Gluten & Dairy Free Stollen
The first question we had after our Christmas range launched this year was "Where's the stollen?"
Given that we sell the only proper, yeast raised Stollen in the whole of the UK this wasn't that surprising to be fair....but part of us was hoping that nobody would notice! Not because we don't love our stollen, but because every year it is the one product that kicks my butt more than any other. On the face of it, it seems simple right? We already do so many other yeasty things that clearly I must know what I'm doing and what's one more? But not so much. Because the only thing people seemed to want more than Stollen was a DAIRY FREE stollen.
So this year, I went back to basics and rebuilt it entirely from scratch to see if I could do it. By the time the Christmas range launched, Stollen had held up the show so long that I'd basically given up and gone into product-development-hiding. The dough wasn't behaving, the flavour profile just wasn't right and the marzipan kept melting in the oven and disappearing. I had had enough!
So I guess I need to thank you all for giving me the push I needed to pick it back up!
The first problem was the getting the flavour profile right. The balance of raisins, currants, glace cherries, flaked almonds, orange oil, lemon oil, lemon zest, orange zest and spices was tweaked and tweaked until it was just how I remembered.
Next on to the marzipan itself. I wanted to have the same experience I always had with gluten-y stollen of fighting my husband for the pieces with the largest chunks of marzipan! Not to be hunting in little pools for crumbs of almond. The answer as to why this was happening was so obvious I was kicking myself for not figuring it out sooner. Did you know shop bought (even expensive shop bought) marzipan only has about 25% almonds and the rest is just sugar? So of course it disappeared when it was baked! So step 1 was making our own marzipan and making sure it was 50% almonds. Does it cost more? Heck yes! But by this point I was in too deep and there was no going back.
But by far the largest issue I was facing is that sooooooooo much of the flavour profile of Stollen comes from the butter both inside the dough and brushed over the top of it before coating in icing sugar. So I felt bad for making a product that just didn't taste as rich for the people who could have dairy. The snobby baker in me was basically like "No! I will not compromise! GIVE ME THE BUTTER!!!!" and kept getting talked down by the other part of me who knows how hard it is to not be able to have dairy and have to watch your family indulging. It was always heartbreaking to see my daughter crying because she couldn't eat all the lovely things that her sisters could. And I had an epiphany!
Even if it was dairy free, it would still be the best Gluten Free Stollen you could buy anywhere in the UK. But what if it was Dairy-Optional instead? So this year, instead of supplying our stollen pre-sugared, it will be going out in its natural state for you to brush with either melted unsalted butter or melted unsalted plant butter (we love the Flora Vegan Butter that comes in blocks) before slathering in icing sugar. That way, nobody misses out and everyone has something wonderful to look forward to!
We even made a little video to show you exactly what to do. Watch it below or directly on YouTube
- Remove your stollen from its protective wrapping and place on a lined oven tray
- Bake in a 180C oven for around 10 minutes until it's nice and warm.
- While you're waiting, melt 75g of butter.
- Once the stollen is out of the oven, brush it liberally with the butter until it's absolutely slathered. If you want to be really decadent, the stollen can absorb up to 125g of butter if you just keep going. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this for the plant butter as it could get a bit overwhelming. But with the dairy stuff? Knock yourself out! Everyone knows Christmas calories don't count.
- Coat it liberally with icing sugar until it's got a nice thick layer. Leave it for 5 minutes for the first layer to dissolve slightly before coating in icing sugar a second time. Then enjoy!