Orange Flower-Scented Kugelhopf
Simply put, kugelhopf is a spectacular display of your baking prowess. It’s so round and big-you get major points if you take this on. It’s also delicious, like a brioche, but studded with raisins and almonds. Native to Germany, Austria, and Alsace, the cake is made in a special kugelhopf mold, though a Bundt or an angel food cake pan works just as well. It is usually adorned with a sprinkle of sugar, but I soak mine in an orange flower syrup to moisten it and imbue it with fragrant sweetness.
Orange flower water, sometimes called Neroli, is one of many essential oils used in baking and cooking, mostly in southern France and the Mediterranean. Made from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, it can be used in scones, marshmallows, or flavored breads such as in this recipe. Bergamot and rose water are two other essential oils that work well in baking. Use them sparingly, almost imperceptibly, for best results, and use only the highest quality sources such as Mandy Aftel of Aftelier. She has high-quality, food-safe essences of scented geranium, pepper, violet, and grapefruit oil.
Orange Flower Water: www.naturesflavors.com/888-704-4900
Essential Oils: www.aftelier.com/store.html/510-841-2111
Makes1 loaf to serve 8 to 10
Total Timea day or more
Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Type of Dishbread, yeast bread
- 1 cup raisins (5.1 ounces, 144 grams)
- Dark rum, such as Myers’s, for covering
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk (5.3 ounces, 151.25 grams)
- 2 envelopes dry active yeast (.5 ounce, 14 grams)
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour (15.75 ounces, 455 grams)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (2.2 ounces, 62.5 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt (2.5 grams)
- 2 large eggs (3.4 ounces, 96 grams), at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk (.6 ounce, 18.6 grams)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (4 ounces, 113 grams)
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar (8.75 ounces, 250 grams)
- 1 cup confectioners sugar (4 ounces, 113 grams)
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water (see Notes) (3.3 grams)
- Electric mixer fitted with the dough hook
- Kugelhopf mold (or a bundt or angel food pan)
For the Dough:
The night before preparing the kugelhopf, boil 2 cups water and pour over the raisins. Allow to soak for 5 minutes, then drain. Cover the raisins with good, dark rum and soak overnight.
In a small saucepan heat the milk until very warm to the touch; let cool for 30 seconds. Add the yeast to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour in the warm milk. Cover the yeast mixture completely with the flour, then add the sugar and salt and allow to rest, without stirring, for 15 minutes in a warm (85°F) place to activate the yeast. It is important to cover the yeast with flour so it does not come into direct contact with the sugar or salt yet.
Mixing the dough on slow speed, add the whole eggs and yolk. Mix until the dough becomes shiny and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 15 minutes. The dough must develop sufficient elasticity to incorporate the butter.
Add the butter, mixing on medium speed until fully incorporated. Strain the raisins, place them on a towel to dry, and add them to the dough. Mix until combined, but do not overmix or the raisins will break down and turn the dough blue.
Remove the dough from the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put into the freezer for 15 minutes to slow the yeast down.
Transfer the dough from the freezer to a floured work surface. Push out the air from the dough, turning it over frequently so it doesn’t stick to the table. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place (95 to 110°F) for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
When the dough has doubled in volume, transfer it to a floured surface and push out the air again. Roll it into a ball by flouring your hands and shaping the dough in a clockwise motion, smoothing the surface as you go.
Shape the dough into a ring and place it in a well-buttered 2-quart kugelhopf mold (or a Bundt or angel food pan). Press the two ends of the ring together in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out, and allow it to rise again in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake the kugelhopf for 60 minutes, or until the top is fully browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
For the Syrup:
In a small saucepan combine the sugars, 1 cup water, and the orange flower water and boil until the sugars have dissolved.
Remove the loaf from the oven, turn it out of the mold onto a rack set over an 11-by-17 -inch baking sheet to catch any syrupy drips, and very slowly pour the warm syrup over the kugelhopf immediately while it is still warm.
2010 Bill Yosses