A Kugelhopf (also spelt as Kugelhupf, Gugelhupf or Kugelhoph) 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. The most common story about the Kugelhopf is that Marie Antoinette, the lady of the “let them eat cake” fame, brought it from her home country Austria, to France upon her marriage to King Louis XVI.
The Kugelhopf is typically baked in a special pan that that is round with a hole in the centre, 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.
This savoury version is also good for breakfast, as a snack or with a simple soup.
A lesser known version of the Kugelhopf is its savoury 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.
Thus Aparna decides to go savoury this month with the Savoury Kugelhopf. The recipe below is one that she claims to have cobbled together after some thought and is much like a sweeter Kugelhopf but with savoury additions just for the, "We Knead to Bake" group for the month of July!
This bread/ cake contains eggs because they are a characteristic part of this bake, but feel free to substitute powdered flax seed for the eggs if you don’t eat them. You may also use sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts instead of the tomatoes/ bell pepper and walnuts. I used Cheddar because that’s what I had. A sharper cheese will taste better.
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, though this bread freezes well.
Total time needed - 2.5-3 hours
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tspinstant yeast
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
75gm butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 tsp oil
1/3 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/3 cup deseeded, pulp-free and chopped tomatoes
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp coarsely crushed black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
Kneading can be done by hand as I did, instead of a processor, but it will be a bit sticky to handle.
1. Put 3 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of the processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix.
2. Add the butter, a little at a time, and process till incorporated.
3. The mixture will be crumbly at this point
4. Add the warm milk and process till mixed.
5. Add the eggs and process till mixed. ( Since I hand-knead I used beaten egg )
6.You will now have a 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.
7.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.
8.This can take from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours. ( 1 hour for me )
In the meanwhile, heat the 1tsp oil in a pan and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt till they turn golden brown. 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.
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!
Grease an 8”kugelhopf mould or bundt pan well especially around the centre (or any pan/ tin you plan to use). Place some of the chopped walnuts 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 walnuts on top of the dough after the second rise, just before baking. 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) in a pre-heated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when it is tapped.(I halved the above recipe and baked in two batches in my small 5.5 inch bundt pan. Total time taken was 15 mins).
Unmould the Kugelhopf and let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve. This Kugelhopf should serve about 10.
If you are non-vegetarian and fine with bacon, feel free to bake the “Kugelhopf aux Lardons”.
Here are two links, if you need them.
Bacon Onion and Walnut Kugelhopf
Kugelhopf Savoury with Bacon and Parmesan