The last time I blogged about this bread was six years ago, and it was the laziest post I think I've ever written.
Here it is in all its glory:
So, as some of you know, Mr. Bread Maiden and I are the proud owners of Jennifer McLagan's Fat cookbook, and we've been working our way through it. Perhaps the most interesting recipe we've tried so far is what I made yesterday, kugelhopf au lard. I've been on this fruit bread kick lately, so you might be asking why the sudden shift to savory. Well, this bread is actually very similar to the stollen. It uses mostly the same ingredients, in the same order, except at the point where one would add fruit to the stollen, you add instead bacon, shallots and sage.
The reason this recipe jumped out at me initially was the title. This dish comes from the Alsace region, and the German-French fusion could not be more obvious. The dough is very German, with its eggs and milk, but the french added shallots and sage and made it lighter. Brilliant.
Because yesterday I was busy making three recipes at a time, I didn't get to take as many pictures or pictures of every step. So until I make another one, these will have to suffice.
The milk and eggs in this recipe make the dough so wonderfully light (until you add the grease and bacon). The dough was so oily it was hard to manage. But it rose beautifully both times.
That's it! That's the whole thing! I didn't have a chance to take pictures, the end.
Obviously I will be taking another crack at it. Because Kugelhopf au lard is a fantastic recipe and it deserves to be shared with the world.
You will need (for four loaves):
8 cups (1000 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups (500ml) milk, warm
300 g butter, softened plus another tablespoon or so to butter a large bowl and four bread pans
2 shallots, diced finely
2 tablespoons thyme or sage
1 pack of bacon, thick-cut
4 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
Here's a picture of the ingredients in mise en place, also because in the first shot I forgot to show the bacon!
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), whisk together the flour, salt and thyme. The original recipe calls for fresh sage, but I didn't have it so I used dried thyme.
2. Warm the milk and add your yeast and sugar to one cup of it. Let it get all frothy. If it doesn't get frothy, throw it out and start over. Either your yeast is bad or the milk is too hot. If you can't stick your finger in the milk comfortably, it's too hot.
3. When your yeast mixture is frothy, add it to the flour, salt and thyme. Add the rest of the milk too.
4. Now add the eggs, one at a time. Your dough should be really, really wet and sticky.
5. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium for 10 minutes. At this point, my dough looked more like batter and it was super sticky. Clearly, the dough hook wasn't doing it. And given the high hydration of this dough I was going to have trouble kneading it. Problem was, the dough also has a lot of yeast, so it was going to rise quickly. I decided to use my secret weapon for wet doughs: the stretch and fold technique.
6. I buttered a very large bowl and removed the dough from the mixing bowl into the large buttered bowl. With clean dry hands, I took one side of the dough and stretched it gently, then folded it on top. This step takes the squiggly gluten strands that have been created from the interaction of flour and water and stretches them out, so they start to provide a structure for the dough. Do four stretches, rotating the bowl each time so you are stretching out and folding over a different corner.
Here's a video of the process:
7. In the meantime, butter your bread pans.
9. At the end of 1.5 hours, your dough should look like this:
11. At the end of this rest, roll the dough up into a Swiss-roll shape and place them into buttered bread pans, seam side down. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cover the loaves with saran wrap and let them rise for 45-60 minutes.
They taste like a marriage of biscuits and challah. They are seriously so good. Try making a BLT with them sometime. Or french toast!
These are going to be Christmas presents! Shhh, don't tell anyone.