Tuesday, November 11, 2008

{TWD} Kugelhopf


The first thing I did when I joined TWD was to go online and order a dough hook for my Kitchenaid Artisan mixer. I'm pretty sure my mixer came with a dough hook, but I can't say for sure, because I've never seen it since. Up to now dough hooks have been irrelevant to my life. In the (rare) event that yeast gets used around here, it's by my husband. He enjoys trying to figure out how to best keep the yeasties happy so that they will do their thing. As you'd expect from an aging Boomer (shh, don't tell him I said that), naturally his baking bible is the Tassajara Bread Book. We even had two copies of it floating around at one point. His love of baking with yeast is more theoretical than applied, however, and we routinely throw out expired envelopes of yeast.

With me it's a different story. Truth be told, I'm a little scared of yeast (well, terrified actually). It 's the War and Peace of my baking world, a daunting prospect of epic proportions. But with TWD, it was only a matter of time before I would come face to face with yeast. At least I'd be armed with a decent dough hook.

I managed to make it through 16 TWD challenges before having to deal with the dreaded yeast. Yolanda of The All-Purpose Girl chose Kugelhopf for this week's recipe, and I must admit it sounded appealing: part bread, part cake. Two of my favorite food categories!


While I was sorely tempted to purchase a specialty kugelhopf mold, I have "issues" with storage of specialty pans. I already have a whole bunch of tube pans and bundt pans, as well as three antique molds (the one in the front, left, in the above picture was my grandmother's angel food cake pan.) I wanted to use a tall pan, and one of the old tin pudding molds was exactly a 2 quart capacity. My dad had picked it up at an auction or antique shop years ago.


cook's notes:

- I asked my husband which dried fruit he preferred in this, and he chose raisins. Apparently he doesn't share my obsession with dried sour cherries. I used golden raisins and currants, which I plumped in diluted orange juice.

- It was after 10:00pm on Sunday before I could start the recipe.

- I followed Dorie's recipe very closely (with 3 minuscule additions) - the only real departure was that I used SAF instant yeast, red label, instead of active dry yeast. I debated this extensively with myself ("Should I really take an uncharted trail on my first yeast expedition?") But fortified by the assurance that the King Arthur Flour kitchen uses nothing other than SAF red, I took the leap. The next question was how much SAF to use. I read somewhere that starting with less yeast can lead to better taste than starting with too much. Some sources said to use a 1-fo-1 substitution, others said to reduce the amount by 25% when using instant. So I split the difference and used 1 level tsp. {edit: the best thing about instant yeast is that you don't have to dissolve it - just mix in with the dry ingredients!}


- I added a tiny pinch of cardamom with the dry ingredients. If I'd been thinking, I'd have instead infused the warm milk with a cardamom seed, but I didn't think about that in time.

- It was a little tricky to incorporate the ingredients with the dough hook. I'd read somewhere about using the paddle to mix the ingredients, switching to the hook when it was time for the beating. I might try that the next time.

- The dough began pulling away after about 5 minutes of beating. I stopped at about 7 or 8 minutes, and it had climbed almost all the way up the hook. I think I easily could have stopped sooner. Another concern is whether I beat at too high of a mixer speed. I used one speed for a few minutes and a higher speed for a few more.


- As I turned the very stretchy dough into a bowl to rise, it measured right at 2 cups. Other TWD bakers spoke of a runny dough, but that was not my experience. I used 4.75oz/cup for my flour measurement, so I don't know if that made any difference.

- I put the dough on my range top to rise. The halogen lights of the vent hood keep this a very toasty spot.


- It doubled in 70 minutes.

- I slapped it down every 30 minutes for 2 hours as it cooled in the fridge. By this point it was nearly 2:00am. Then it got 8 hours to chill.


- After putting it in the tin mold, it took 1 hour before the dough started to rise for the second time, then another hour until it was almost to the top of the mold.


- Is there any smell more intoxicating than yeast bread as it bakes?

- The bread did not rise a bit in the oven. Not even a milimeter. I wish I'd evened the top, because it was lopsided when it came out of the oven, just like it was when it went in.

- Luckily it came out of the mold mostly intact.


- The recipe calls for a melted-butter-and-sugar crust on the finished product. I wondered which esoteric sweetener would be on the ingredient list, to find: "sugar". I dug around the sugar stash and chose golden baker's sugar for the dusting. (Ultimately I forgot the later dusting with confectioner's sugar. Again) I mixed 1/4 tsp of orange peel granules with the butter before I melted it.

- The kugelhopf turned out to be undercooked a bit, maybe by a minute; it was moist and soft but tore when I cut it, despite my best efforts with two different serrated knives. I cut a slice off the bottom in an effort to even it out, but it was still crooked. And very plain, compared with those fancy kugelhopf molds. We'll just call it "rustic," OK?

The verdict

This is wonderful bread. Or cake. Bread/cake. The lightly sweet, delicate flavor matched the tender texture. I couldn't taste the cardamom or the orange notes per se, but I think they added. Very subtly! The yeast was very present in smell and taste. In a good, home-baked way.

