Updated: Nov 12, 2019
In the region of Poland where I am from, kuch is the name given to light yeasted cake. It probably comes from German kuchen - cake. This yeasted, sweet bread is prepared in similar way to cakes. Eggs are beaten with sugar, sifted flour is added in portions to beaten eggs, together with proofed yeast. Dough hydration is high - 75-80%, only small amount of butter and sugar is used. All sweetness comes from streusel. The dough is retarded in the fridge for 3-4 hours for easier shaping and for all flavours to blend in. This kuch version is spiced with cardamom and scented with orange blossom water. Big bonus of this bake is that it keeps fresh for about 3-4 days (due to yeast proofing/releasing starch, dough handling and overall recipe ratios) making it a great snack cake to go with your morning cuppa. Eat on its own or serve it with butter or a dollop of whipped cream and jam.
I usually don't have preference when it comes to instant dry or bulk yeast but in this bake for best result use active bulk dry yeast. On instant dry yeast the cake will bake nicely too - but you will definitely notice a difference using fresh bulk! In this bake I'm using round, 23cm, deep form (8-10cm high). The rolls will proof and puff up nicely so best is to use tall form or wider, 26cm or 28cm round form. Otherwise the dough may overflow. When baked, few hours after cooling, cover this sweet bread with cake stand cover or wrap in dry kitchen towel.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Tin: 23cm round (8-10cm tall) or 26-28cm round
Time: 30min prep + 1hr 15min (1st proof) + 3-4hrs (refrigerate - part of bulk proof) + 1hr 20min (shape and 2nd proof) + 45min baking
For yeast proofing:
- 175ml water
- 1 tsp (5g) sugar
- 3 Tbsps (30g) all purpose flour
- 2 tsps (6g) active dry yeast or 20g active bulk dry yeast
For the dough:
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 Tbsps (30g) sugar
- 2 Tbsps (30) vanilla sugar - use regular sugar if you don't have access to vanilla sugar (or rub seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod into sugar)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 450g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 2/3 tsp orange blossom water
- 175ml full-fat milk, warm (38C)
- 70g unsalted butter, cold and grated (left at room temperature for 10 min before adding to the dough)
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 tsp milk
- 70g all purpose or cake flour
- 55g caster sugar or confectioners' sugar
- 15g vanilla sugar (or substitute with white or light brown sugar)
- 70g unsalted butter, cold and grated
1. Proof the yeast: In a small pot mix water with sugar and flour. Warm up to 60-70C (hot but not boiling) stirring and making sure sugar and flour are fully dissolved. When hot, remove from the heat and let cool to 38C. Add yeast, stir, cover with dry kitchen towel and move to warm place for 15 minutes. After that time, the mixture should start bubbling up. If it doesn't - start again (the temperature might have been too low/too high, check bbe date on yeast).
2. Prepare the dough: When the yeast is proofing, in your main mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugars until pale and fluffy (4-5 minutes), add salt and orange blossom water. Sift flour with cardamom. Add half of sifted flour and proofed yeast to fluffy eggs and knead (or mix with dough hook attachment on medium speed) for 2 minutes. Then, add warm milk and the remaining flour and knead for 4-5 minutes (lowest speed, if using stand mixer). Cover the dough with dry kitchen towel and let rest for 20-30 minutes. After that time, knead in pliable butter (about 5 minutes, low speed). When done, cover the dough with cling film or dry kitchen towel and let rest in warm place for 1 hour. In that hour degas the dough twice (30min into rest and then at 60min, then leave for 15min at room temperature before retarding/refrigerating). When ready, cover the bowl tightly with cling film and refrigerate the dough for 3-4 hours.
3. Shape: When ready, lightly dust work surface with flour and knead gently for few seconds. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and form little rolls, sealing each roll at the bottom. The rolls' shape won't be ideal as the dough is still a little bit sticky (but don't add more flour). Brush baking tin with butter and place rolls into the baking tin, sealed side down. Cover with dry kitchen towel and let proof in a warm place (21-23C) for 1hr 15 min. The rolls should double in volume (about 2.5 initial volume) during that time. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced) some 15 minutes before baking.
4. Prepare streusel: Mix flour with sugars, rub cold butter into the mixture until coarse crumble is formed.
5. Bake: Just before baking, gently brush kuch with egg wash and cover with the streusel. Bake at 180C (160C fan forced) for 45 minutes. When baked, take out from the oven and let rest for 1 hour before serving. Kuch may deflate some 1-2cm when cooling (handle gently, just remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature, this cake does not like draughts and rapid cooling).
Jazz it up:
1. Fruit - this is the question we are asked quite frequently when you are baking our yeasted recipes. We love this cake on its own - with streusel only. However, light fruit (like blueberries, cherries, gooseberries) go lovely with it too. Let the cake go through the final proof and after brushing with egg wash gently sprinkle with fruit (don't press) and then cover with streusel. The cake with fruit is best enjoyed on day 1 or 2. If you are looking to bake with wet fruit (like strawberries, raspberries) or heavier fruit (plums) - check out our recipe for Buchty (Buchteln) - gently place fruit of your choice on top of rolls, without pressing (just before baking) and cover with streusel topping.