A Kugelhopf (also spelled kugelhupf, gugelhupf or kugelhoph) is a yeasted sweet cake well known in the Alsace region of France, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and variations of this are also found in some countries of Eastern Europe. The Kugelhopf is typically baked in a round pan with a hole in the center, somewhat similar to the Bundt pan, but heavier than it. Since it is a yeasted cake, the kugelhopf has dense bread like texture to it. This can be considered similar to a coffee cake that can be eaten with breakfast or as a snack.
The lesser know version is the Savory Kugelhopf called the Kugelhopf aux Lardons. Lardons is the French name for bacon and this version is typically made onions, ham/bacon, walnuts and herbs. This savory version is very good with breakfast, as a snack or with soup for dinner.
This month Aparna chose this lesser know version of the Savory Kugelhopf and we made it vegetarian without the bacon. I used onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and cheddar cheese with some pine nuts and Indian spices to make it spicy.
Preparation time – 20 mins plus about 3 hours to rise
Cooking time – about 40 mins
Difficulty level – medium
Serves – 10
Ingredients to make Kugelhopf – Makes 1, 8 inch Bundt pan or 1 standard loaf pan, or 2 small loaf pans
For the dough –
- All purpose flour – 3 – 3 ½ cups
- Instant yeast – 2 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Butter – 75 gms (room temperature)
- Warm Milk – ¾ cup
- Eggs – 2 (lightly beaten)
For the filling –
- Green bell peppers – ½ cup (chopped)
- Onion – ½ cup
- Tomatoes – 1/3 cup (deseeded, pulp removed and chopped)
- Toasted Pine nuts (or any other nut of your choice) – 1/3 cup
- Cheddar cheese (or any other sharp cheese) – ½ cup (diced)
- Red chili powder – ¼ tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Dried thyme – 1 tsp
- Crushed black pepper – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – 1 tsp
Procedure to make Kugelhopf –
Make the dough –
- In the bowl of the mixer, add 3 cups of flour, salt and yeast. Attach the beater hook and mix well. Slowly add the butter to the flour and mix until all the butter is well incorporated.
- Now slowly add the warm milk and mix till well blended.
- Next add the eggs and mix well again. Now change to a dough hook and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add a little flour if needed (I did not need more flour) to make it into a soft dough that will be slightly sticky. Do not add more flour than absolutely necessary.
- Knead the dough until it is elastic and then transfer it into a well greased bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise until double in volume. This could take anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hrs.
Make the filling –
- Heat ½ tsp oil in a pan and add the chopped bell pepper, tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Stir fry until the vegetables loses their raw smell but still has the crunch to it. Transfer it to a bowl.
- In the same pan, add the remaining ½ tsp of oil and fry the chopped onions with a pinch of salt, thyme, red chili powder and garam masala. Let it fry until golden brown and remove it in the same bowl with the bell pepper.
Shaping the dough –
- Grease the Bundt pan or kugelhopf pan liberally with oil, especially around the center stem. Now sprinkle a little bit of the pine nuts (or whatever nuts you are using) in the base of the pan. Do not do this if you are using a loaf pan. You could stick the nuts gently on top of the dough after the second rise, just before baking.
- Once the dough has well risen, transfer it to the work surface. Deflate it and then incorporate all the fillings. The best way to do this would be to spread the dough and then add all the filling in the center of the dough.
- Fold the dough over the filling and then knead it. This will ensure even distribution of the filling around the dough. This step would be very sticky, so use a scraper to help you kneading. Do not add more flour.
- Roll the dough into a long roll that can fit comfortably around the pan and then lift it slowly and place it in the pan.
- Pinch the edges well to close the circle. Cover and let it rise again until the dough reaches the rim of the baking dish. This could take again anywhere from an hour to 1 ½.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C) and bake the kugelhopf for about 35 – 40 mins until the top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
- Unmould the kugelhopf and then let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve with breakfast or soup.
- I served it with some hot Lentil soup for dinner!