Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A lucky find and a delightful treat

Since a trip to the Alsace area of France, I have been searching for something.  I look on the Internet, e-bay, just about everywhere, and I have not found want I was looking for.  I know I can find it in France, but right now, I am in the USA and it is more difficult to find.

So, last week we were in North Carolina visiting our daughter and her family.  Angie and I decided to go to some antique shops.  As I was glancing at a wall, I said, "I don't believe it!"  There it hung.  I quickly walked forward and looked at the tag and it said it was a "jello mold."  No way. This was not a jello mold, but an absolutely perfect, copper Kugelhopf mold.  I explained to my daughter and the shopkeeper, my long time search for this Alsatian pan.  My daughter grabs it out of my hands and says "Happy Mother's Day."  Perfect, just a perfect find, and thank you, Angie.

So then, the next search was for the recipe that was most similar to the one I ate for breakfast each day while we stayed at the B&B in Alsace.  That was a little easier since it ended up that the cookbook in my kitchen had the perfect recipe.  Susan Herrmann Loomis and  French Farmhouse Cookbook had just what I wanted.

Kugelhopf is a sweet, raisin studded bread that is the signature pastry of Alsace and every pastry shop in the region proudly displays this in their windows.  Serve it as a late afternoon snack with coffee or for breakfast.  

Alsatian Coffee Bread

Kugelhopf from Susan Herrmann Loomis

3/4 cup (125 g) golden raisins
2 tablespoons kirsch (I used apricot brandy)
1 cup milk heated to lukewarm
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar  (vanilla sugar is preferred)
2 eggs
3 3/4 cups (500g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces, room temperature
whole almonds

About 1 hour before you plan to bake, combine the raisins and kirsch in a small bowl.  Stir and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid bowl), combine the lukewarm milk and the yeast.  Stir, then add the vanilla sugar and stir well.  (NOTE:)  I had half the amount of sugar needed in vanilla sugar that I brought back from France last year.  It comes in packets.  I then added regular sugar to get the full 150 grams.

Let this sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to foam.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined.  Then gradually add the flour and salt, mixing well with a wooden spoon.  The dough will be quite sticky.  Continue mixing the dough using the wooden spoon or your hands until it is quite elastic, about 10 minutes.   This takes about 5 minutes in an electric mixer.

Gradually add the butter piece by piece, kneading until it is well incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic and comes cleanly off the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes or 2-3 with an electric mixer. 

Mix in the raisins until they are evenly distributed.  Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until it has nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the down and knead it briefly to remove all the air.  Then let rise again until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Heavily butter a 6 cup kugelhopf mold and place the almonds in the indentations in the bottom of the mold.  Punch down the dough and place it in the mold as evenly as possible.  Let rise until it reaches the top, about 1 hour.  (If you don't have a kugelhopf mold, use a 6 cup souffle dish.  Place the dough in the souffle dish and arrange the almonds on top of the dough.)  Susan Loomis says that 17 almonds are needed in the bottom of the typical kugelhopf mold.  I only had room for 16, but believe me, I am not typical either. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the kugelhopf in the center of the oven until it is golden and sounds hollow when the mold is tapped, 1 hour.

Remove the mold from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Unmold the kugelhopf and let it cool on a wire rack.  Dust it with confectioners  sugar before serving.  If you used a souffle dish, cool the kugelhopf almond side up on a wire rack and serve so that the almonds are showing.

You will see that there is a lot of time spent rising; 4 hours and 1 hour baking.  I am not fond of raisins in anything, but this is one way that is easy to tolerate them. 

I have started baking using a food scale and I am so loving it.  Using it today, set to grams, I was reminded of my grandmother's old green scale that she used with her baking.  I truly think it makes a difference. 

Ready for the oven

What pleased me the most was how this kugelhopf simply fell out of the pan after baking.  That would tell me that the pan had been used many times and was well seasoned.  Now my imagination will go wild as I think about who, when and where.  I love mysteries.

The next time, I will reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and watch it carefully to see if it is baking correctly.  Ovens vary a lot and I have found that most baking recipe are simply a guide and you need to check frequently to see what is working for you.

