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Dough, you're kuchen

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bread is fickle, isn't it? I have made Dan Lepard's Sour Cream Sandwich Bread so many times and the dough has always been perfectly behaved, but the last time I did, it played the temperamental prima donna.
    I used the same brand of ingredients that I always do, weighed everything to the gram/millilitre, did exactly as instructed in the recipe, and waited just as long for the alchemy to happen. The dough, however, had something else in mind. It was a little obstinate, less compliant, refusing to do as required.
    But wait, actually I did change something. I usually only make half the dough, but this time, I went with the full amount. Can it be that I have a problem handling larger quantities? I never have a problem eating a whole loaf on my own.
    Well, if I cannot cajole the dough into seeing things my way, I have to trick it into submission. Give it a different part to play. Take away its main role as the sandwich bread and put it into the supporting role as the base for a coffee cake.
    Worked like a charm. In fact, the sour cream dough even managed to steal some of the thunder away from the blueberries and sour strawberries that I used for the topping.
    Here's how it went down:
    I made the sour cream dough (as per Dan Lepard's recipe) by first mixing together sour cream and water. To that I added salt, caster sugar and yeast, and then mixed in plain white flour to form a rough ball*. The dough was then rested and kneaded (the quick 10-second knead), and left to rise.
    *This is where the dough started acting up. It was a little wet so I took the risk and added slightly more flour but it just wouldn't budge. It remained wet and I could only handle it with a plastic dough scraper. So I let the dough rest until it had doubled in size, then spread half of it into a greased and floured 30cm x 10cm tin and set it aside for 10 minutes. I refrigerated the other half.
    After resting, the dough was brushed with beaten egg and topped with chopped strawberries and whole blueberries. I made a crumble (Nigella Lawson's recipe) with self-raising flour, ground almonds, ground cinnamon, unsalted butter, caster sugar, brown sugar crystals, and flaked almonds, and spread half of that on top of the berries, baked it at 180°C for about 40 minutes until the base was cooked (main picture above). 
Apple-passion fruit crumble kuchen
    The next day, I used the other half of the dough for an apple-passion fruit version. Instead of brushing the dough with egg, I spread it with a thick layer of apricot jam and topped that with one diced green apple and the pulp of a large passionfruit. The other half of the crumble was used but with an extra sprinkling of sliced almonds.
    I baked this kuchen for longer, just under an hour, and the topping was crispier, toastier and the jam became nicely sticky. I preferred this to the berry kuchen. Perhaps if the strawberries had been sweeter, and I should have used jam for that one too.  Apple and passion fruit are a good combination.
    I wouldn't serve this as a dessert; it's a snack for elevenses or teatime. For the past two mornings, I had a sufficiently large slab with my cup of coffee for breakfast. It made my day.


  1. Oh this kuchen looks delicious! definitely worth the effort, despite the initial failure:)


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