After a few hours, it was easier to cut and tasted even better! My husband really really LOVED this bread/cake. (According to him, this rates a 10 out of 10, and at the very top for everything I've ever cooked) He doesn't want to share any of it! Kugelhopf is his very favorite Dorie recipe now. (Mine is still the Dimply Plum Cake!)

But even so, I'm not sure I'd make it frequently. It takes a TON of time and care. And now that I've got SAF in my arsenal, I'm ready to do battle with other yeast recipes!

Kudos to Yolanda for such a challenging/rewarding choice this week. The kugelhopf recipe can be found on pages 61-63 of Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours, or in Yolanda's post. There are now 360 TWD bakers! You can see the variety of baked kuglehopfs if you visit the Tuesdays With Dorie blogroll!


47 comments:

Karen said...

Wow!! I am so very impressed by how tall yours turned out!! I had issues with dough hooks too! :)

Marthe said...

Love your doggy!! The Kugelhopf looks amazing, glad you liked it!! I still have to bake mine (right after work, I promise....) but can't wait to try it!

Cathy said...

I am so glad that this was a big success, Nancy, especially since I know that you had to really work to find time to squeeze this in. I love the pan/mold that you used. I was envisioning "tall" myself, but I really just got a bundt cake with a wavy design on top. My cake did not rise when baking, either. I'm with you -- I liked the kugelhopf, but I can't justify making it very often, since I know that I can make things that take much less effort but that we'll enjoy just as much. But this was fun, and it's always good to face down those yeast fears!

CB said...

Ooohhh yours looks more pound cake-y than mine. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

pinkstripes said...

Ooh, your kugelhopf looks perfectly golden and yummy.
I always use instant yeast. It's easier. This was the first time I've made a {relatively} sweet bread with it though.

Jin Hooi said...

wow.. ur yeast worked well ,ur kugelhopft looks great !! well done !!Btw, i have the same issue with yeast too ;-))

j. d. e. said...

you know i'm excited about the dough hook! now i REALLY can't wait to come home.
also, the picture of k-dog is adorable. i miss that little fuzzer, but klara is doing a good job of standing in, even if she is a bit quieter.
it actually almost feels like you are somewhere in germany right now because they are all about the gugelhopf over here, except, as you see, they spell it with a "g"
can't wait for you to visit!

Audrey said...

I'm so glad you were able to get to this - and that you got such a beautiful result when you did. Wasn't this good? There's something very appealing about sweet (or slightly sweet) yeast doughs. I love your antique pans, too.

Peggy said...

Nancy I'm so glad you found time to make this! Face your fears head on, isn't that what the therapists all say? I think yours looks adorable in that mold. Yours was a lot more successful at rising than mine!! Great job.

Cristine said...

Looks great!!! Yay for working with the yeast!

Flourchild said...

Love it! I really like how tall your bread/cake got! Wonderful job.

Andrea said...

Beautiful! I love your rustic kugelhopf, the tall pan makes it look so dramatic. I've noticed a few other people had the same issues we had with not rising in the oven but rising fine before hand. I wonder what the problem was...

Laura said...

I wish I'd had a nice tall pan to put mine in - your kugelhopf looks so grand and stately! - but, alas I had to use my regular old bundt pan. Beautiful job as usual Nancy!

Candy said...

Looks beautiful! It is a bit time consuming though..

Lady Baker said...

looks awesome! and i'm so impressed that you did it at 10pm Sunday!! I ran out of time to do it this week, but hope to catch up to it and make it next weekend!

ostwestwind said...

Glad you liked the recipe and a Guglhupf must be tall! It means Gugl=hood and hupf=jump with the yeast

bakers said...

Thanks for the mention. Your bread turned out beautifully. Glad to hear you like the SAF red yeast. We really do use it for everything here, even in all our classes.

Happy Baking. Love the doggie.

MaryJane @ King Arthur Flour

chocolatechic said...

Oh, your antique pans.

I heart them.

Yours looks so great, so fluffy.

Di said...

Your "rustic" cake/bread looks terrific! (I can't decide what to call it either.) I love how you include all the details in your post. I used instant yeast as well--1 teaspoon did seem to be plenty. Cardamom sounds like a great addition. I thought about adding some nutmeg, but decided not to. Next time. Oh, and I forgot the powdered sugar, too. =)

Melissa said...

Yours looks so tasty! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. Love those antique baking tins!

landa said...

Wow! Look at how tall it is. Thats awesome. Im so glad you liked it.

Jamie said...

Wow, that is one tall cake/bread...it looks great!

TeaLady said...

Sounds like you had a better process than many of us. Didn't climb the hook. Didn't get slapped around. Didn't over rise the pan. But it is the taste that counts, not the process. (Wait, didn't you tell me that once....) Yours looks really yummy. Cardamom. Wish I had added that.

Kimberly Johnson said...

I love that your kugelhopf is so tall! It looks fabulous!

bakingwiththeboys said...

I can't believe you are scared of yeast. You make such great things on this site.

Kayte said...