Okay, I am totally pleased.  This kugelhopf turned out perfect!!  It is soft, fluffy and cake-like and I know our B&B hostess had these frozen for her breakfasts, so I am quite sure they will freeze easily.  The Trout said he thought a touch of orange zest would be nice and I did read some recipes that had this added ingredient.  I will definitely make this again even though, from start to finish, it was a 6 hour production.  To all my Alsatian friends and family, this treat is for you.  I wish I could share with everyone. 


  1. What a great find Susan. How nice that you received it for Mother's day. So nice to visit with you the other day. Let's do it again soon.

  2. I would suggest that Schnitzel hit another home run with this effort - totally moist and flavorful - I wouldn't trade hers for any I remember in the Alsace altho darn good there too!

    Not very diet helpful but I might have a generous slice for breakfast with a bit of bacon and scrambled eggs for a well balanced start to the day!

    thanks my dear!! (and Angie for the gift!)

  3. That's a beautiful mold and a gorgeous cake! It looks so light and fluffy. So glad you were able to find what you were looking for. And I guess you could use it for jello, too, right? ;)

  4. Susan, can you hear my hands clapping? I can't wait to try this recipe. A kugelhopf is a thing of beauty and I'm always looking for a good recipe. I'm already missing French pastries and bread. Ha..ha...jello mold. We know better. What a great find.

  5. What a great find and wht a sweet daughter! Your bread looks amazing & I'd lik a slice with a cup of coffee!

    Nice compliments from the Trout too! ;)

  6. And, I am totally pleased with this post... all my favorite things... adventures with a beloved child... mission accomplished... AND a wonderful treat in the end!! It is beautiful, too! Yep, this just makes me smile! blessings ~ tanna

  7. Finally locating the pan in the least likely place is proof that it was destined to be yours. No doubt you are enjoying it.


  8. I have a kuegelhopf form too - bought when we lived across the Rhine from Strasbourg. There is nothing like this treat, fresh made, with coffee.
    That pan was just waiting for you!

  9. My mother used to make these and they are delicious. And your looks especially beautiful, Susan.

  10. How fun Susan to find such a treasure! I love great finds like this and your cake is so pretty! Certainly wouldn't be the same in a bundt pan! Now I'll be on the lookout for one of those but I'm sure they're scarce as hen's teeth! I think that one was just meant for you!

  11. The finished product looks delicious and what a great find. I hope they didn't raise the price when they discovered it wasn't just a jello mold :-)

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  13. Great find! The cake turned out beautifully and looks delicious.

  14. What a fantastic score! Your cake looks wonderful!!!

  15. Such a lovely mold! It was meant for you, Susan, and this excellent recipe. And what a wonderful daughter you have!

  16. I've seen molds like that in thrift stores and always assumed they were jello molds, now I know! I have to go get one to try this cake, it's spectacular!

  17. Oh Susan....fortune smiled the day you found this mold. Good for you! And you put it to good use immediately. This kugelhopf looks perfect. The time spent is well worth it!

  18. Loved reading Trout's comment Susan. Wow...what a find, I agree with all your readers, this cake mold was meant for you!!!! You guys should open a bakery here in Philipsburg ... you'd be a huge success!!!! Just saying.....

  19. Hi Susan, When I saw the first part about your recipe for Kuglhupf I had to read it fully and then respond. That bread confection is found everywhere in Alsace. I live only 1/2 hour from the Alsace and one sees those mold pans everywhere there as well, as you know. Some spell the word for them as you did and some as I have above. That was from my cookbook "Elsass" by Martina Meuth and Bernd Neuner-Duttehnofer. That is the Alemannisch spelling. Other books will be as you said. Your recipe looks great and I shall try it sometime. The recipe I mention from the above book is similar except that it rises two hours total. Great pictures of your freshly baked Kugelhopf.

  20. Oh, I hope your daughter paid jello price. This looks so wonderful.

  21. Lucky you in finding the pan, Susan! Your bread looks excellent! Wish I had a nice now to go with my cup of coffee!!!

  22. I like just sayin' Kugelhopf, so I'll definitely have to make this, though my mold of choice will have to be a large English pudding mold. I preserved a bunch of orange rinds in Grand Marnier, so I believe I'll have to add some to the batter. Thanks for sharing this recipe Susan. Tom