This month we are all baking a savoury bread called Kugelhopf (also spelt as Kugelhupf, Gugelhupf, Gougelhof, Kugelhoph, Kugloff Kuelopf, Kouklouf, Köjlhopf, Koejelhopf, Koïlopf, Köjhupf!) It is a yeasted sweet cake well known in the Alsace region of France, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and variations of this are also found in some countries of Eastern Europe.
Kugelhopf is typically baked in a special pan that that is round with a hole in the center, somewhat like a bundt pan but heavier. Since it is a yeasted cake, the Kugelhopf has a dense bread-like texture and is made from a somewhat enriched dough like brioche but is not as rich. It is considered similar to a coffee cake that might be eaten for or with breakfast, or could be part of an afternoon snack with coffee.
A lesser known version of the Kugelhopf is its savory Alsatian version called the Kugelhopf aux Lardons. “Lardons” is the French word for bacon, and this version is typically made with onions, ham/ bacon, walnuts and herbs.
3 - 3 1/2 cups - All-purpose flour
2 Tsp - Instant yeast
1 Tsp - Salt
5 Tablespoon (75gm) - Butter, at room temperature
3/4 Cup – Milk, warm
2 - Eggs, beaten lightly
1 Tsp - Oil
1/3 Cup - Green bell peppers, chopped
1/3 Cup – Tomatoes, deseeded, pulp-free and chopped
1 Cup - Onions, finely chopped
1/2 Cup - Cheddar cheese (preferably sharp), grated
1/3 Cup – Walnuts OR Pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Tsp - Black pepper, coarsely crushed
1 Tsp - Rosemary or Italian Seasoning
- Add 3 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in the processor and pulse a couple of times. (If you don’t have a food processor you can do it by hand)
- Add butter and pulse a few times.
- With processor running, pour warm milk through food chute gradually and process for a few more seconds until the ingredients are mixed.
- Add the whisked eggs and pulse a few times until the eggs look incorporated into the dough. You will now have soft and sticky dough.
- Knead some more, adding more flour, a little at a time and just enough until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not be tempted to add more flour than absolutely necessary. The 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
- Meanwhile, heat 1/2 a tsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped green bell pepper, the tomato and a pinch of salt and stir-fry till the raw smell disappears but the vegetables are still crisp/ crunchy. Remove and keep aside.
- To the same pan, add remaining 1/2 tsp oil and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt till they turn golden brown. Remove and add to the bell peppers and keep aside.
- Grease an 8” kugelhopf mould or bundt pan well especially around the centre (or whatever pan/ tin you plan to use).
- Place some of the chopped walnuts at the bottom of the mould. If you’re using a loaf tin or brioche moulds, then don’t do this. Instead press in the walnuts on top of the dough after the second rise, just before baking.
- Once the dough has risen, deflate it.
- Then work the cheese, stir-fried onions, bell pepper and tomato, the remaining walnuts, black pepper and thyme 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!
- 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.
- Bake the Kugelhopf at 200C (400F) for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when it is tapped.
- Unmould the bread and let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve.
- Serve about 10 people
- This bread is good for breakfast, as a snack or serve with a warm bowl of soup.
- Bacon fans - dont shy away from adding it to the bread!