Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am not too sure if 6 hours to make a cake is worth it. It needs to be spectacular to warrant such dedication. I had some hesitation in preparing this recipe. However, I always wanted to bake a Kugelhopf. It makes me giggle just saying those words...Kugelhopf. Kugelhopf. Kugelhopf.

On a trip to Paris a few years back, I purchased a book Paris Boulangerie-Pâtisserie by Linda Dannenberg. It contains many classic french specialities by skilled pastry chefs. One of the recipes included is Kugelhopf offered by André Lerch. His recipe includes soaking the raisins (golden) in kirsch or brandy. The Kugelhopf pan is buttered and almonds are pressed into the grooves at the bottm (crown). The leftover kirsch is drizzled onto the cake after baking. It is also noted that the cake is traditionally made the night before, or even 2 days ahead, so it can "age" to the correct light, dry texture. It is never eaten on the day it is baked. It just happened that I baked my Kugelhopf in the true Alsatian way. Lucky me!

Dorie's recipe seems more complicated than it should be. The 2 hours of refrigeration for the dough was puzzling not to mention punching  it down every 30 minutes. Plus an additional 3 hours of more rising. No wonder people rather buy cakes than make it themselves. Who wants to take 6 hours to bake a cake. The recipe also differs from the traditional Alsace Kugelhopf...no almonds and no kirsch! 
However, I followed the recipe as a dedicated student. There were times I began to second guess myself....the dough did seem rather loose and sticky....nothing I have ever worked with before. I just plodded along. The magic of baking is always revealed after it's baked and tasted.
I let my Kugelhopf rise for 3 hours almost to the top of the pan. I worried that I let it rise too much. I had visions of the cake exploding over the pan while baking. Kugel-plop! 

Here is the dough after 3 hours of rising.

The Kugelhopf didn't really rise that much during baking which was a huge relief. I was impressed by the results. After it was baked I drenched it with butter and drizzled some icing sugar on top. I transferred it to my retro cake stand and wished it a good night. 

The next day, I woke up like a kid on Christmas morning and scurried into the kitchen to slice into my Kugelhopf.  It sliced nicely and was not dry. Still moist from the butter bath. The cake is like, as Dorie says, brioche (half cake/half bread) and it's sooo delicious...I've had 4 pieces already!! I'm a sucker for yeast breads!. Watch out Pannetone! You have competition!! 

Now the question is, would I bake this again? And the answer is a huge Kugel Oui!!!
What I like to do is bake the André Lerch recipe and compare the two. 
So, stay tuned you Kugel Maniacs!!!!

For the cake:
1/3 cup moist, plump raisins
Scant 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (1stick)
For the soak:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sugar, for dusting
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Bring a little water to a boil in a small saucepan and toss in the raisins. Turn off the heat and let steep for 2 minutes, then drain the raisins and pat them dry.
2. Put the yeast and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt and stir just to moisten the flour—don’t be concerned, the mixture will be shaggy and there may be dry patches.
3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and yolk together lightly with a fork. Fit the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one, and, working on low speed, pour in the beaten eggs, mixing until they are incorporated. Add the sugar, increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat until the dough comes together and smoothes out a little, about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the butter in 4 to 6 additions, squeezing each piece to soften it before adding it and beating until each one is almost fully incorporated before adding the next.
4. When the butter is blended in, the dough will be very soft. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs up the hook, about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the raisins. Scrape the dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. (The length of time will depend on the warmth of your room.)
5. Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall back with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl again and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours. Then, if you have the time, let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight. (The dough can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
6. Generously butter a 9-inch kugelhopf mold (8-to-9-cup capacity) and put the chilled dough in the pan. Cover the pan lightly with buttered parchment or wax paper and let the dough rise in a warm place until it comes almost to the top of the mold, 2 to 3 hours.
7. When the dough has almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
8. Remove the paper and bake the kugelhopf for 10 minutes. Cover the pan loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the kugelhopf is golden brown and has risen to the top — or, more likely, over the top — of the pan. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack over it. Remove the kugelhopf from the oven and unmold it on the rack.
Soak the cake
1. Melt the butter and gently brush the hot cake with it, allowing the butter to soak into the cake. Sprinkle the hot cake lightly with sugar and cool it to room temperature.
2. Right before serving, dust the Kugelhopf with confectioners’ sugar.

I introduce to you the baked Kugelhopf!

Baking: From My Home to Yours
Recipe from Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.


Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I'm so jealous of your traditional kugelhopf pan! Your kugelhopf looks so tall and lovely! I too would like to try another kugelhopf recipe, to compare notes. Let me know when you do and maybe we can have a virtual bake-off!

landa said...

OMG! I love, LOVE how yours turned out. I wanted to find a pan but couldnt.

Eunice of Dolce! said...

Boy, you have put me to shame. It looks perfect. Like. So perfect. I should start tearing right now.


This is not right. But this world is not fair. Sigh!!!

I loved reading your entry! I think the kirsch and almond additions would make this baby marvelous! Too bad we didn't, but I'm glad I discovered the Kugelhopf (it makes me giggle too..man! hee)

love the new word invention. kugel. hehe it just makes me laugh!

and i really shouldn't leave such long comments on blogs.

but i just had to tell you, i wake up every time i bake like a girl on christmas day and i too, blushingly, bid my bakes goodnight. in a sense.

- your now dedicated kugel fan.

Di said...

Your kugelhopf looks delicious! I enjoyed reading the background info, too.

PheMom said...

Very gorgeous! I loved it too. I kind felt the same way while making it and just had faith that it would turn out. Anyway, it was funny because I ate the first piece and was just kind of 'hmm, good.' But then I had to go back. I watched my hubs do the same thing when he got home from work too LOL!

Great job! I am totally looking forward to that other recipe. Let me know if you want someone to bake along with you on that one.

Jess said...

Very nice! I also enjoy the surprise aspect of baking - you don't really know how something will turn out until it's finished.

Danielle said...

Yours looks good! I need to get me a Kugelhopf pan!!

CB said...

Beautiful! Now I am thinking that maybe my kugelhopf was dry and bland b/c I didn't soak it with enough butter? Oh well... on to the rice pudding!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Bunny said...

It looks lovely, I'm glad you liked it, I've read some posts were people weren't that taken with it.

pinkstripes said...

Your kugelhopf looks perfect and yummy. I'm now curious how a traditional one tastes like.

Daziano said...

Kugelhopf!!! That's an awesome word! And despite all the necessary work, there's nothing better than tasting homemade cakes (and nothing better than the smell in your house)!

Flourchild said...

Wonderful bread/cake. I really love your pan too.

Jacque said...

It looks perfect! Looks like you're on your way to Kugel-expertise.

Jules Someone said...

Very very nice! That looks lovely.

nana said...

Hey,your kugelhopf looks like delicious.Recently,I research some baking products.But I have a question,what's different the kugelhopf`panettone and brioche?

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