Braided Holiday Stollen

5 1/2 - 6 1/2 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1 t. salt

4 1/2 t. active dry yeast

1 c. water

1 c. milk

1 c. butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 c. fruitcake mix

1 1/2 c. slivered almonds

In large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 c. flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  In a small saucepan, heat water, milk and butter until warm (105-115*).  Add warm liquid and eggs to flour mixture and blend a low speed until moistened.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.  Stir in fruit mixture, almonds and the remaining flour, a cup full at a time until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator to a lightly floured surface.  Divide into 3 equal pieces. Divide each third into thirds. Roll each piece into a rope 16" long.  Place 3 ropes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and braid loosely from center to each end.  Pinch the ends together and tuck them under to seal.  Cover with a warm, damp towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 - 2 hrs.  

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove immediately to a cooling rack.