The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


helend's picture


Hi all

I have been browsing the site for a while with great enjoyment. The new post from Helen in Canada prompted me to get started.

I am Helen from England and have been an enthusiatic baker all my life. I enjoy cooking with all sorts of flour and have found mine and my father's recently diagnosed wheat intolerance a new challenge rather than a misery - just a good excuse to experiment.

At the moment I am working with stoneground wholemeal spelt flour a lot. I usually get this from an organic source, Bacheldre Mill in Wales via my local farm shop. It is a light wholemeal with a nutty faintly sour flavour which seems accepatble to all my wheat-eating family and friends.

I still enjoy breadmaking with wheat flours. Of course here it is vital to buy "bread flour" as "ordinary" white flour (cake? all-purpose?)is made from European soft-grain wheat with poor gluten content for dough cookery.

Looking forward to being involved in the bread community!


helend's picture

Have been fairly quiet in the kitchen lately but have made a Christmas cake - Qahtan's looks great! Mine is smaller (6") and lighter in colour (no bicarbonate of soda) but I use a very similar recipe. I made a smaller cake because we will also have a chocolate log and a christmas nut torte as well for cutting and keeping over the holiday.

Have also made christmas pudding this year - am sitting typing while it cooks - just waiting for the 6 hour steaming period to pass! it should be light as it has no flour, only wholemeal breadcrumbs (from homemade bread, of course!) It also has no sugar as we prefer a traditional vine fruit-rich pudding.

I have 2 large jars of mincemeat left from last year - just hoping they don't explode on opening. We always have mince pies (by the dozen as they are my husband's favourite) and I usually make some large frangipane tarts too with mincemeat under the almond sponge.

Am planning on giving Stollen filled with homemade walnut "marzipan" as gifts this year so am collecting recipes to start experimenting - if anyone has any I would be very interested.

qahtan's picture

In your post above you speak of walnut marzipan,,,,

Did you just use ground walnuts and simple syrup
or......... would you like to share how you made it.
PS did you blanche the walnuts first????

I normally make a lighter Christmas cake,
New Zealand butter cake, but this year
thought I would like a change.;-))) qahtan

Floydm's picture

I've used the Stollen recipe out of The Bread Baker's Apprentice as the basis for my Christmas bread the past two years and been very pleased with the results.

I'll try to bake up a batch in the next week or two and post pictures and my recipe here.

qahtan's picture

This is a recipe that I have been making for years, and it always turns out well,it comes from UK.
Thought you might like to try it.

Stollen, Tried and True

12 ozs white bread flour, I use regular all purpose.
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon yeast, (easy blend)
1/4 pint milk so this is 5 fluid ozs UK, and 4 fluid ozs U S.
3 ozs softened butter
2 ozs sugar
1 egg
2 ozs currants
2 ozs raisins
4 ozs sultanas (white raisins)
1 oz mixed peel chopped fine
2 ozs cherries, quartered
1 ozs chopped walnuts, (I left these out)
6 ozs almond paste
4 ozs icing sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Set oven to 375'

Mix salt with flour and place in warm bowl, place in low oven few minutes to completely warm flour mix, add yeast and stir in. Warm milk, butter and sugar, stir to dissolve. Whisk egg into liquid make sure it's not hot only warm, then pour onto flour mix. Mix well until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl cleanly, now add fruit and walnuts if wanted. Turn out onto board and knead 5 minutes, until fruit are evenly distributed through dough. Return to bowl, cover with Saran/cling film and leave in warm place to double.

Turn out, lightly knead a moment, roll into oblong about 14 inches x 8 inches. Roll almond paste into sausage-shape about 13 inches long, lay down middle of dough, then roll dough round it, squeeze ends to close. Neaten shape, place on oiled baking sheet, cover with damp clean tea towel, when well risen bake about 35 minutes, at 375F. Allow to cool, remove from baking sheet to cooling rack.

Meanwhile mix icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make stiff paste, spread on warm stollen add a few extra chopped cherries down center, let cool completely, This recipe freezes well. I added extra almond paste.

helend's picture

Walnut marzipan makes a nice change it is more nutty and less sweet than almond marzipan. If I were making this with almonds I would blanch off the skins but never have with walnuts. I use the following recipe which was originally from the Good Housekeeping Institute.

You need a food processor. I grind the nuts in a Bamix stick blender processing bowl in 2 batches and then do the rest by hand but it is probably easier if you ahev a proper full size processor.

4 oz broken walnut meats
2 oz castor sugar
2 oz icing sugar plus extra for dusting
1 egg yolk

Put the broken walnuts into the food processor bowl and blitz until they are finely ground. Add the sugars and the egg yolk and blend unitl the mixture starts to bind together. Take out and knead until smooth.

This wil make a "sausage" about 11" long to lay down the middle of the stollen dough.

qahtan's picture

Thanks Helend.
No problem I have Cuisinart food processor, so will have a go,
I am wondering though about just nuts and sugar,
not keen on the egg yolk in it.

will try, qahtan

helend's picture

Raw egg yolk seems to feature in most marzipan recipes but your comment strikes a chord.

Have a recipe for a cooked almond version from Pru Leith - "Leith's Cookbook"

I haven't tried it but do plan on doing so for my Christmas cake this year.

2 eggs
6 oz icing sugar
6 oz castor sugar
12 oz ground almonds
4 drops vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon juice

Lightly beat eggs in a bowl
Sift sugars together and stir into eggs
Place bowl over a pan of boiling water and whisk until light and creamy
Remove from heat and add almonds, vanilla, lemon juice
Beat briefly with a wooden spoon (should be a soft paste)
Dust work surface with icing sugar and carefully knead until smooth (don't overdo it else the released oil from the almonds will make paste greasy)

Apparantly is easier to mould than uncooked marzipan.

Amiek's picture

I just made this last recipe with walnuts, it took some work translating both ingredients and measures, but now I do have a nice walnut marzipan. It's a lot stronger then regular marzipan. You might want to try combining with less outspoken nuts to get the nice nutty tast but not extremely strong.