Stollen

Makes: 2 large loaves
Oven Temperature: 160-180ºC
Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes

Ingredients
3 teaspoons /1 tablespoon dried yeast (the sort you reactivate, NOT the easy-bake stuff)
250 ml just-warm soya milk, at a nice yeast-friendly temperature such as 30 degrees
500g plain flour
1 vanilla pod
100g sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 pinch salt
175 g vegan margarine melted
50 g blanched almonds, chopped
50 g ground almonds
400g mixed dried fruit
225g marzipan
Extra melted margarine and icing sugar for dusting

Instructions
1. Stir the yeast into the warm soya milk, with a teaspoon of the sugar. Stir it well as it gets quite clumpy. Leave it to froth up (according to ) while you get everything else ready.
2. Melt the margarine and set it aside.
3. Mix up the flour, salt, vanilla (scrape out the insides – was too scared to use extract in case the alcohol in it bothered the yeast. Probably fine though), ground almonds, lemon zest and mied spice.
4. When the yeast has frothed and the margarine has cooled, add them to the flour mixture and form a dough.
5. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes. It feels really weird compared to bread dough, but gets more stretchy as you knead.
6. Stretch out the dough and sprinkle on loads of dried fruit/chopped nuts. Fold over and knead a little, then repeat until you have used up all the fruit.
7. Cover bowl with a tea towel and leave in a WARM place to rise. It might take ages! (2 hours, even, to double in size).
8. Knock the dough back and knead a little, then cut in half. Roll out (not thinly, just enough to squash it down, really) and put a long cylinder of marzipan, on top. Fold it over and seal the edge by squashing.
9. Repeat with the other stollen. Place on a baking tray, and leave to prove for 1 or 2 hrs.
10. Bake in the oven at around 160-180 degrees for 40-50 minutes. If it’s browning really quickly, cover the top with foil and turn down your oven. If it isn’t, just cook it a little longer.
11. Brush the top of the hot/warm stollen loaves with extra melted margarine, and sprinkle over loads of icing sugar.

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