Daring Bakers: Chanukah Challah (from Stollen Dough) Plus Rugelach Babka

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

The egg-enriched dough for the stollen recipe reminded me of challah, and the powdered sugar topping made me think of soufganiyot, the jelly doughnuts served on Chanukah.  Doesn’t this close-up make you think of a plate of soufganiyot?

The resulting braid certainly tasted like soufganiyot (challah dough makes a great base for jelly doughnuts, btw . . .). The similarity was there even though the inside of the braid had dried fruit instead jelly filling (next time . . . I loved this recipe enough to repeat it next year with the jelly filling).

The base recipe was large enough for making three braids–enough for Shabbos Chanukah. Not enough, as it turns out, for bringing to the Chanukah party on Sunday–we ate it all up!

Before dusting with powdered sugar (I brushed the loaf with an egg yolk glaze before baking):

After dusting with powdered sugar:

I made another batch the following week. This time I used 3 ounces of craisins, 3 ounces of golden raisins, and 3 ounces of trail mix (raisins, craisins, golden raisins, dried mango, dried pineapple, dried apple).

I made more challah, but I also used 1/3 of the dough to make a small wreath. The stollen recipe makes me think of  yeast rugelach and babka, so I sprinkled the rolled out dough the same way that I would for cinnamon rugelach or babka–with cinnamon vanilla sugar (a bit of vanilla sugar, sugar and cinnamon), 2 ounces of chopped walnuts, a handful of chocolate chips, and some small blobs of apricot jam.

Then I rolled up the dough and formed the wreath shape:

And baked (I egg glazed again):

Then I brushed it with Earth Best margarine and dusted a couple of times with powdered sugar:

I was going to take pictures in daylight, nicely plating and so on, but, well, it kind of got cut into before then. . . .

Wow, this was good. It tasted just like the yeast cakes my grandmother and my brother-in-law’s grandmother used to make. Very old world Eastern European bubbe-esque yeast pastry.

Well, here is what was left the next morning:

And a close up of the interior:

And the exterior:

And the crumb:

Stollen Wreath

Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves [Laura: or three medium-small challot or rings]. Serves 10-12 people


¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk [Laura: I used warm water to keep this pareve/dairy-free]
10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter) [Laura: I used Earth Balance Margarine]
5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting) [Laura: I used 1/3 bread flour and 2/3 all-purpose flour]
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract [Laura: used tsp. of each]
¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own) [Laura: left this out!]
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins [Laura: craisins]
3 tablespoons (45ml) rum [Laura: used extra orange and lemon extract instead, see above]
12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional) [Laura: left this out]
1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath [Laura: left out]
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.


[Laura: I followed a slightly different method. I mixed the instant yeast with the dry ingredients and added the water and eggs (plus flavorings). After 10 minutes resting time, I added in the margarine in bits (unmelted). Then I added in the dried fruit. After mixing well, I let the dough rise for a couple of hours, then shaped the dough and let the loaves rise until doubled. Then I glazed the loaves with egg wash and baked them at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.]

Soak the raisins
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside. See Note under raisins.

To make the dough

Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.
Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.
The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

he stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm

The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
The following is for the recipe as written and uses the 45 mls of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar
1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

Sending this over to Yeastspotting.

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35 Responses to “Daring Bakers: Chanukah Challah (from Stollen Dough) Plus Rugelach Babka”

  1. Penny Says:

    It looks great as a challah and I’m sure it tastes wonderful!
    Happy Holidays!

  2. Zita Says:

    Dried manggo…hmmm, great idea…The stollens look absolutely yummy 🙂

  3. Lou Says:

    Love your variations and your wreath shape is so pretty! Well done.

  4. Simona Says:

    Such a great idea to use the dough to make a challah! Everything you made looks very nice.

  5. Todd Says:

    Maybe I could have gotten my wife to eat a little more if I had thrown in some chocolate chips! Looks beautiful braided like that.

  6. Deeba @ PAB Says:

    How beautiful that you braided it too…wish I’d had an idea like that too. That’s really nicely done. Happy Holidays!

  7. Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) Says:

    This looks terrific. I’m nit going to wait a year to try it! Hope it’s ok to make it on a non-Chanukah shabbos!

    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Thanks, Rivki! The cinnamon really adds something to the challah. I made another challah with cinnamon that I will post about soon. I only put powdered sugar on one of the challahs that I made (that is why I egg glazed all of them). Oh, and the orange and lemon extract add a little something subtle that I really like.

  8. Sheena Says:

    I love how it looks braided, it’s beautifully done! Great work on the challenge 🙂

  9. Michelle Says:

    Love the braid! Beautifully done!!

  10. Aparna Says:

    That’s great idea, to make a braided bread. Loooks lovely.
    Seasons greetings and best wishes for a happy new year.

  11. Joanne Says:

    That picture makes me think, man I need to make and eat that immediately! You did a great job with this DB challenge! Looks delicious.

  12. Jeanne Says:

    What a beautiful adaptation of this challenge! I love challah bread and I didn’t realize how similar the dough is. And I’ve never had soufganiyot before but now I will definitely have to try them.

    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Thanks, Jeanne! And, yes, you would love soufganiyot (especially if you already love jelly doughnuts, because that is what they are!). Challah dough is perfect for jelly doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, babka . . . .

  13. Rosa Says:

    Both versions look marvelous! Very well done.

    Happy holidays!



  14. Suz Says:

    Such a beautiful crumb & I love the fillings you used. The braiding is gorgeous! Great job on both!

  15. Renata Says:

    Love that you braided the dough. They look delicious!
    Happy New Year!

  16. lisaiscooking Says:

    Both versions look fantastic! I love the powdered sugar dusting and the fruit filled interior.

    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Thanks, Lisa! You have me wanting to make lots of cookies when I know I should be good and start making whole wheat healthy things.

  17. shaz Says:

    I love how many posts I’ve read about bakers who cannot wait to taste the finished stollen (or challah as the case may be). I had to resist very hard and not cut a slice straight away. All the variations you made sound fantastic, cinnamon sugar sounds fab.

  18. Bejma: Tunisian Challah « Pragmatic Attic Says:

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