mix the flour with one third of the butter (83 g), ’till crumbly. Add the cold water and mix quick and shortly into a smooth dough. Roll out into a rectangle, about 1cm thick. Wrap the sheet into a cling film and place into the fridge.

Crumbly

Dough

Rolled

Roll the rest of the butter (167 g) into a rectangle as well, this being about half the size of the dough sheet. Place the butter sheet into the freezer.

Rectangle

Do dishes, take a walk or find something else fun to do, while waiting for the ingredients to cool. I always tend to let my butter get too cold, and then it starts crumbling into pieces as I’m rolling out and folding the dough. Too warm butter can start melting through the dough layers, thus resulting into a faulty lamination. You can try to rescue the situation either by placing the dough into the fridge for a time, or letting it warm up on the table, depending on the case. Anyway, do not panic. You’ll still end up with a puff pastry in the end, after all rough puff pastry works, too.

So, once your butter feels ready for it, start the folding. First place the butter in the middle of the dough and seal it in. Don’t be afraid to use some flour to keep the dough from sticking to the table.

Perfect fit

Seal

Roll the dough out ’till about 1,5 cm thick and make a simple fold. Fold one third in the middle, and the rest on top of this.

Simple fold

Roll the dough out again and make a double fold. Fold the dough almost in half, leaving the bottom part just a bit longer. Then fold this end towards the middle meeting the other end of the sheet. Finally fold this in half.

Double fold

Double done

Now let your dough rest wrapped in cling film in the fridge for a minimum of one hour. After the resting time, make another doubled fold and finally one last simple fold. Then leave your dough covered in the fridge for overnight. This is required for the dough to rest and not to shrink when working it further. At this point the dough is very bland having no flavor to it. From this same dough I have made salty puff pastry bakings, filled with tuna or minced meat.

The next day start by rolling out your dough to a rectangle of 30cm x 40cm, using just enough flour to avoid it from sticking to the table.

30cm x 40cm

Now cover the dough with sugar, turn it over, and cover the other side with sugar as well. Roll out slightly to make the sugar stick into the dough. With a ruler, make a marking to the middle point of the side that is 40cm wide, also to 20cm. Then turn the ends towards the middle, so that they are in the halfway to the middle point. Put some more sugar on these folds.

10cm in

Then carefully turn the folds to the middle, so that they meet.

In the middle

Cover with sugar, and fold one side over the other, so that you are left with a long, somewhat-roll-like-shape.

Like this

Be patient, and freeze the dough for a while now. It makes a lot easier to divide into equal pieces and to place onto the baking sheets. Meanwhile, you can heat up your oven to 210°C degrees and prepare two baking sheets for the elephant ears.

Once the dough is cold, divide it into 18-20 pieces and place onto the two sheets, leaving enough room for the puff pastry to PUFF. Be sure the elephant ears are totally unfrozen and then bake in the middle of your oven for about 7-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. My oven heats up quite well from the bottom, so I usually have to place the tray a bit higher in the end, so that they brown evenly.

Divided

Two sheets

Hot hot hot!

Be careful, they are hot when eaten straight out of oven. But don’t worry, they cool down pretty quickly, too.

One of my earlier versions, think I’ve improved.

Marika~

Made the first and most likely the last wedding cake of my life. At least the last one with fondant, god my. That stuff sure is nice to work with and fun and all, but there are more delicious things to eat on this planet. And were it my wedding, I’d rather have something yummy. But still, I was pleased how it this mission impossible of my baking career turned out.

Done

Done done

Underneath the fondant is a milk chocolate ganache (1kg of chocolate went into this cake) and cake out of Wiener Masse with oil (15 eggs went into this cake). I will post the recipe for the Wiener Masse, for I really enjoy it, since it requires no baking powder and still has a nice volume. Used some orange liqueur for moisture and for the extra flavor.

Done done done

Done done done done

Lego-effect, since the couple wished to have this Lego-couple on the cake. Roses and hops as decoration, also something for each.

