Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Recently yeast cakes have been popular among myself and my friends. Things like a Zupfgugelhupf or a Hefezopf were made, enjoyed and made again. After joining the fun last week and making my own Zupfgugelhupf, I went for the Hefezopf today. Where the name means you’re making a yeast braid.

So obviously you need some yeast dough first. Making that is fun – I learned it from my grandma many years back. But checking the recipe in a cookbook I was shocked. Usually your grandma is supposed to be the person who spoils you most and feeds your sweet teeth with all the unhealthy things you can get hold of. But reading the recipes in the cookbook by Bocuse suggested that my grandma was very harmless in comparison to those crazy froggies.

Yeast dough before raising with a cross cut into it

Using flour and butter in equal amounts gives the way to yummy unhealthiness. And the six eggs going in the dough for a pound of flour suggest that a lack of cholesterol is not what I’ll die from. All that sounds like overdoing it, but obviously I had to give it a try. Perhaps the hint of dryness that you often find in yeast cakes can be avoided by trebling the amount of calories. It’s so simple!

The French also seem to use much less or different yeast than we have here in Germany. Going strictly by the recipe would have had me let the dough raise for six hours, then work it a little and give it another five hours or so. Using the standard yeast and quantities we have in Germany, you go through both cycles in less than two hours. If I had been patient, I suppose I could have just used less yeast which, in turn, might have made the taste a little less yeasty. But that’d mean the whole process would take pretty much all day.

Long Rolls of yeast dough

The fun thing about making a yeast braid is that you split the dough in thirds at the end, make a long roll out of each one and then form a braid. Looks pretty and is a nice real-world alternative to braiding to braided monoidal categories or other mathematical objects – no fear, I could resist trying to form mathematical relations in cake!

To finish things off nicely, the braided dough is covered with a bit of egg. This gives its outside a nice and shiny finish. I may have applied that a bit too thinly, but there we go a nice Hefezopf, which caused the flat to have a yummy yeast cake smell…

Closeup of the Hefezopf

This one isn’t very sweet because I only used very little sugar. So it can easily be enjoyed with butter or other things. See more photos on Flickr.

June 19, 2006, 0:02

Tagged as cake, food, yeast dough.


Comment by Dave2: User icon

I can almost smell it!

How much butter is in that total? 50-50 with the flour?!?? Yikes. Bet it tastes good though!

June 19, 2006, 3:47

Comment by Suzette: User icon

Ah, that looks SO good! We’re now planning when to make it… I’m thinking my chef sister might have that Bocuse book - I’ll have to track it down from somewhere. Thanks for the inspiration!

June 19, 2006, 10:29

Comment by ssp: User icon

It’s really just slightly sweet yeast dough in an interesting shape Suzette. I’m sure you can just go ahead and do it.

Dave: Yes the recipe lists 500g of flour and 500g of butter. Crazy! I’ve seen others with just half the butter and ended up somewhere between both in my baking anyway as I ran out of butter…

June 19, 2006, 11:04

Comment by d.w.: User icon

“I ran out of butter…”

I suspect your coronary arteries breathed a sigh of relief. ;)

Looks yummy, though.

June 19, 2006, 18:04

Comment by Kralle Krawinkel: User icon

I am eating a delicious Hefezopf right now. Incredible!!!

May 11, 2009, 13:24

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