German Christmas  Stollen

1.The night before making Stollen, start macerating the raisins. In a small bowl combine raising and rum. Let it stay overnight or at least 4 hours. 2. The next day, in a small bowl combine warmed to 115 F milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar and active dry yeast. Leave it to rise, about 15 minutes. 

3. Prepare the dough. Using an electric mixer fitted with a hook, mix flour, remaining sugar, salt, butter, yeast and eggs on a medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm place for 40-60 minutes until the dough doubles in size.

5. When the dough doubles in size, in the same bowl knead it with your hands for a few more minutes. Add raisins, almonds, candied fruit, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and cinnamon. Knead the dough again until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough is elastic. Cover with a towel again and leave it in a warm place to rise for 2.5 - 3 hours. During this time, knead the dough 1-2 more times.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and roll out each piece into 9 by 10 inch rectangle-like disc. Divide marzipan in 2 and roll out each piece into a 9 inch long log. Using a rolling pin, make the indentation in the dough lengthwise, slightly off-center. Place marzipan log in the indentation and cover marzipan with the wider side of the dough.

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