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Cottage Cheese Stollen

Cottage Cheese Stollen
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Yield: Makes 3 loaves.

In certain parts of Germany, you commonly find recipes for stollen made with cottage cheese. It gives the dough a wonderful creamy color and keeps the bread from drying out.

Ingredients:

  • 2 envelopes (4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons or 2 oranges (or 1 of each)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 to 5-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 1-1/2 cups dark raisins
  • 1-1/2 cups toasted walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, to brush on loaves
  • confectioners’ sugar, for coating loaves

Instructions:

In a small bowl, add the yeast to the lukewarm water and set aside. Put the cottage cheese, sugar, butter, and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Add the warm milk, and puree. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla, zest, salt, and dissolved yeast. Add 3 cups of the flour to make a sponge, and beat with a wooden spoon for 100 strokes. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
Add enough of the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, to make a soft, kneadable dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, using enough of the remaining flour to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat its surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot until doubled, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Mix together the raisins and walnuts in a bowl and set aside.
Flour your work counter, and turn the dough out without punching it down. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick. Spread the raisin-and-nut mixture over the dough, pressing down gently. Roll up the dough like a carpet, lengthwise. Cut into 3 equal sections. Roll each into a ball. With seam side down and loosely covered, let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each ball into an oblong strip about 1/2 inch thick. Fold each strip not quite in half, lengthwise. (They’ll look like giant pairs of lips, the upper one set back about 1 inch from the lower.) Place one stollen on a lightly buttered baking sheet and two on another, evenly spaced. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot until it begins to swell but before it doubles, about 35 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the stollen for 45 minutes; the surfaces will become quite dark. Transfer to a rack and immediately brush top and sides with melted butter. When cool, dust amply with confectioners’ sugar. Wrap in foil, then slip into plastic bags. Refrigerate until serving time.
Updated Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
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