Love all your baking pans...how fun are those to use? Your Kugelhopf turned out just lovely, and we are with the husband on this one, 10 out of 10...it was a big hit around here with my guys, too. Love your flavor combinations. I will try those, definitely, as I will make this again. I think it will go faster and easier the next time as I know what to expect...really, I can see me getting into this several times a year. Yours is so pretty!

The Food Librarian said...

Your hit the roof! It is really tall! I love all your baking pans too. This recipe really worked for you and I'm glad the family liked it!

Lauren said...

How beautiful in the tall slender angel food mold. I also have my Tasa...bread book:-)

MacDuff said...

Oh my gosh, I got absolutely GIDDY with excitement wanting to comment on your blog.

First of all, you should have your antique cake pans looked at. Martha Stewart is always featuring them in her magazines, and I think they're real collectors items.

Second, The Tassajara Bread Book is the best thing EVAH. Have you ever been there? I love it. LOVE IT. It's like heaven. With awesome food and hot springs. Which makes sense.

And finally, dude, War and Peace is the bomb. Go out and get it - you won't be disappointed.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Your collection of tube and Bundt pans is awesome! I think you did an excellent job for your first time yeast experience, well done! And I agree with you, there is no smell more intoxicating than yeast bread as it bakes!

Mary Ann said...

I bet this tasted amazing with a little bit of cardamom. I also love your supply of special pans, very nice. It looks good. I really am wishing I would have gotten to this!

Anne said...

Your looks perfect! I'm glad it was such a hit and love the modifications you made. Great job! :)

Carol Peterman said...

Your Kugelhoph is wonderful. No one would ever know you have issues with yeast. I think you may turn into a bread baker before you know it. I love the idea of the orange peel in the melted butter - that sounds so good. The Tassajara Bread Book managed to come with me when I moved out of my parent's house decades ago. I still have it and use it!

Tammy said...

it looks great and i love your plate in the last photo!

Cathy said...

P.S. Now that your husband knows that he loves this kugelhopf, I bet he'll eagerly accept when you offer to bring him some hot out of the oven in the middle of the afternoon! I was so hellbent on eating this right away that had I made this during normal business hours, I may well have driven it downtown, pulled David out of a deposition, and made him eat it right outside the conference room. But then, baking doesn't always bring out the best in me!

The Blonde Duck said...

I like your version! It looks like a little cake baked in a sand bucket!

What's for Supper? said...

Yours looks so good. I wish mine would have gotten that tall. I am so impressed! Makes me want to try again. OK...not really.

AmyRuth said...

Congratulations, you stepped up to the plate and SCORED!!!! Beautiful Kugelhopf. So funny those men. You stepped into his backyard and now you have a friend in the kitchen for life. I'll bet he won't forget your success with "yeast the beast." ha ha Now its your turn to bake the bread. Oh well, so fun to melt their butter and add a new adventure to your baking repertoire. Sounds like its definitely a new holiday tradition with the family antique mold. Great Work, Nancy!

Sweet Charity said...

Looks amazing- I didn't make this- had visions of panettone, and I despise panettone... But looking at yours, I wish I had thrown aside my preconceived notions.
I can imagine eating a still warm slice with melted butter and a drizzle of honey.
Also, love your antique pans- I just received my grandfathers false bottom pans that he used for wedding cakes.

Karen said...

Yours is one of the few that I'vee seen that turned out well. Good job! Love your pan collection!

leanne said...

I envy your pan collection. Your Kugelhopf looks fantastic. It was so tall. I love your doggies too.

Karleen said...

Congratulations, this looks amazing! And I'm also obsessed with dried wild cherries over anything else these days.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Yes, it was a lot of work, a very great lot, but I'm pleased you enjoyed it in the end. I also think this cake is absolutely delicious.

AmyRuth said...

Okay, again here I am but I just thought in case you are on the fence. Go Ahead. Spring for that Special K pan (if you haven't already) After all, your hubby thinks the Kugelhopf was fabulous, you liked it. Those four legged kids like the crumbs, and you are one of those lucky ones who has the proofing feature on your shiny oven right? You have my vote. : )
AmyRuth

the Spaz said...

Freakin' gorgeous kugelhopf!! And I am so jealous of all the pans you had to choose from - even though none were actual kugelhopf pans, what a cool assortment of bakeware. Your pictures really do capture the beauty of baked goods so well...

happytummy said...

oh! i love how you used the tall pan. i have a feeling that made all the difference in the bread's texture--mine came out really short, and even though i loved it, i felt like i never got the "true" bread. but didn't the raisins taste great? :) gorgeous.

Matt said...

It's nice to know there's someone else out there who shares my nervousness about yeast. You had a good experience with it though. Your kugelhopf turned out well!

I just purchased The Art and Soul of Baking, Gourmet's Cookbook Club selection for November. The author, Cindy Mushet, gives this guideline for substituting instant yeast for active dry yeast: "For each teaspoon of active dry yeast, use 3/4 teaspoon of instant yeast (or multiply the weight of the active dry yeast by 0.75)"