These pics were taken home, before the two hour drive in a nice warm car and then another 10 hours in the fridge of the restaurant were the wedding was held. So, the cake had to go through a bit, and did somewhat suffer. Few wrinkles and such, but god, it survived. So happy I worked with ganache in this case, butter-cream might have not held so well…

And to the wedding. Had no idea I’d be attending a wedding like that ; 85 guests, party on ’till 5 am, food and drinks unlimited, all so fancy. And I went and caught the wedding bouquet. Oops.

Done did it

Marika~

I’ve dedicated too much time for eating the bakings instead of shooting and posting about them. Well, here goes. Finally some sweet spring bakes!

Strawberrybakes!

Home-made puff pastry baked with vanilla-pudding in the middle and topped with fresh, sweet strawberries! Totally delicious! Brushed with boiled apricot jam for the extra shine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More strawberries! This time in the form of a pie. Got it even out the form without it crumbling all into pieces! Mmm.. it was very scrumptious.

Fondantgame

Been practicing. How to work with fondant and suddenly my kitchen is full of these fondant working tools.; little cutters, food-colors, brushes, silicon rolling pins and god-knows-what. Well, this was one of the too-many-test-cakes-could-not-eat-them-all and yeah… Next weekend I ought to be ready for the real deal. It won’t look anything like this, though, I promise.

Lye-bakings

Today I went to a lye-baking-course. Was so good. Like one of those TV-cooking-shows only live. And so you would get to eat everything in the end without having to lift up your finger. And could take as much with you as you could carry, too. Oh, and the best part was that it was even interesting! Six hours passed faster than on any school lecture.

Lye-snacks

They also showed us some snacks. So important for us bakers to produce these, they say. Well, I find them super yummy, so wouldn’t be a wonder if our customers did, too. Should offer more stuff like this! Though, with the broccoli one on the front I wasn’t quite convinced with.. Maybe with asparagus or paprika instead.

Hope the summer will be as delicious.. since it finally seems to have arrived!

Marika ~

It’s almost a summer here, so many beautiful sunny days passing by, everything is blooming out there and freezer is once again filled up with ice-cream. And with many many bakings, too. Been trying to perfect some recipes and well, I think the supply is exceeding demand. Any reasonable person would probably carry out some production cutbacks, but well… It’s tough to undergo such procedures, since the employee seems so happy at her work and I don’t think I could relocate her either.

So, kneading bowl goes from washing straight back to be used again and oven is on everyday. Today I actually made quite a few things; ciabatta bread-rolls, melon pan and bagels. Bagels were such a catastrophe again. I always manage to smash them when boiling them in water. And then they turn out to be all wrinkled and blah. Should perhaps make the dough even drier and proof them in the fridge alone. See, another baking to practice and to perfect.

Little ciabattas

Luckily the other two kinda worked out. Melon pan was as good as always, and I filled a few with cherry jam, too. Ciabatta bread-rolls I’m ok with, not enough bubbly, since as I started to prepare the dough, I decided that my wheat sourdough is too old, so I threw it away. Great, so I was left to do the bread-rolls with a quick sponge, and not so good one in that. So in that sense, I’m pleased how they turned out.

The tower

But one bake I gotta brag about. I made a bread with rye sourdough. My first one. Got this sourdough starter from work so had to try it out. It made a nice sourdough actually, and a nice bread, too. But this sourdough I also threw away, for it was eating too much. And boah, was it sticky! But no worries, still got plenty of that starter stuff, so can make a new one anytime.

Ryebread and the mother's mother

But now I go to eat those luckless bagels away, yum yum.

Marika~

Been enjoying the arrival of spring. Tiring myself with these daily 15 kilometer walks. It’s just so pleasant out there right now. Sun shines without it being too warm, flowers bloom and already met seven common brimstones flying out there. Nobody was stoning me, just seems to be the name of the butterfly. I do like the Finnish name “Lemon butterfly” for it, but to the English speaking world this seems to look more like a lemon.

