For the biga:
Flour, 2 Cup
Yeast, 1 tsp
Water, 2 Cup
for the dough:
Eggs, 3 Unit small ones
Flour, 1 + 1/2 Cup
Sugar, 3 Cup (sounds like a lot, it is not)
Olive oil, 3 tbsp or melted butter
Cranberies, 1 Cup dried
180 °C ( 356 °F )
Some liquor, to soak the cranberries
Caster sugar, for dusting the cake
Materials and Methods
I first had this cake in Sausburg in Austria (the Photo is from that time) and I became obsessed (no great news there) so I had to try to make it .
At first it looked like a regular Marble cake but the taste was a little bit off , slightly more sour and complex, after some short research I found that the Kugelhopf is made with yeast instead of baking powder. Now I was smiling. That was a challenge.
There are other “cakes” (in a broad meaning) that are also made with live yeast, like Panettone and Columbas, but there is where the similarities end. Panetone and Columba are more sweet breads not quite as tender as the Kugelhopf that I had.
To get the tender and softness that I wanted I knew that I had that work the dough as little as possible.
So I went to a 2 stage method: the biga and the dough
Biga is a semi liquid base where your yeast first grows.
Normally I do a 1:1 ratio of water and flour (by weight) this time I just did a little guesstimation.
Mix the water, flour and yeast and let it rest covered with a cloth on a warm place for at least 4 hours (until the surface is full of bubbles). I just left mine at home and went out.
While you wait for it leave the dried cranberries soaking on some strong liquor.. I used vodka, rum is also nice.
The dough comes together
Use a wire whisk to blend the eggs in the biga, one at a time. I had some organic eggs that were so small so I used 3. 2 large ones would do nicely.
Add one at a time: the oil, the sugar, the rest of the flour and finally drain and add the cranberries. Be very careful to not overbeat.
Now let it rest covered with a kitchen towel on a warm place for 1 to 2 hours (until it has doubled in volume).
Because it is a very slow and difficult rise, the extra sugar will help.
Transfer to a well buttered bundt cake pan and start the oven
Wait another 20 minutes before baking for a last rise.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes checking every 5 mins after 25 with a toothpick until it comes out clean
Remember the well buttered part? well I didn’t.
The texture of the dough was perfect. Tenderness and taste was just what I wanted. Mental Note: don’t trust buttering sprays and use my own hands.
Not so much fail in the end
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