Germany Revisited – Dresden Stollen

Germany Revisited – Dresden Stollen

On this edition of the Galley podcast, we’ll be doing our first Germany Revisited segment that’s part of our Culinary Sojourns series.  A couple years ago, we made Dresden Stollen, and we’ll be making that again for this edition of the Galley podcast.  The stollen we made this year far surpassed our first effort.  We’ll give you some tips and techniques we’d recommend to give you a great result.  We’ll have that for you.

And in our second segment, Sailing through the 60s and 70s, we’re going to be looking at the steamship the Irving S. Olds.  It was one of the longest vessels in its day and named after another Harvard man who was once a secretary for Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Program Content

51QwWKOo-hL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_We’re revisiting one of Germany’s classic Christmas fruit breads, the Dresden Stollen.  If you were with us a couple years ago we made it around Christmastime and we also made the Bremen Loaf which was that city’s answer to the Dresden Stollen and I thought both were very good.  I’m sure you’ve seen it as you go past the holiday section of the supermarket all the candied peel containers of lemon orange and the green and red cherries.  For this recipe you will need a least two varieties of these.  We went with lemon and citrus.  There are different variations of the stollen where you can get creative with the proportions of each you wish to incorporate into the bread.

Before I get into key points, let’s first tell you where you can find an authentic German version.  Our best source for that is in The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton.  The recipe is found on page 450.  The recipe reads like a short novel.  So, we recommend reading and fully understanding the steps you need to take in making this.

There are a fair number of ingredients added at different times, so we highly recommend pre-measuring every ingredient in advance as you should for every recipe, but this one in particular.  It is very easy to skim over an ingredient or miss one if you are disorganized and trying to make the stollen.  We were quite organized, but our blanched almonds were hiding behind a piece of kitchen equipment and those were nearly left out.  So, you have to have things in order before you start.  If you’re there then you shouldn’t have any problem with the recipe.

For the recipe, when soaking the candied fruit in rum, we ended up adding the lemon zest directly to that mixture.  I felt it gave it a nice fresh aroma and there certainly was a burst of flavor in the candied fruit after it was baked.  You may want to give that a try.

For the flour we used about a 75% ratio of bread flour to all-purpose flour.  We felt it produced a very tender bread with enough spring to handle the weighty additions of the candied fruit and blanched almonds in the recipe.   But probably the most critical technique you need to know is the correct kneading of the dough.  From some of my bread instruction from some of my classes, probably the number one tip I can give you is when a recipe calls for 5-6 cups of flour you add five and hold one back.

Kneading bread dough by King Arthur Flour

Then as you add your dry ingredients you can adjust the dry in small amounts as you knead until the dough is slightly sticky and fairly elastic.  We found we needed to add a cup extra of flour to get the consistency of the dough the way we wanted, so the stickiness of the dough will be your guide.  As we were doing this, the dough was very luxurious to the touch.  It really is a great dough to work with.

What I like to do is initially shape the mass into a rectangle and then stretch the dough and fold it over onto itself.  Then you take the palm of your hand and push it on the surface of the table.  Then repeat rotating the dough a quarter turn.  You continue this motion for 7-8 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.  Keep using your reserve flour if you are finding the dough is sticking considerably to the heel of your hand.

Anyway, before you add any of the almonds or candied fruit you will want your dough pretty well developed with the gluten stand matrix fully formed as once you start adding fruit and almonds with those sharp edges it will cut though some of that dough development and you won’t see a considerable rise in the dough.

So, keeping organized and proper dough kneading are your keys to success in making Dresden Stollen.

Sailing through the 60’s and 70’s

Our featured vessel is the Irving S. Olds.  This vessel was named after Yale and Harvard man.  This is our second vessel we have studied that was named after a Harvard grad.  The first was the 1930s class steamship, the Thomas W. Lamont.  These two men were quite accomplished in their careers and both served on the Board of directors of United States Steel.

The ship was in service for 39 years and outlived its namesake by 18 years before it was laid up for the final time on December 3rd 1981 in Duluth MN.  When I was a kid I used to fish near the bows of laid up ships back in the 1980s.  I wouldn’t doubt if the Irving S. Olds had been one of them.  They used to group them stern to stern and the group I used to fish by were stacked two deep.  I think I only caught a couple perch that day.

Additional Podcast Addendum

Also, don’t forget to vote in our Podcast Poll in which you can give us anonymous feedback on various subjects related to the Galley podcast. Be sure to check that out and let us know your opinion. I’ll see how the response is and I’ll probably change the question every week or two. We do appreciate your feedback. It’s just a couple of clicks and you’re done.

We thank Sterling Berry who runs the website “Great Lakes Vessel History” for allowing us to quote factual content from his website. You can find him on the web at to learn more.

Additional Reference

The Oil City Derrick from Oil City, Pennsylvania

Publication: The Oil City Derrick i

Location: Oil City, Pennsylvania

Issue Date: Wednesday, March 6, 1963, page: 4

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