I bought a stollen a couple of days ago from a highly regarded local German (organic) breadhaus - the owner/bakers are 1st generation German. It's in a normal, clear bread sleeve and I was told to let it set on a shelf, unrefrigerated, for a minimum of 1-1/2 weeks. That's perfect timing for Christmas, but I'm very worried about mold, even though I was assured it wouldn't happen. For point of whatever point to make, it contains almonds, marzipan, candied lemon & orange and rummed raisins. The top has a layer of white granulated sugar.
Does anyone have experience with non-refrigerated "ripening". Can anyone explain *why* it won't mold....... I'll have to see it to believe it. I have it in a drawer in a cooler part of the house. Hope I don't end up wasting $18.
(I was advised to enjoy it with a warmed mug of mulled Gluhwein in the evening, coffee in the morning. Can't wait!!)
I should note there is no aroma of alcohol, so that's not an apparent preservative.... unless what's been soaked into the raisins.
While I've never heard of 'having to' age a stollen.... I've had stollen that's more than a few weeks old. It wasn't moldy.
Don't know much about stollen, but the sugar coating would definitely discourage surface mold.
IMO, a stollen should be given time to *absorb* the flavors of the ingredients it contains:
the marzipan, the candied citrus, and the rum raisins. Much unlike marshmallow peeps, (people let those age mostly for texture) aging a stollen is done more to accentuate certain flavors and tastes. Remember, a good stollen should be somewhat dense and NOT overly dry. Time will help achieve this ... so don't hurry it. Let the bread/cake absorb any juices (liquid ingredients) it can.
I'm sure this is what they meant by "aging/ripening". HTH.
I was completely unaware that a layer of sugar would avert mold! As to density, it's very weighty for the size. I'm sure it's dead-on what I read to be a traditional weight of 2kg - nearly 5 pounds.
I'm anxious to try it, but will wait and will be more relaxed about the mold issue. Thank you for the information.
Note - the bakers didn't use the word "ripen". That's what I found to be used when looking for info on letting it set.
I bake Marzipan Stollen for many years now, having started in 1967 with a plainer version.
Once they are cooled down I wrap them tightly in Alu foil and store them in the cool attic. They will last for many weeks that way, there is no need to worry about them spoiling.
We always start eating the first Stollen the next day and it is delicious fresh. But the flavor is definitely a step up in a few weeks of "flavor- marrying". No, they don't start bickering....;-)
I grew up in Thueringen/former German East zone, and my mother and others around us, would prepare about 10 -12 large loaves in early December.. The Baker's apprentice would pick them up on large wooden boards, have them baked in the larger ovens at the bakery and return them, carried over the shoulder on those boards. My mother would simply cover them with a clean cloth and store them in the cold pantry. We ate Stollen for breakfast for many many weeks, sometimes they would last to Spring and I never remember them going bad.
A cold pantry would normally be a good ways above freezing but also a good ways below room temperature. In the mid- to low 40's F, anyway (though some might run lower). While the temperatures are refrigerator-like, though, the point of a cold pantry is that it doesn't have the drying/dessicating effect that a fridge does on things. The humidity is high enough so that cheeses and so forth can be kept there without drying out. A stollen would mature nicely in such conditions.