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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Culinary School - Session 29: Brioche Nanterre, Kugelhopf, Blueberry Muffins and Croissants

Culinary School: Session 29 (10.22.14)

Brioche Nanterre, Kugelhopf, Blueberry Muffins and Croissants

It puts the batter in the loaf pan...

Today was primarily about pan-molded breads: breads made from doughs (or one could argue batters) that are liquid in consistency and which cannot be formed and baked as free-standing loaves. The iconic Blueberry Muffin is a perfect example.

Pan-molding is also used to force a bread to assume a particular shape, as with Kugelhopf and its extremely distinctive "hood" or bundt-pan shape.

Despite the more liquid consistency of these doughs, it is still possible to vary the gluten development and ultimate texture of the bread. For instance, the Kugelhopf uses a sponge, and the final dough is mixed until a well-developed gluten structure is visible. The batter for the Blueberry Muffins, however, is barely stirred. In this case, gluten is the enemy.

Blueberry Muffin

Live and learn...

Late last week, the class mixed up some Challah dough and formed loaves weaving six-stranded braids. Given time pressure, the loaves were frozen for later baking. It's something we have to do from time to time, but rarely does it affect the end product.

This would appear to be one of those rare occasions! It seems that the freezing process is rough on the shape of the Challah. Nearly all of the distinctive shape of the braid was lost, a sign that the individual stands of bread had fused together. 

Certainly a lesson for the future!

...but check out that internal crumb. There's no denying that the freezing process did little to affect the  taste and texture of the bread itself.


- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (10.22.14):
  • Flour: 12,640g
  • Eggs: 5,450g (109x)
  • Sugar: 6,010g
  • Butter: 7,765g
  • Milk/Cream: 6,105g

- The Recipes -


Brioche Nanterre

A brioche loaf made of individually rolled balls of brioche. The balls of dough are lined in a standard tin where they fuse together into a single loaf as they proof and bake.

Focus Techniques:
- Hand rolling individual balls of brioche dough to form the loaf.
- Egg washing the dough to develop a rich, brown outer crust.

Unbaked Brioche Nanterre

Baked Brioche Nanterre


Kugelhopf (Austrian Bowl Cake)

Also known as Gugelhupf, Kugelhopf is a yeast leaven cake baked in what Americans would recognize as a bundt pan. Common in Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Alsatian region, this pastry is flavored with raisins and almonds and is traditionally served as a coffee cake.

The cake gets its name from the distinctive shape. "Gugel" is the Middle High German word for hood, while "Hupfen" translates to "leap" or "hop", as the cake appears to leap from the pan.

Focus Techniques:
- Using a sponge to speed the fermentation process.
- Combining mixing techniques. The sugar, butter and eggs and mixed using the creaming method, as if this were a cake. The creamed ingredients are then combined with the sponge and kneaded to develop the gluten structure, as with a traditional bread. As you would expect, the result is a cake with a more bread-like consistency.
- Using a mold to bake the dough. Although some gluten is developed during the mixing process, it is not possible to form a free-standing loaf given the high fat and liquid content of the dough.

Almond-Lined Kugelhopf Mold

Liqueur-Soaked Raisins

Unmolded Kugelhopf Cake

Final Kugelhopf Cake

Final Kugelhopf Cake


Blueberry Muffins

It's a blueberry muffin. There's a muffin... and inside, there are blueberries. If this were a banana muffin, there would be bananas inside. But this is a blueberry muffin... so we used blueberries.

For more on muffins, check out this video.

Focus Techniques:
- Hand mixing the dough to keep gluten development to an absolute minimum. When the wet and dry ingredients are combined, it is important to make as few stirs as possible. When the blueberries are added at the end, they should be carefully folded into the dough. The final dough will not have a smooth consistency.
- Following the liquid-fat method. The butter for the recipe is melted before it is added with the wet ingredients. This makes it easier to combine the wet and dry ingredients by hand. 
- Portioning the dough into tins using a scoop. The scoop ensures standard sized portions. It also prevents deflation of the dough (the dough will begin to rise as soon as the baking powder is added, and any trapped air pockets should be preserved).

Blueberry Muffin Batter

Blueberry Muffins



The undisputed King of Viennoiserie: this buttery, flaky, crescent shaped marvel is the poster child for a proper breakfast. Made using a yeast-leavened dough (providing flavor and lift), the dough is laminated and folded to create multiple layers (one single-turn and one double-turn), combining the best characteristics of puff pastry and standard bread.

The Croissants will be formed and baked next class.  

Focus Techniques:
- Forming the Detrempe to develop a sufficiently strong initial gluten structure. The gluten structure should be strong enough so that the Beurrage does not mix into the dough during the Tourage process. However, the Detrempe should not be over-worked in the initial mixing as rolling the dough during the Tourage process will develop more gluten.
- Laminating and layering a leavened dough.
- Being careful not to over-chill the Paton between turns. If the butter becomes too hard, it may fracture during the rolling process and create inconsistent layers.
- Freezing a laminated dough for future use. Before putting any leavened dough into the freezer, it is important to flatten the product so the dough can freeze quickly. The fermentation process will continue until the dough reaches near freezing temperatures. When a Paton is placed in the freezer, the internal temperature falls from the outside in. If the Paton is too thick, the inside may continue to ferment long after the outside, which is not desirable. A wide, flat Paton will freeze more quickly and more evenly.

Take a look at the full syllabus

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