Stollen with cherries

Makes 6 loaves

I can't imagine Christmas without stollen, it's a sweet dense yeast cake traditional in Germany, Austria and Hungary. I've personalised mine with some delicious dried cherries. This is a perfect way to celebrate the festive season.

Ingredients
  • 700g bakers flour
  • 12g dried yeast
  • 275ml milk
  • 70ml buttermilk
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 14g fine salt
  • 400g dried cherries, chopped
  • 400g raisins, chopped
  • 200g walnuts, chopped
  • 200g almonds, chopped
  • 120g mixed peel
  • 200g marzipan, cut into 6 long fingers
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300g unsalted butter, melted
  • 300g icing sugar mixture
  • snow sugar, to coat
Instructions

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine 150g flour with the yeast and 200ml milk in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until beginning to clear the sides of the bowl, then set aside and cover with cling film. Allow to rise for 2 hours, until the mixture naturally collapses.

2 Add the remaining milk and buttermilk into the yeast sponge, mix well, then transfer to a bowl. Put the butter in the mixer bowl and beat for 5 minutes, until very light, then add the yeast mixture, sugar, zests and spices.

3 Mix in the remaining flour and transfer to a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes, until a smooth dough forms. Add the salt and mix for 2 more minutes. Cover with cling film and set aside for 15 minutes.

4 Stretch the dough on a lightly-floured bench and sprinkle the fruit and nuts over. Roll up, then knead by hand for 5 minutes, until well-combined. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film. Then set aside for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

5 Divide the dough into 6 pieces, and roll each into a long oval shape. Place a piece of marzipan in the centre and fold along the long axis, then fold back the top edge to create an oval shape with three ridges and 2 valleys. Arrange on lined oven trays and set aside for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

6 Brush the loaves with egg wash, then bake for 40-45 minutes, until deep-golden. While still hot, brush with melted butter and toss with icing sugar. Cool on wire racks, then coat with snow sugar and store airtight.