This is my favorite bread during the holidays. I've made it many times to give as Christmas gifts, and I always receive compliments on it.
- 1-1/2 cups warm milk or warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/2 pound raisins
- 1/2 pound chopped blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped candied fruit
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- LEMON GLAZE:
- 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine milk or water and yeast. Let stand 3-5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour; mix well. Cover and let rest in a warm place until light and foamy, about 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add salt and lemon peel. Stir in the yeast mixture and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down; knead in raisins, nuts and fruit. Divide into two parts; roll each into a 15-in. x 8-in. oval. Fold each in half lengthwise and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Cover and allow loaves to rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Combine all glaze ingredients; brush on tops of cooled loaves. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Christmas Stollen in Country Extra November 1991, p47
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