Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bread Baking Day #86: The Final Act (Kugelhopf)

As the saying goes, "All good things must come to an end."   So it is with Bread Baking Day. 

Founder and inspiration, Zorra, announced in early January that this would be the final BBD.  In its honor, we were challenged to bake a yeasted Kugelhopf/Gugelhupf.

Years ago, when baking with the Tuesdays with Dorie group, one of the recipes was a Kugelhopf.  Although I could have made it a second time, I decided to find a new recipe.  I chose this one from David Lebovitz, and it was definitely an excellent choice.  In addition, it allowed me to use some of the orange flower water that I had purchased for a previous bread recipe, Fouace Nantaise.

I tweaked the recipe in little ways.  I used golden raisins, soaked in dark rum, and a combination of lemon and clementine zest. 

For the soaking glaze, I used the orange flower water -- a healthy tablespoon-full.  Since I still don't have a kugelhopf pan, I used my bundt pan.  On a sadder note, the last of my favorite yeast went into this bread.  I've had it for many years and never doubted its potency.  The large package was stored in the freezer, and I decanted out a small jar for the fridge, refilling it when necessary.  I'm hoping its successor will be just as reliable.

Stop by Zorra's website in the next few days to see all the beautiful kugelhopfs.  Thanks, Zorra, for all the wonderful bread baking challenges.  I will definitely miss the fun.

I'll definitely miss this bread as well.  I shared some with friends, but it's too delicious to last very long!

(from David Lebovitz)
8 servings
Ideally, you want to use a high-sided Kugelhof mold or bundt pan that has a 6 to 8 cup (1,5-2l) capacity. I made it in a larger-sized bundt pan (10-inch/25cm) and it works fine, but the cake will be lower than a traditional Kugelhopf and will take less time to bake. I don't use instant yeast (nor did I use fresh cake yeast for this cake), but if you want to use one of those, check the manufacturer's website for instructions on substituting them for the active dry yeast.
1/2 cup (125ml) whole or lowfat milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope, 7g)) active dry yeast
2/3 cup (90g) flour
1/2 cup (80g) raisins
1 tablespoon dark rum or kirsch
10 tablespoons (5 ounces, 140g), unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature, plus additional soft butter for preparing the pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 cup (140g) flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup (30-40g) sliced almonds, blanched or unblanched, for preparing the cake pan
One 6- to 8-cup kugelhopf pan, or a 10 cup/25cm bundt pan (see headnote)
1. Make a sponge by warming the milk over low heat in a small saucepan until it’s tepid. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar, and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir in 2/3 cup (90g) flour. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
2. Butter the inside of a kugelhopf mold or bundt pan very well then scatter sliced almonds over the inside of the mold, pressing them in a bit and turning the mold so there is a relatively even coating of almonds. Gently tilt out any excess almonds.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the raisins and the rum, and set aside.
4. Add the cubed butter to the sponge and attach the bowl to the mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the salt, citrus zest, and vanilla until incorporated.
5. Beat in the egg and the yolk until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl
6. On low speed, mix in the 1 cup (140g) of flour. Once the flour is incorporated, increase the speed to high and beat until smooth, shiny and elastic, about 3 minutes.
7. Beat in the raisins and any liquor in the bowl.
8. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough begins to puff, about 30 minutes.
9. Make a hole in the center of the dough with your hands and stretch the dough out so the hole will be is large enough to go around the center of the kugelhopf mold or pan. Lift and transfer the dough into the cake pan. Make sure it's of even thickness all the way around. (A damp hand works well for that.) Cover the mold with a kitchen towel or buttered plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If using a kugelhopf mold, it should reach to the top, or almost to the top, of the mold. If using a larger bundt pan, it will likely take the maximum amount of time to rise.
10. Fifteen minutes before the dough is fully risen, preheat the oven to 375ºF (180ºC). Bake the kugelhopf until it’s deep golden brown across the top, about 40-45 minutes. (In a large bundt pan, the cooking time will be closer to 25 minutes.) When done, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.
11. While the cake is baking, make a glaze by bringing 1/3 cup of water (80ml) and 1/3 cup (65g) of sugar to a boil. Remove from heat once the sugar is dissolved and add 1 ½ teaspoons of orange flower water or 2 tablespoons of rum or kirsch. Poke the kugelhopf 35 times with a skewer and liberally brush half of the syrup over the cake, repeatedly, letting it absorb. Turn the cake out of the pan onto a cooling rack set over a baking sheet (to catch any dripping syrup), and brush the rest of the syrup, repeatedly, over the top and sides (and the inside hole) of the cake. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
Storage: The kugelhopf is better served the same day, or the day after it's made. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped.

