Nearly a year has passed since our visit in Alsace in our summer vacation. One of the souvenirs I brought home after two splendid weeks in france was a clay baking form for Kougelhopf. It is sitting on my kitchen cabinet since then, waiting for me to create a recipe for Kugelhopf.
This weekend I finally found the time to study different Kougelhopf recipes. But I did not like them, all of them use a lot of yeast and give the dough no time to rest properly to develop a good flavour. And I wanted a recipe which uses a preferment for better taste and longer shelf life! And so I decided to use my own interpreation with a sweet starter which helps to rise the buttery dough without using a lot of yeast.
The cake is more time consuming then other recipes you may find in the web, but it develops a fine complex flavour and light and feathery crumb. I imaging that even my alsacian great-grandmother would have enjoyed it!
Since some weeks I have some niece little brioche forms sitting in my cupboard which are only waiting for being filled with a new recipe. This long weekend was the perfect time to try the idea of baking Brioche with sweet starter. This strong, not tangy sourdough adds a niece complexity to the dough while the big amounts of egg and butter yield a soft and fluffy crumb.
But this big amount of butter makes it necessary to use a kitchen machine for kneading. When the butter is added, the dough loose all of its strength and becomes soft and smeary. So soft and smeary that I had my doubts if I could knead it to good consistency. But during intensive kneading with the kitchen machine the dough gains back its strength and after 15 min the gluten network was fully developed. But it is worth to find the patience to knead for such a long time because this will result in a fluffy crumb which can be torn into long fibres.
The only thing I will change the next time is that I would form the upper ball for the Brioche à tête a little bit smaller so that the head is easier to recognize.
To dye easter eggs with different natural dyes is always great fun for me. This year I had the idea to use plant juices instead of the time consuming boiling and filtering of plant extracts I used until now. Since I call an old juice centrifuge my own I bought some red cabbage ad red beet. That the red beet would yield a fair amount of juice I knew, but what would happen with the red cabbage? To my great joy the yield of cabbage juice was amazingly high, too.
I mixed the cabbage juice with baking soda or vinegar and let the hard boiled eggs sit in the solutions for some hours. When I take the eggs from the soution, the red beet juice has dyed them in deep red, while the cabbage juice with soda yielded green eggs. The eggs from the red cabbage juice with pink when I take them out but turned brightly blue during drying. I dipped one of the blue eggs shortly in the red beet juice and so I get a dusky pink egg as well.
To blog about todays lunch is not really necessary because I posted the recipe for Ofenschlupfer, the swabian kind of bread pudding, already more then two years ago. But on the other is this my favourite leftover bread recipe and I’m pretty sure that we are not the only ones who are left with more then one or two slices of leftover bread after the holidays. I collected a slice Pandoro and some leftover New years pretzel for this, but old buns are although great for this.
I cut everything into thin slices, put it in a casserole and soaked it with a mixture of milk, egg and sugar. After baking for 45 minutes I had a great meal without a lot of hassle, something that is perfect when I still have to struggle with my lingering cold!
I love to test different natural dyes for Easter eggs. And so I try each year different dyes which I extract from plants and spices.
This year I decided to use tumeric, red cabbage and red beets. I started to collect peels from red beets when cooking already some weeks ago and keep them in the freezer until now. With the red cabbage I use the fact that the anthocyanin which gave the colour to the leaves is pH sensitive and change colour depending on the pH. A high pH gave a green-blue colour, while a low pH change the colour to red.
I used the red cabbage dye at a neutral pH for staining dark blue-green eggs, while increasing the pH with soda leads to light green eggs. The most suprising fact is that the red solution which had a low pH because of the vinegar resulted in bright blue egg. I never expected such a bright colour because I used brown eggs. Continue reading