I confess – I’m obsessed with kugelhopf. It shares the number one spot on my list of most delicious things I’ve ever tasted with salted caramel macarons from Laduree in Paris. It is no coincidence that both of these amazing sweets are from our favorite Parisian patisserie. Everything we have purchased there has been amazing. When my daughter and I returned home from Paris last Spring I was determined to figure out how to make this light, buttery, heavenly scented bread/cake myself. It’s been a steep learning curve and this is my best effort so far in trying to duplicate Laduree’s recipe. Some sources call kugelhopf a bread, others say its more cake like. It resembles a brioche but isn’t as eggy, and there is very little sugar added to the yeast dough. What takes this obsession causing creation over the top is the orange blossom sugar syrup it is soaked in while it is hot and the crust that forms when it is heavily sprinkled with granulated sugar. I have concluded from my reading that this is a technique used by Laduree and isn’t characteristic of kugelhopfs from other areas of Europe. I’ve seen them brushed with butter after baking and dusted with confectioners sugar but that doesn’t hold a candle to Laduree’s sugar crusted version.
This dough recipe is from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan that I found at Leite’s Culinaria. It’s my favorite so far but I still have a way to go to achieve the light, almost airy texture of Laduree’s kugelhopf. It is probably more a problem with my technique than it is with the recipe. I’ve never had much success with yeast dough but I’m going to stay with it this time until I get it just right. I found the recipe for Laduree’s orange blossom syrup on David Lebovitz’s post of a kugelhopf recipe from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri. You can find the recipe here if you are interested in comparing the two. It was too heavy for my taste, but there again I was probably the problem. If you are driven to learn more about my tied-with-macarons-for-first-place-on-my-list-of-most-delicious-things-I’ve-ever-tasted list click on over to My Kugelhopf for more info.
- FOR THE BREAD:
- ⅓ cup moist plump raisins
- 2 tablespoons rum
- scant 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
- 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup slivered almonds (optional)
- FOR THE SYRUP:
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons orange flower water
- 2 tablespoons almond flour (optional)
- Place raisins and rum in a small bowl. Microwave until warm, about 30 seconds. Let cool until raisins absorb most of the rum, about 10 minutes.
- 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 dry.
- In a small bowl beat the eggs and yolk together lightly with a fork. The recipe calls for using the dough hook at this point but I used my paddle attachment for this step. Working at low speed pour in the eggs, mixing until they are incorporated. Add the sugar, increase the mixer speed to medium high, and beat until the dough comes together and smooths 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.
- When the butter is blended in the dough will be very soft. Switch to the dough hook at this point. Increase 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 and almonds.
- 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. (It took my dough 2-1/2 hours to reach this point)
- Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall back 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 up to 2 days.
- Generously butter and flour a 9-inch kugelhopf mold (8-9- cup capacity) and put the chilled dough in the pan. Cover the mold lightly with buttered parchment or waxed paper and let the dough rise in a warm place until it comes almost to the top of the pan. It took 4-1/2 hours for my dough to rise.
- When the dough has almost fully risen center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove the paper and bake the kugelhopf for 10 minutes. Cover the pan loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the kugelhopf is golden brown and has risen to 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 onto the rack.
- TO MAKE SYRUP:
- Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat when sugar is dissolved and add orange flower water (and almond flour if desired).
- Liberally brush syrup all over the kugelhopf until all the syrup is absorbed. Sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar until bread is well coated.
- Cool completely before cutting.
The dough took twice as long to rise as stated in the recipe. I used new yeast and tested it and it got bubbly within a few minutes so it looked OK. There are several different kinds of yeast available at even my local market so it is difficult to know which type to choose. Numerous kugelhopf recipes call for yeast cakes which I haven’t seen in the grocery store in years. My grandmother didn’t use anything else, and I remember that it could be touchy and had a short shelf life. I had intended to take photos of the dough as it rose and baked, but it was a few days before Christmas and I had one interruption after another. I had to leave the rising dough in the refrigeration overnight, and by the time it came to room temperature and rose again it was mid-afternoon the next day. Too many things to do in a short period of time…yikes! Anyway, this is the way the dough looked at the beginning of the rising process.
I read that many pastry chefs make enough syrup to almost submerge the kugelhopf in the orange blossom infused mixture. Next time I will use 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. That should be enough syrup to gently roll the bread/cake in the liquid so lots of it is absorbed. After this I will generously sprinkle granulated sugar all over the cake. My family ate the well soaked and sugared areas first and nibbled at the rest of the slice until it was gone.
Yeast is a good subject for a future post, but since I mentioned it I”ll share a little information about this everyday product that can be difficult to work with when it wants to be. There are basically 3 different types of yeast:
Fresh Yeast, also known as compressed or cake yeast, is active yeast. It’s sold in tiny cakes in the refrigerated section of many supermarkets.
- Fresh yeast does not keep well; it will last about two weeks if refrigerated. The yeast should be pale gray-brown, fragrant, soft and crumbly–not hard, dark brown, or crusty. Any mold growing on the surface is an indication that the yeast should be discarded.
- Fresh yeast should be proofed in tepid water (80-90 degrees F) without contact with salt or sugar. This yeast type is a good choice for breads requiring a long cool rise, or for breads made using the sponge method.
- It is still widely available for commercial use, and is somewhat more tolerant of low temperatures than other forms of commercial yeast; however, even there, instant yeast has made significant market inroads.
Active Dry Yeast is the most commonly available form for home bakers. It’s available in ¼-oz packets or jars. The yeast is dormant, needs to be “proofed” and rehydrated before using.
- To proof yeast, sprinkle the yeast over warm water (105-115 degrees F) and a pinch of sugar, and let it stand for 10 minutes until creamy and bubbly.
- Dry yeast should be stored in a cool dry place; but do not use it after the expiration date on the package. Store open containers in the refrigerator.
Instant Yeast is a dry yeast developed in the past thirty years. It comes in smaller granules than active dry yeast, absorbs liquid rapidly, and doesn’t need to be hydrated or proofed before being mixed into flour.
- Bread Machine Yeast and Rapid Rise Yeast is instant yeast that may include ascorbic acid, a dough conditioner.
- Again, store the yeast in a cool dry place, or in the refrigerator once the package has been opened. Do not use yeast after the expiration date.
I’m linking this post to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum and Season Sunday at The Tablescaper.
Happy New Year Everyone!
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