Babka Like A Boss

Babka

Our take on this traditional twist bread—in chocolate, cinnamon, and pistachio—would make any Jewish grandmother proud. Use this basic babka recipe and add your filling of choice.

3.5 from 4 reviews
Babka Dough
 
Makes 2 (9x5-inch) loaves Use this basic babka recipe and add your filling of choice (recipes below)
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 6⅓ cups (792 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup warm whole milk (105°F to 110°F)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
  • Egg Wash:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Simple Syrup:
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. For dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, sugar, yeast, and zest. With mixer on low speed, add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat until mixture comes together, 2 to 3 minutes. (If the mixture remains too dry and crumbly, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.)
  2. With mixer on medium speed, add butter, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) at a time, letting each piece incorporate before adding the next. Add salt, beating just until combined, about 3 minutes. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until a smooth and elastic dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (If dough does not pull away from the bowl, add more flour, 1 tablespoon [8 grams] at a time.)
  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F) until doubled in size, 1½ to 2½ hours. After dough has risen, refrigerate for 30 minutes. Alternatively, the dough can be made one day in advance and the entire rise may take place in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. For egg wash: In a small bowl, lightly beat together egg and water.
  5. Spray 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray, and line with parchment paper.
  6. Divide dough in half. On a heavily floured surface, roll half of dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Brush edges of dough with egg wash. Spread with half of desired filling, leaving a 1-inch border on long sides of dough. Starting at one short side, roll up dough, jelly-roll style, and press edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise. Carefully twist dough pieces around each other, and place in prepared pan, cut sides up. Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough. Place prepared pans on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F) until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover with foil, and bake until a thermometer in center registers 190°F, about 35 minutes more.
  8. For simple syrup: In a small saucepan, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Pour simple syrup over warm loaves while still in pans. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

3.5 from 4 reviews
Chocolate Filling
 
Makes enough for 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate morsels
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (90 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅓ cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat, and whisk in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and salt. Let cool to room temperature before using.

3.5 from 4 reviews
Cinnamon-Pecan Filling
 
Makes enough for 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (454 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (24 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) grated fresh nutmeg
  • 1 cup (113 grams) finely chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg at medium speed until creamy, stopping to scrape sides of bowl, 3 to 4 minutes. Fold in pecans.

3.5 from 4 reviews
Pistachio Filling
 
Makes enough for 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (47 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (24 grams) almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup Pistachio Paste (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup (57 grams) finely chopped pistachios
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together flours and salt. With mixer running on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Add Pistachio Paste and finely chopped pistachios. Beat until just combined.

3.5 from 4 reviews
Pistachio Paste
 
Makes about 1 cup
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup (142 grams) toasted pistachios
  • ¼ cup (24 grams) almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, heat sugar and ¼ cup water until a candy thermometer registers 240°F. In a small bowl, place pistachios. Pour hot syrup over pistachios, stirring to coat. Transfer pistachios to prepared pan, and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine pistachios and almond fl our.
  3. Process until finely ground, about 2 minutes. With processor running, add oil, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) at a time. Process until mixture forms a smooth, thick paste, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Shape paste into a log, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Pistachio paste will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
Notes
Pistachio paste may be purchased at specialty food shops, but it’s just as easy to make your own.

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. I am concerned about using two cups of butter in the cinnamon-pecan filling. Is this correct? It seems like a lot of butter.

    • Hey Nina,

      Thanks for reaching out! The recipe measurement is correct. Our babka recipe has been tested many times at home with each different filling and no issues have arisen as of yet. Keep in mind the filling is for two loaves of babka, not one, so that much butter won’t be packed into one loaf. We hope this has been helpful. Happy baking!

  2. I came across this recipe while looking to make a bread with a sweet potato and black sesame filling. I used your dough recipe and made my own filling. It came out fantastic, thanks! I hope it can be halved, because I’m going to need to next time, and freeze half of what I got out of it this time – there’s so much! 🙂

  3. I admit I’m not an experienced baker.. so I followed the dough prep to the dot..
    it turned out VERY bad. The mix was creamy-like
    I added spoons of flour gradually until it all stuck together
    (after setting and refrigerating overnight)
    in the end the mix didn’t rise much and was super goowy, and non manageable
    I don’t know what went wrong. Sadly it all went to waste 🙁

    • Hi Danah,

      Thanks for reaching out! We are sorry to hear that the bread dough did not work out for you. When you say you added flour by spoonfuls until it came together, did you add the additional flour after the dough was refrigerated overnight? If the hydration factor of the dough was off during the first proofing in the refrigerator, this may have been the culprit to a flat loaf. We recommend measuring ingredients using a kitchen scale to ensure that the ingredients are accurately measured, leading to the perfect hydration factor. Please don’t hesitate to reach back out with any questions!

  4. Hi, is the baking time accurate? 30 minutes uncovered and then 35 minutes covered? Will the bread not be over baked or burnt? Also my oven is very, very hot things usually bake much faster.

    • Hi Jenn,

      Thanks for reaching out! This bake time is accurate, but with oven temperature variances, we recommend testing the bread with an instant read thermometer towards the end of baking to ensure best results. If you know how many degrees hotter your oven reads, then you could reduce the temperature of your oven by that amount as well.

  5. This recipe is fantastic! I just moved it into my “Tried and True” collection. I made a half recipe with no problems, and filled it with the chocolate filling. The orange zest in the dough with the chocolate is a perfect pairing. Now I wish I had made two loaves! This is going on our Holiday must bake list!

  6. This may be a novice question, but yeast mystifies me! Should the active dry yeast be “activated” with warm water and a little sugar? Also, is the tablespoon just the dry yeast measurement (and does not include the water and sugar used to activate the yeast)?

    Also, should the dough be fairly sticky or do you recommend adding extra flour until you’re able to handle it without much stickiness/it’s smooth?

    • Hi Laura,

      Great questions! The reason that bakers add yeast to warm water and sugar is more to “proof” it, or prove that life exists. If you have any question at all about the vitality of the yeast you have (if it is old, out of date, stored improperly, etc), then proofing is recommended. You will want to see bubbles or foam forming after about 5-10 minutes. If you have fresh yeast from a good supplier, then you can usually charge on ahead.

      Any bread that is enriched (eggs, butter, and/or dairy) will be tackier than non-enriched doughs. This is ok to a point. You want slight tackiness but also be able to handle the dough. Incorporate any extra flour slowly, however, because it needs time to hydrate throughout the dough.

  7. I wanted to love this recipe but the filling was insanely too much. I used the cinnamon filling and halved the recipe and it was still pouring out of the loaves. Not edible sadly, but the filling itself was delicious! Would try and make again but you for sure need only need 1/4 of the amount!

Leave a Reply to Sandi Shriver Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Rate this recipe:  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.