Christmas Stollen

This is a family tradition. Since there are SO many other goodies for Christmas, I make this special treat on New Year's Eve. It marks the end of the holiday baking and we enjoy it for dessert on New Year's Eve and for breakfast on New Year's Day.

1 package dry yeast

1/2 cup WARM water

1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup margarine

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3 1/3 to 4 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)

1/4 cup citron

1/4 cup candied cherries (halved)

1/3 cup raisins

1 tablespoon lemon rind

A little extra butter or margarine for spreading on the top

Thin powdered sugar frosting (can make with powdered sugar and a little milk)

A few extra citron and candied cherries for decorating

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.  Stir in warm milk, sugar, margarine, salt, egg, and 2 cups of the flour.  Beat until smooth.  Mix enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle, do not make it too stiff.  Turn dough onto lightly flour surface; knead until smooth and elastic.  ( don't make it too stiff)  It should be very easy to knead.  Knead until smooth and elastic adding a little flour when it get sticky.  Knead about 5 minutes.  Place in greased bowl and turn greased side up.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If you have an electric stove the pilot light should keep your oven warm enough.  For an electric oven, fill a 9x13 inch cake pan with about 1 inch of hot water and place it on the rack under the bowl of bread.  After rising punch down dough with a greased hand, fold sides to the middle and turn bread over.  Let rise another 30 to 45 minutes.  After second rising, turn onto lightly floured board and flatten dough into about a 12 to 14 inch circle.  Distribute nuts, citron, cherries, raisins and lemon rind over the dough.  Knead these into the dough.  Knead until the fruit is pretty evenly spread throughout.  Pat out dough into an oval about 8 x 12 inches.  Spread with some soft butter or margarine.  Fold in two the long way to form a crescent and press the edge firmly so it won't spring open.  Place in lightly greased heavy baking sheet.  Brush top with melted butter or margarine.  Let rise until double in warm oven, about 35-40 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.  Top should be a nice golden brown.  Frost with a powdered sugar frosting, sprinkle with nuts and decorate with some candied cherries and citron.