Here we are on another Tuesday, I’m not sure where the last week went.  I was really looking forward to having the day off of work today and being able to bake the TWD assignment actually on Tuesday.  It turns out that I haven’t truly had the day off (the ability to work from home is really only a benefit when it doesn’t interfer with time off!) and because of the long wait times involved in this week’s assignment I actually started working on it last night.  Oh well, can’t have everything I suppose.  Without further ado, this week’s TWD assignment is Kugelhopf (please don’t ask me to pronounce that!) selected by Yolanda of The All-Purpose Girl.

One thing I did like about waiting a couple more days to begin working on this recipe was the opportunity to learn from my fellow TWD-ers’ experiences.  The idiom goes “forewarned is forearmed” and I wish it were true in this case, but sadly it just isn’t.  The many reports of runny dough and dough that just never rose properly did not in any way save me from experiencing the exact same thing.  I did have high hopes of avoiding the “bland” flavor reported by several TWD-ers, but alas, that was not to be either…

“Prince Charming” had the (his) camera with him at work last night, so I do not have my usual play by play photos for this one, but I’m not sure that you’ll miss them.

I decided to stick with the raisins called for by the recipe but chose to also add coarsely chopped walnuts.  In an effort to infuse additional flavor into the finished product I steeped the raisins in a mixture of orange juice, water, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves instead of just water.  I also candied the walnuts with butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  I have to say that the walnuts were delicious – I couldn’t help snacking on them right out of the pan.

Since I had read several reports of the dough not rising properly I made sure I was using the newest yeast I had (doesn’t expire until sometime in 2010) and I was very careful with the temperature of the milk.  The yeast looked like it bloomed nicely in the warm milk so I continued on.  Just like so many others, the resultant “dough” (and I use that term loosely) was thin and runny and more like a batter.  It did rise on the counter, but it never did rise in the refrigerator.

This is what the dough looked like straight out of the refrigerator this morning.

I did not have a kugelhopf pan, so I placed the dough in a generously buttered bundt pan.  At this point the dough was still very sticky and gooey, but not quite as runny as last night.

After about 3 hours this is as far as the dough rose.  If the yeast had been bad, or I had killed it, I wouldn’t have gotten any rise at all, but this was a little disappointing based on the expectations Dorie set in her recipe.   I still had some hope at this point since Dorie says the cake will rise in the oven – unfortunately for me, that didn’t happen.  Where you see the dough on the side of the pan in this picture is exactly where it remained throughout baking.

Things did not get any better from that point.  The finished Kugelhopf did not release cleanly from the pan.  Since it looked a little fragile I decided not to brush it with the melted butter, instead I used a baster to drizzle the melted butter slowly over the cake (which soaked it up so completely that I had barely a few drops of butter on the pan) and then sprinkled it with sugar.  The finished product was short, squat, and darker than I would like (I could have avoided that by paying closer attention during baking).

After it cooled to room temperature I cut a couple slices for “Prince Charming” and I to share and sprinkled them with powdered sugar (large blobs are the unfortunate result of my sifter being dirty and me too lazy to clean it).  The dark area you see at the top is the concentration of raisins and nuts that sank to the bottom of the too loose dough during the rising and baking.  The texture was crumbly and a bit dry despite being soaked with butter.  The flavor – virtually non-existent with the exception of the raisins and nuts.  I’m afraid I have to claim this as my first disappointment from Dorie’s book.

Despite my, shall we say, less than positive experience with this recipe I would still like to send a big thank you to Yolanda for choosing it.  I very much appreciate the experience of making this, and if it were not quite so time consuming I might be tempted to try again just to see if I can conquer it (or maybe if it were more chocolaty).

For those of you feeling adventurous, you can find this recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours on pages 61-63 or on  The All-Purpose Girl.