April 23, 2017

Savory Bacon-Onion Walnut Gugelhupf

I joined a wine club this past year.  Each month, a different member hosts and selects the wine.  My favorites are good people, good food, and good wine, so this has been a fun club. ;-)  For April, I was so excited to host and made a food pairing to go with each wine.  I wanted to choose a wine that I enjoyed and that was different, so I picked my my new favorite white wine -- Grüner Vetliner.

I first learned about Grüner Vetliner from a Williams-Sonoma wine club shipment.  I was excited to see an Austrian wine in the box as I always drawn to German and Austrian wines, since I'm half German and come from a family where we embrace our heritage. ;-)  I really enjoyed the light and refreshing flavor of this wine.  It was a pleasant surprise--it wasn't sweet at all, and it was a great dry wine.  Since then, I've been on the hunt for this wine.  It turns out that Grüner Vetliner has become the darling wine of more sommeliers.  I've seen it more in Denver, and I enjoyed it while in Austria during the fall.  It was even recommended at the French Laundry!

With hints of lime, lemon, and grapefruit and a touch of white pepper, this wine has become an alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.  The name translates to the "Green Wine of Veltlin."  Grüner means "green" in German, and Veltlin was an area in the lower Alps.  This has become the flagship wine of Austria as Austria tries to get back to stardom in the wine market.  Most of the varieties of this wine come from the Danube River area (specifically, Wachau, Kremstal, and Kamptal).  You can find versions with more of a spritz from the Weinviertel (Northeast lower area of Austria).  There are also California varieties of Grüner Vetliner, and I recently discovered a French version, too.

This is not an expensive wine, and it pairs so well with all foods because of its high acidity and fresh notes.  It does not require much time to age.  For my wine tasting night, since I picked an Austrian wine, I wanted to bring in food pairings from the region, too.  I had so much fun coming up with the menu and deciding on the pairings.

Here was my wine pairing menu:

  • Zocker Paragon Vineyard Grüner Veltliner 2014 (California) paired with an Herbed Ricotta and Asparagus Phyllo Tart
  • Loimer Grüner Veltliner  2015 (Austria) paired with an Savory Bacon-Walnut Gugelhupf with creme fraiche on the side 
  • Berger Grüner Veltliner 2015 (Austria) paired with Comte and Ham Wafers
  • Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Pinot Gris 2014 (Grüner Veltiner Blend from California) paired with Chicken Schnitzel on Homemade Mini Pretzel Bun
  • Grüner Veltliner Burgberg 2014 (Austria) paired with Spring Herb Spaetzel with Peas  
  • Salomon Undhof, Hochterrassen, Grüner Veltliner (Austria) paired with Blini with Smoked Salmon
Now, onto the recipe for today: a Savory Bacon-Walnut Gugelhupf.  A Gugelhupf is an old-fashioned yeast cake that was reportedly Emperor Franz Josepf I's favorite cake and was exported to Alsace through the French members of his court.  It originated in the Baden area of Germany which is in southwestern Germany.  There are also rumors that Marie Antoinette--who was Austrian by birth) and loved her cake--brought Gugelhupf to France.  Whatever the origin, I'm glad this cake exists!  It's made in a Bundt like pan.

The gugelhupf is a savory cake made with rye and wheat flour.  It's heartier than a regular bread and is studded with walnuts, bacon, and onions.  Um, yum.  To make this, I first cooked some bacon and then sautéed onions in the bacon grease. While the onions were sautéing, I toasted some chopped walnuts in the oven.  All of these ingredients get eventually added to the bread dough.  This smelled so good while baking!

In Classic German Baking, it was suggested as a "killer hors d'oeuvre" with a glass of white wine.  This was perfect for wine club!  This paired quite well with the wine, and everyone enjoyed it because it was so different.  The bacon and onion flavors were good with the dry, citrus flavor of the wine.  The rye and caraway seed definitely evoked the classic German flavors for everyone.

I'll be sharing more of the food recipes on the blog.  Enjoy!

Savory Gugelhupf 
Yields 1 cake

150 grams (1 1/2 cups) rye flour
350 grams all-purpose (2 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp.) of whole wheat flour
1 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
5 1/4 oz. diced bacon
1 medium diced onion
1 egg
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. sour cream or creme fraiche
1 tsp. ground caraway seeds
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. ground pepper
Butter, for greasing the pan

Creme Fraiche sauce, optional:
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. lemon zest

Preheat oven to 300ºF.  Toast walnuts for 15 minutes on a baking sheet.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium high heat, cook the diced bacon for 5 to 8 minutes, or until cooked. Remove from the pan and transfer to a medium bowl.  Leave the bacon grease in the pan and add the diced onion to the pan.  Cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until the onions are golden.  Remove from pan, and add to the bacon bowl.  Add the walnuts to the same bowl, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the egg, creme fraiche, caraway seeds, 1/4 cup water, salt, and pepper.  Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flours, yeast, and 1/4 cup water.  With the dough hook attachment, mix on medium-low speed.  As the mixture begins to form a shaggy dough, add the egg/creme fraiche mixture.  Mix until the mixture begins to form a thicker dough.  Once the mixture a dough, then add the bacon-onion mixture and knead until evenly dispersed.  Then, form the dough into a round ball and leave it in the bowl.

Cover with a towel and allow it to rise for an hour.  While the dough is rising, grease the baking pan with butter and set aside.  After an hour, pull the dough from the bowl and gently knead it once or twice.  Then, form the dough into a cylinder-like shape and place the dough into the prepared pan so that it lies evenly.  Press the ends of the cylinder together.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  After the dough has finished rising, place the pan into the oven and bake for one hour or until the loaf is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow it to cook on a baking rack for 10 minutes before turning upside down and removing the pan.

For the optional sauce, combine the creme fraiche, rosemary, and lemon zest together.

Allow the cake to cool for an hour before cutting it.  Serve with a dollop of the optional creme fraiche sauce, if desired.

Source: Classic German Baking for the cake, Das Cookbook for the Creme Fraiche Sauce


  1. Wow, I am really impressed by your wine pairing menu! This bread looks delicious!


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