Anyway, to balance all these sporty activities I’ve been baking cakes with butter-creams, chocolate decorations and marzipan toppings. Like this one here. They are delicious…

Practice practice

But unfortunately this ain’t a cake blog. So, I made a bread loaf! With soybeans! Enjoyed it, something different than the basic sunflower or pumpkin seeds. And the soybeans were all soft in the bread, so no broken teeth here.

Soybean bread

To make one bread (with sourdough)

To soak
100g   Soybeans, dry roasted (mine were halves, but I think crushing them first would work nice as well)
130g   Boiling water

1. Bring the water to boil and pour over the soybeans. Cover and let it stand for 3-4 hours.

Dough
230g   Soaked soybeans from before
78g   Wheat sourdough
235g   Wheat flour
57g   Rye flour
8,7g   Salt
11g   Fresh yeast
148g   Water

1. Measure everything into your dough mixer and mix 4 minutes on slow speed and further 2 minutes faster.
OR
Measure the sourdough, salt, yeast and water into a bowl. Mix well ’till smooth. Add the flours and knead into a smooth dough, for about 5 minutes. Then add the soaked soybeans and knead again ’till smooth.

2. Place the dough into a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

3. With help of some flour knead and form your dough into a ball. Gently roll the top in some flour and place it with the flour side up onto an oven tray with baking paper. Cover with a cloth and let the bread proof for about 45 minutes, ’till clearly grown.

4. Meanwhile, heat up the oven to 230°C degrees. After proofing place the bread tray in the low-mid level and turn the heat down to 200°C degrees. I baked mine for 50 minutes, but keep an eye on yours and bake ’till nicely brown, at least 30 minutes, though. Enjoy!

Marika~

For my absence one might assume that I’ve finally had it and quit baking. Sorry folks, quite the opposite. Been baking like no tomorrow, at least on the last day before my practical test, when there really was no tomorrow.

So yes, had my examinations, not the final ones, but still enough important (also stressful) ones to matter. But they went smooth in the end, had fun and actually quite a bit of excess time in the practical test. And they always call me slow in my bakery, hah, here I was referred as the one with the best time management. Take that!

And next week more stressful times ahead, no I mean, more baking ahead. Leaving to Hannover to bake on Monday again, and returning only on Friday. But last time had fun, so hopefully it will be as good this time, too.

But that’s it for the applesauce, actually wanted to share a recipe. These bread rolls I had to make in my practical test, too, so, by now, this recipe is surely tested. They are quite huge, and therefore make a great meal to take with you to work or then to enjoy as a part of a luxurious breakfast brunch.

Braided rolls

Dough, makes nine rolls

750g   Wheat flour
35g   Fresh yeast
413g   Water, lukewarm
15g   Salt
15g   Sugar/syrup – I also recommend using some (5g) dextrose/glucose (many groceries sell it these days for all sporty purposes), happened to buy some for one candy recipe that called for it, and now have been using it to feed my yeast doughs, and it does improve the proofing, must admit
23g   Margarine

Seeds to cover the bread; like sunflower, sesame, flax – and some oatmeal, too

Measure the ingredients into a mixer with a kneading hook, and knead about 4 minutes on the slowest speed, and another 6 minutes on the second slowest speed. Or hand-knead the dough by dissolving the yeast into the water and pouring this over the dry ingredients. Knead into a smooth dough, add the margarine, and knead ’till the dough is smooth again. Let it rest for 15 minutes covered.

Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces, also each weighting about 140-145g, and shape them round. Let the pieces rest covered for another 15 minutes.

Braid the rolls:

Braiding rolls

Prepare a seed mixture of your liking into a bowl and take some water into another bowl. Dip the rolls in the water and then in the seed mixture. Divide the rolls onto two baking trays to proof. Let the rolls proof covered in a warm place ’till well risen, about 30-40 minutes.

Seeds

Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes in 210°C. Enjoy!

Ready for oven

Marika~