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December 23, 2010

I beat out every worry and frustration into that dough, there is nothing like bread dough for the times that you want to forget, for times you need somewhere to place your emotions. I knew today would be a day of crazy frustrations, not least because I have conceded, I have spent this term desperate not to concede anything to this course and have begrudged every concession it has forced me to make. All of a sudden in the midst of a group project I find myself conceding more than I ever thought I would at the one point in time I thought that I might have the chance to do a little of what I wanted when I wanted. But I no longer begrudge those concessions, all of a sudden they feel worth it, for this course is so interesting and those people on it, who I spend so much time with are lovely. Group projects, though, make for tiredness and frustration, for long days in the department on the weekend, for there is so much to do and you are so reliant on other people doing their part well, not least because we’re in multi-disciplinary groups and hence it is impossible to completely understand what everybody else in the group is doing.

I have let this project get to me in a way I never should have, I have let it take over every thought, let it enter my dreams. So this evening I beat it out into bread dough, to make stollen, for giving up baking is a concession I refuse to make. I let other thoughts come into my head, I was reminded of how this time last year I devoted a whole day to making stollen, that was my first ever attempt at stollen. I would love right now, to do the same, to spend a day with a friend in the kitchen, trying out something new, doing nothing whilst waiting for dough to rise. Instead I’m beating out my fears, hopes, dreams and worries into dough in a snatched moment.

As this is for the Daring Baker’s by the time this is actually posted group projects will probably feel like a far away dream, here’s hoping it’ll be one that quickly develops rose-tinted glasses, there’s a good chance, after all the content of the project is hardly short of fascinating.

This stollen is simple, I think that suits my frame of mind at the moment, none of the marzipan or poppy seed fillings I tried last year, just sweet, fruity, yeasty bread. I’m eager to see how this comes out, its the first time I’ve tried using fresh yeast. I’m not even sure I’ve seen fresh yeast before, not properly; as I unwrapped it, I held it up to my nose, breathed it in and felt the strange beauty of this living thing in my hand, I’m excited.

Fabulous; I thought it might miss a marzipan filling but this recipe is superb as it is.

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.

Recipe is here

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