Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie and Wishing My French Blood Ran Stronger (again)


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:


Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I think that this the kind of recipe that you need to practice and make your own through doctoring. Sometimes I think we forget, that once upon recipes were handed down through families and taught to young women, giving them plenty of time to practice into adulthood. Whatever the case, I think your kugelhopf looks just fine, you did good!

Rachael said...

You could be a great scientist. Your love for experimenting could go far...though I think you enjoy what smells and tastes good in the end. And the joy of sharing it too.

If you keep talking about Dorie, one of these days I'll actually find time to explore her expertise & food creativity too.

Enjoy your day...and float on the terrific news & honor you just received. I'm so happy for you!

Lael said...

Mevrouw cupcake: Thank you for your encouraging reminder. It's so true! That heritage and apprenticeship of cooking and baking has been lost.

Rachael: Thanks for sharing in my joy, Mum.

Anonymous said...

Your kugelhopf looks great. I'm glad you liked it and that you will try again. I agree practice makes perfect.

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your kugelhopf looks pretty good to me! I keep reading over and over about using a pan that was too large (aka "average") and realize now that it never occured to me to measure mine! Maybe I would have had better results with a smaller pan.

Barbara said...

Your kugelhopf looks great to me and the crumb looks nice and light! Mine didn't rise much more than double either. Maybe your pan was just a little too big for this particular recipe.

Jules Someone said...

This seems like the kind of recipe that would get better each time you make it.

Joie de vivre said...

From other's kugelhopf comments, it took a LONG time to rise. Your crumb looks good though. Perhaps the pan was just too large?

Y said...

It looks pretty good to me. Still, nothing beats brioche, in my opinion :)

Lael said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I'm thinking the pan must have been a bit too big and certainly am not dwelling on the imperfection of this cake. Practice DOES make perfect. And now that I've learned a bit of "yeasted" sweet breads from Kugelhopf, I think I'm ready to branch into brioche (Y: I'll let you know how it goes).

Stacey Snacks said...

I will be making this cake, it is up my alley!
Stacey Snacks