The Fresh Loaf

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So we were too impatient to ice it properly but...

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RiverWalker's picture

So we were too impatient to ice it properly but...

So I'm Jewish, and from Nebraska. neither of those signals being a person with much experience in the whole "marti gras" thing, and combined, even less so.

but my fiancee, despite not being christian either, is very much into the craziness of marti gras.  and she likes this "King Cake" thing.  I look it up. a dozen recipes, mostly having some substantial variant, and none looking that reliable to me. 

so I go "hey, would it be ok if I not follow any of the recipes I'm seeing, follow the spirit of them, and what I've read in the books and so on, and see what I get?" "sure, that sounds good"

I'm reassured that most of the store bought ones aren't actually that spectacular, but its more of the doing it that is the thing. (as opposed to Gooey Butter Cake, which is epic-ally wonderful.  she made one, her first, for thanksgiving, gave it to my parents, and introduced the plague of Gooey butter cake to nebraska)

so, I contrive a general working theory, and put it into motion.

after like 8 hours (~1hr sponge ferment, mixing, ~3 hours bulk rise, ~1.5hr proof, ~25 minutes cooking, and then cooling), and:

~4-6C flour total, I think... (1c AP, 5T KAF WW, the rest "better for bread" flour)

5 eggs (1 for wash, 4 in dough)

2 sticks butter

4t yeast.

1/2t Nutmeg

1/2C Sugar

1T Buttermilk Powder

1/4c Milk

6T Water

~1 1/2t Salt

heres the result.

tastes pretty good. both of us can see where a bit of lemon that I saw in some recipes would fit in, and/or some sort of filling.

it came out rather large too, about 15.5"x9.5"x2"

she says its the largest, and fluffiest King Cake shes ever seen, and probably the best shes tasted, so... Score!


(technique-wise for those who might want to copy what I did:

2t Yeast, ~5T WW flour, and about half a cup of bread flour, all the milk, water, buttermilk powder as a sponge, to ferment probably an hour or so. not sure if this actually made much difference, but not planning on trying without it to see.

mixing together a cup of Flour(I don't remember which it was, and honestly I don't think the AP mixing in there was worth the bother) the sugar, the rest of the yeast, the nutmeg, the salt, and stirring it all together.

beat the eggs lightly, added them to the sponge, mixing a bit, then adding the above mixed dry ingredients, and mixed that as much as possible. added half the butter, mostly melted,  then another C of flour, and then the rest of the butter, and then kept adding flour until it had the right texture.

it never had a very "clean" bready texture, always had a heavy, cookie-dough-ish weight to it, but with enough flour it definitely was kneadable like bread.

let it rest and autolyse(everyone seems to like that word a lot) or whatever, and rise some, kneaded a little more, and let it rise for a good 3 hours probably.  gently worked it out into a baguette like shape, let it rest about 10 minutes, worked it out a bit more and shaped it.  brushed with milk right away,hour and a half or so proof, brushed with an egg beaten with a little milk, then baked about 25 minutes @ 325, turning it twice.  

any suggestions, in general, on how this could be made better(besides things I already mentioned) or general commentary on technique?