Monday, July 22, 2013

Estonian Kringel

I saw this beautiful masterpiece online and thought that I had to attempt making it. I didn't have all the ingredients, but I'm up for experimenting. I cannot take credit for this recipe. I adapted it from which has a great and beautiful photo tutorial on how to braid the kringel. The directions are in Estonian and English, and I wonder if in the English version directions were left out. So I wrote my version of her directions with my alterations and insight about baking from books and working in the bakery in Chicago (Check out Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food).

300 g flour (2 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lukewarm water (+2 tbsps water)*
1/4 cup plain yogurt
.25 oz active dry yeast
30 g melted butter (1/8 cup)
1 egg yolk
1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp divided

50 g melted butter (1/4 cup) + 1 tbsp divided
5 tbsp sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (this was a little too much, I suggest 1/2 tsp)

Finished product. I need to work on the baking and braiding technique.
  • Mix the yeast and 1/2 tbsp sugar with the lukewarm water and let it sit a few minutes while the yeast bubbles and foams up, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the yogurt, egg yolk, and the melted butter to the yeast mixture and stir well.
  • Mix together the flour and the salt, to the wet ingredients. (I had to add about 2 tbsp extra water at this time because it wasn't picking up all of the flour)* then knead the dough for about 5 minutes. 
  • Shape it into a ball, and place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm space and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F**. Dust your work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a long rectangle to about the thickness of 1cm.
  • The original recipe said to "Spread the melted butter across all of the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture." Make sure to leave enough of the sugar mixture to sprinkle on top. By looking at the photos though it looks like she might have made a paste out of just softened butter, sugar and cinnamon. The next time I do it, I'd like to try to do it this way to see what happens. 
  • Roll up the dough and using a knife, cut the log in half length-wise. I started with a serrated knife because I didn't want to mash the dough, but I changed to a sharp paring knife and took long cuts into the dough.
  • Twist the two halves together, keeping the open layers exposed Check out this great photo tutorial ( After braiding it put in a round and tuck in the edges. Transfer the prepared dough to a baking tray (buttered or covered with cookie sheet).
  • Top the kringel with the remaining 1 tbsp butter and sprinkle some of the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg mixture on top. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  • I didn't do this, but you can "Top with icing sugar mixed with water if you want, just sprinkle some sugar, or eat it like this, because it’s delicious, i’m telling you ! :)"
  • Eat warm and Enjoy!

**I did the sugar test to see if my oven ran hot or cold so this temp had to be changed for my oven since it runs about 25 degrees hot. To test your oven's temperature, heat your oven to 350˚ and put in about 1 tbsp sugar in an oven safe bowl or foil. Check the sugar in 15 minutes (even an hour) it should still be powdered. It might turn slightly brown but it's still a powder and shouldn't melt. If it does melt then it's calibrated too hot.  Next turn up you oven to 375˚ and place about 1 tbsp sugar in the oven again. In 15 minutes or so the sugar should melt. If it doesn't it's calibrated too cool.  Sugar melts at 367˚ and looks like glass. So it can give you a rough estimate of how your oven is calibrated. You can now change the oven temperature depending on your oven. An oven thermometer works as well, but I don't have one.

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