Stollen is an enriched bread dough, wrapped around some marzipan. This Christmas, I tried two Stollen recipes, one from Dan Lepard and the other from Paul Hollywood.
I collect recipes from both of these bakers: their recipes are always interesting. However, despite my reluctant diligence, I can never get Dan Lepard’s bakes to follow the recipes: I always need to bake at a higher temperature; or for longer; or both. Paul Hollywood’s recipes might have been tried out in my oven: 50 minutes at 170° is always ready at 50 minutes. Dan Lepard wrote once about monitoring the temperature of his gas oven during an afternoon and watching it fluctuate with the demand for gas in his neighbourhood; Paul Hollywood’s home oven, I suspect, is electric. Is that a sufficient difference?
The Stollens were very different: Dan Lepard used less flour, less sugar and less fruit, but included eggs and alcohol. Paul Hollywood required the marzipan to be rolled out and laid on the risen dough, creating a swirled roll inside the bake, rather than the traditional, thick log in the middle. Proving was a real problem: having baked the Lepard recipe too early, I set the Hollywood Stollen aside for ten hours in my chilly kitchen (he suggests an hour!).
The Hollywood recipe worked better. It was easier. And his baking instructions – one hour at 170º – seems far more likely to produce a decent product than Lepard’s 35 minutes at 160º.
I’ll continue to regard Dan Lepard in awe – but I’ll be more confident basing a recipe on Paul Hollywood.