It's a little intimidating to make, but practice makes perfect!
I start out making a sponge and letting it rest for 30 minutes or so. It helps the dough get some flavor and leavening before the fat and the sugar, which are tenderizers, destroy those beautiful gluten strands formed by the wheat protein.
After that resting period the log of marzipan and fruits is made, and then the rest of the flour is incorporated with the butter and the sponge.
The log goes into the oven untill it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (depends on thickness) and comes out a beautiful tan color.
While still hot, you want to brush melted butter over it and coat it with powdered sugar. The powdered sugar and butter coating are what help this bread last three months without spoiling. It adds moisture and forms a barrier that doesn't allow the bread to dry out.
The stollen must be totally covered so that it can taste amazing in 3 months. I'll be sure to let you know how it tastes.. unless of course it gets eaten before then... only time will tell.
A word of caution: in this delicious baking venture I very carelessly received a very severe burn from the scalding hot marzipan. In learning with my mistakes, try to use tongs or a towel when touching the bread straight from the oven and rolling it around in sugar. It may taste delicious but no amazing flavor is worth a bad burn.
This photo was borrowed from this website (http://www.sweetthea.com/) Since ours isn't ready to slice yet! But this is what it should look like when ready!
Here is a good recipe for an easy stollen that you can even eat the same day as opposed to 3 months from now when you've forgotten about it:
1 1/3 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons lukewarm milk (95°F. to 100°F.)
1 1/2 teaspoons lukewarm water (95°F. to 100°F.)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 fresh yeast cake
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons (about) all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups raisins
2/3 cup blanched slivered almonds
2/3 cup chopped candied fruit
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir 1 1/2 teaspoons lukewarm milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons lukewarm water and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar in large bowl. Add yeast cake and stir until smooth. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add flour and remaining 1 1/3 cups lukewarm milk and mix well. Cover and let sponge rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Mix 3 tablespoons flour with raisins, slivered almonds and candied fruit in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat unsalted butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, cardamom, vanilla and salt. Beat in sponge. Stir in fruit and nuts. Mix in enough remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time to form slightly sticky dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if very sticky, about 10 minutes.
Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat entire surface. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 1/2 hours.
Grease heavy large cookie sheet. Punch dough down. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into 10 x 16-inch oval. Fold in half lengthwise; pat gently. Place on prepared sheet. Cover and let rise in warm draft-free area until almost double in volume, about 2 hours.
Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Bake until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, about 1 hour. Transfer to rack and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Stollen can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Wrap stollen in plastic and store at room temperature.)