This is the best Kugelhopf I have eaten after having made several ones from scratch. Actually, Dorie Greenspan's Kugelhopf recipe is the best according to my humble opinion. But the softer and moister texture of this semihomemade Kugelhopf coupled with the significant reduction in the amount of time it takes to prepare, and the longer lasting soft texture, makes this kugelhopf even better. It is like eating a rich brioche, and, unless you talk, no one will know you cheated a bit. O). Usually, Kugelhopfs are said to be best eaten on the same day because they get a bit dry. Of course, a few seconds in the microwave can restore the "first day freshness," or you can even toast it. But you might not even need to do so on the second day of eating this kugelhopf. Serve it for a brunch or afternoon tea/coffee. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in ifood.tv —Regine
16 oz Pillsbury Specialty Mix Hot Roll Mix
Warm (not hot) water ideally at 105-115F
Warm (not hot) Whole Milk ideally at 105-115F
Unsalted Butter (8 tbsp or 4 oz), room temperature (soft)
Pure vanilla extract
Grated Orange Zest
Large eggs, room temperature
Unsalted Butter, melted
In This Recipe
Microwave raisins in 4 tbsp rum for about 20 seconds. Let raisins sit in rum for at least 1/2 hour. Drain prior to using.
Bring milk to a quick boil, and then let cool till it reaches 105F-115F. You don't want it to be hotter because hot temperatures can kill the yeast. As to why the milk must be boiled first, I researched it and found out that it is best for fresh milk to be scalded so that it can kill an enzyme that otherwise can cause a softening of the dough and negatively impact the finished product.
In small bowl, dissolve yeast from hot roll mix in warm water.
I like to carefully microwave water for a few seconds and i will actually even use a thermometer to make sure it is at 105F-115F. But if you do not have one, it is better to have cooler water than water that is too hot because it can kill the yeast.
In large bowl of a standing electrical cake mixer, cream butter, granulated sugar, orange zest, and vanilla. While doing so, carefully microwave milk for a few seconds like you did the water. Ideally it should be at 105F-115F. Beat in eggs one at a time.
Turn off mixer and stir in that order the milk, flour and yeast. Start mixing manually to avoid splashes, then beat at medium high speed for 10 minutes. You want dough to be smooth and start pulling from the sides. I say it is better to overbeat than underbeat, so don't skimp on the 10 minutes.
Cover with a lightly moist towel. Microwave 2 cup water in a measuring cup or something that is not too large, until it starts boiling. Then push cup in a corner inside microwave and place bowl. Close microwave and avoid opening. The ideal recipe to rise dough is 85F but doing that trick with the microwave helps. Recipe says that dough should double in 30 minutes but it took me at least 1-1 1/2 hr. But feel free to check after 30 minutes. You can also remove bowl and warm/boil water again, and place bowl back in microwave.
Stir down to flatten the dough and get rid of bubbles. Stir in the raisins.
Spoon into a buttered Kugelhopf pan (or 10-12 cup bundt pan). See NOTES before proceeding with the next steps.
Cover; let rise until doubled, using same microwave trick Recipe says it may take 30 minute. But it may take longer based on the temperature.
Bake in preheated 375F oven for 35 minutes or until nicely browned. I say not to bake it less than 35 minutes.
Cool in pan 5 to 10 minutes. Loosen edges; invert onto serving plate.
Brush with the 1/4 cup melted butter and sprinkle with the 1/4 cup sugar. Or, if you prefer, skip the butter and sugar and just dust with powdered sugar.
NOTE: If you are rushed, after you have placed dough in pan, simply cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake it, take pan out and to let the dough stand outside at room temperature until it's doubled in size, then bake as directed. I recommend you use microwave trick explained above.