Kugelhopf (also called Kugelhupf, Gugelhupf) is a sweet and light bread with a cake-like texture. It also contains raisins and almonds and is somewhat like a brioche though not as rich. Some people refer to it as a yeasted cake, but I feel that this is definitely a bread even though it has a cake like texture.
The Kugelhopf is supposed to have its origins in Austria or the Alsace region of France though Germany, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina also make variations of the Kugelhopf.
There are special pans for making Kugelhopf which resemble bundt pans, except that they are deeper and fluted making the baked Kugelhopf look like a turban with intricate folds. These pans are also sometimes known as a Turk’s-head mould and some even have depressions in the bottom which can be filled with almonds.
In fact, one story suggests that this bread originated in Vienna where bakers made it to celebrate the Hapsburg forces defeated Turk invaders at the city gates!
There is also a story that Marie Antoinette brought it from Austria when she married Louis XVI of France.
While the origins of the Kugelhopf are still under dispute, there can be no doubt that this bread is absolutely wonderful. At least we definitely think so.
While I don’t have a fluted pan, I do have a bundt pan and that’s what I used to make my Kugelhopf. The recipe I adapted was David Lebovitz’s Kugelhof using Nick Malgieri’s “Gugelhof” from his book, A Baker’s Tour.
Many recipes for Kugelhopf suggest lining the fluted/ bundt pan with sliced almonds before putting the dough in it. They also suggest dusting powdered sugar over the baked bread before serving. This recipe calls for chopped almonds in the dough and brushing a sugar glaze on the baked bread.