Usually yeast and I get along quite well. I enjoy the interaction of releasing its sweet, fermenting flecks into a big bowl of warm water or whisked flour and letting it do its thing over the next couple hours. There's always an element of risk, an intrigue of the unknown, and I can get excited about this because rarely do I dislike the final result. It's harder than some think to kill yeast and so, even if my loaf isn't as tight as it could be or as flavorful, I generally get a good rise. Like I said, yeast and I usually get along.
But something went wrong with the Kugelhopf I started on Sunday evening and eventually baked at eight o'clock Monday night. The directions I was following only addressed the use of a dough hook, not the manual method I was using, so maybe I didn't "knead" the dough long enough with my large spatula. I don't know exactly. It rose happily until I put it in the fridge overnight and then it never came back to life very much. Or maybe I was just too ambitious, placing it in a large bundt pan (large as in average size, I believe) and hoping it would climb all the way up the sides when it really only doubled in size and sat stubbornly at a level several inches from the top.
So, presentation was lacking and likely delicacy in the crumb as well, but from the slice I had at breakfast this morning to the one I nibbled on pre-dinner, this cake grew on me quite a bit. Per Dorie's instructions, I stuck my last slice in the toaster and smeared on some marmalade because it had already started to dry out. But it was still delicious.
Three things would encourage me to make this again...
1) It was my first experience with anything resembling brioche (something I've been wanting to try), and I think I like it even better because it's slightly less rich.
2) I boiled my raisins with rum and then let them sit for an hour, and anything that is compatible with rum soaked raisins makes me happy.
3) The yeast got the better of me in this recipe, and I will not be beat. (This is one of only a few areas where my competitive side comes out.)
So, if you're still confused about what on earth a Kugelhopf is anyway, here's a little bit of history.
A big thanks to Yolanda over at The All-purpose Girl for selecting Kugelhopf out of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. I'm always glad to try something new in the culinary realm. And thank you as well to the ladies who keep Tuesdays with Dorie running.
You'll find the recipe here: