I fell in love with baking Breads a year ago and until 2 months ago I made it almost every week. As the smell of freshly baked bread started to fill my kitchen, store brought bread became a history. There is something really therapeutic about baking bread in an oven.
The whole process of kneading, proofing and then baking has managed to calm down many frayed nerves in the past and I seem to have grown to get really fond of it.
However I have not had a chance to bake Bread for some time now for some reason or the other. My new or rather my old oven is not a very happy oven either, so I have hardly baked, as the thought of destroying good bread in my sad little oven scares me.
So when I had to take part in this month’s “Knead to Bake” event and had to bake “Kugelhopf” I was skeptical on account of the fact that it was too cold in Perth and that my oven was still unfamiliar. But fool that I am I decided to make it. And it worked out just fine.
Kugelhopf or Gugelhupf as it is also called is a big cake, derived from the Groninger Poffert, and has a distinctive ring shape or the shape of a torus. It is usually eaten with coffee, at coffee breaks. Gugelhupf consists of soft yeast dough which contains raisins, almonds and Kirschwasser cherry brandy. Some also contain candied fruits and nuts.
Some regional varieties (Czech, Hungarian and Slovenian) are also filled, often with a layer of sweetened ground poppy seeds.
It is baked in a special circular pan with a central tube, originally made of enameled pottery. The version we made for the event is a savory one instead of the usual sweet version that one gets and as I did not have the Kugelhopf pan I used a Bundt pan.
The bread rose beautifully and after the second proofing I felt that I had come home, there was this familiar feeling of knowing what I was doing, even if I was not comfortable with the equipment.
This Kugelhopf bakes in an 8” Kugelhopf pan, but you should also be able to bake it in an 8” Bundt pan, a regular loaf tin (or 2 small ones), smaller Brioche tins or even muffin tins. If you’re baking this in muffin tins you might want to use half the recipe, this bread freezes well.
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
75gm butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
For the Filling:
1 tsp oil
1/3 cup deseeded, pulp-free and chopped tomatoes
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
½ cup Sun dried Capsicum
1/3 cup coarsely chopped Pinenuts or Walnuts
1 1/2 tsp coarsely crushed black pepper
1 tbsp fresh Rosemary
1) Using your processor add 3 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of the processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix. Then add the butter, a little at a time, and process till incorporated.
2) Add the warm milk and process till mixed. Now add the eggs and process till mixed. You will now have soft and sticky dough. Knead some more, adding more flour, a little at a time and just enough till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not be tempted to add more flour than absolutely necessary.
3) Your dough will be very soft, elastic and just short of sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until double in volume. This can take from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.
4) In the meanwhile, heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan. Add the Onion and a pinch of salt and stir-fry till the raw smell disappear. Remove and keep aside. To the same pan, add the remaining 1/2 tsp oil and sauté the Tomatoes with a pinch of salt till they turn golden brown. Remove and add to the sun dried capsicums and and keep aside.
5) Grease an 8” kugelhopf mould or bundt pan well especially around the center (or whatever pan/ tin you plan to use). Place some of the chopped walnuts/Pinenuts in the bottom of the mould. If you’re using a loaf tin or brioche moulds, then don’t do this. Instead press in the nuts on top of the dough after the second rise, just before baking.
6) Once the dough has risen, deflate it. Then work the cheese, stir-fried onions, Capsicum and tomato, the remaining nuts, black pepper and Rosemary into the dough. The best way to do this is to flatten the dough out and spread all this over the surface, fold the dough over and then knead it. This will ensure a more uniform incorporation of the “filling”. The dough will be a bit sticky, so use a scraper to help you with the kneading. Do not add more flour.
7) Roll the dough into a longish log, long enough to fit into the mould comfortably. Lift the “log” of dough and place it in the mould in a circular fashion and pinch the two ends together to close the “circle” of dough. Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour or so, until it reaches the edge/ rim of the mould.
8) Bake the Kugelhopf at 200C (400F) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when it is tapped.
9) Unmould the Kugelhopf and let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve. This Kugelhopf should serve about 10.