My final exam in artisan breads is Wednesday afternoon. We were allowed to choose a recipe, so I've narrowed my choice to either panettone or stollen. Of course, I need to study and prepare, right? Good thing I did.
Yesterday, I tackled the stollen, using raisins (light and dark), dried cranberries, and dried apricots, which I soaked in dark rum. For the inside, I used cinnamon & sugar, although the marzipan version sounded delicious, as well. Next time. I divided the dough into 2 portions, and even at that, they were huge! But, oh, so good!
The stollen is even better today. I've been nibbling (too much), so I asked my neighbor if she would do me a favor and take half of the remaining one. I sure hate to twist arms -- ha ha! She was at 'the wall' in a flash.
Today, it was the panettone's turn. Seemed straight-forward enough until it came time to shape the dough. I used a recipe from Cooking Light for Mini Cranberry Panettones, and at the last moment I decided to half the recipe. It was just for practice, after all. So, now I'm shaping and using my really large muffin pan (Texas size) and since it's half a recipe, I only need to make three. Hmmmm That's a lot of dough in each hole, I think, but onward I go. (I usually follow a recipe verbatim the first time, making notes along the way.) These guys were supposed to have a final rise of one hour, but after 30 minutes, they were clearly going to take over my proofing oven, so I popped them in the second oven without delay. Geez.
Well, they may be mutant panettones, but they do taste delicious. Clearly, this recipe will have to be reconfigured.
In the end, the winner is the stollen. I'll put the fruit on to soak Wednesday morning, so it will be ready by mid-afternoon when I get to class. Also, I'll make 3 stollen instead of 2. (I did warn my neighbor to expect another one.)
Along with the stollen/panettone baking, I did squeeze in a few other goodies: cookies and a pecan pie for my quilt meeting tomorrow, and dog cookies for the loyal companion.
I ran across the recipe while perusing Jen Yu's blog, Use Real Butter. The cookies are pretty good (must taste test them, after all -- it's the proper thing to do). After an initial hesitation, the dog has decided these treats are better than anything else, so we're having frequent discussions about daily quotas.
UPDATE: The final exam was successfully accomplished with only a minor glitch. For some reason, the bread wouldn't rise. Most of the other students had the same problem, so either the yeast wasn't viable or the proofers weren't working correctly. However, I proceeded to make the stollen anyway, and it tasted alright at the end. I was glad that I had made a practice run on Sunday. One of my fellow bakers made some delicious rosemary raisin rolls, and we traded breads before going home. I had the last one with dinner tonight -- thanks, Meredith! Now, we just have to get through all the written finals and look forward to next year.