Friday, January 20, 2017

BBB: Fouace Nantaise

Here in southern California, we're finally having a winter, the first in many years.  This means cool temperatures, blustery winds, and -- wait for it -- rain!  Six years with little to no precipitation is challenging, although too much at one time is not good either.  Just today, there was sufficient rain to cause flooding up in Santa Barbara.

While the cooler weather and rain are welcome, they pose a challenge for finding a warm place to proof my dough.  There is no warm spot in this house.  The water heater is in the uninsulated garage, so that's no help.  When I get desperate, I fire up the huge gas oven for a minute or so, but that's just a short-term solution.

I could turn on the heater/furnace to take the edge off, but did I mention that my 100-pound German Shepherd is afraid of it?  It seems to make some kind of thumpy noise that terrifies her.  Each day is a dilemma:  do I turn on the heat, which forces the dog to go outside, or do I bundle up with multiple coats, scarves, and gloves so the dog can remain inside?  Now, personally, I don't care if the dog is outside, but she plays this really annoying 'game' of scratching at the door, as if she wants to come back inside.  But, no.  As I reach for the handle, she runs away.  This happens multiple times until I give in and turn off the furnace.  And bundle up. 

So, for the January bread, Fouace Nantaise, finding a warm spot for proofing and rising the dough required some effort.  As I recall, I ended up turning on the gas stove for a brief moment so the dough could have a fighting chance.  It worked, by the way.

If you, dear reader, decide to make this bread (and I hope you do, because it is delicious), you will discover that it has one unique ingredient -- orange flower water.  I actually had some in my pantry from years (I say, years) ago.  While I don't think it spoils, in the interest of safety and currency, I decided to replace it.  What was there to lose?  If I couldn't find any, I knew I had antique orange flower water at hand.  But, I was in luck.  The local BevMo had a small bottle in stock.  I now have two bottles.  I clearly need to search for other recipes that use that fragrant ingredient.

Back to the bread.  Our Kitchen of the Month is Elizabeth, and she chose Fouace Nantaise, based on a recipe by Jamie Schler.   It's a lovely, orange-scented bread with a touch of orange-flavored liqueur, easy to make, and quick to disappear.  My only complaint would be that there wasn't enough of it.  (But I do have the orange flower water, so nothing is stopping me from baking it again.)  If I remember correctly (I made the bread in late December), I prepared the dough, saw that it was a really slow riser, got impatient, and tossed it in the refrigerator overnight.   The next day, I put the dough in the warm oven, and when it had doubled, formed the seven balls.  I wondered whether it required a pan with sides to retain the shape, but continued on anyway.  It baked up fine and was a really tasty bread, especially toasted and slathered with butter.  Salted butter.  That's all I have on hand.

I should admit that my primary deviation from the recipe, and most bread recipes for that matter, is that I mix all the dry ingredients together, including the yeast, then add the wet ingredients and mix.  I find all the separate steps of melting, cooling, testing, etc. a bit on the futzy side.  (Sort of like the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones rolls his eyes, pulls out the revolver, and shoots.  End result is the same.)

So, after this lengthy discourse, my recommendation is to make the bread.  Check Elizabeth's blog for the recipe and her story, which is always entertaining.  Send her your results by the 29th to be included in the Buddy roundup.

By the way, would anyone like a sweet-natured German Shepherd who's afraid of noises that go bump?