This cheesy babka has the flavor palate of a grown-up pizza, with rich ripples of cheese and chopped sun-dried tomatoes balanced out by the mild herbaceous notes of basil.
Cheesy Babka with Sundried Tomatoes
Makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 ¾ teaspoons (5.5 grams) instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
- 3 large eggs (150 grams)
- 2 large egg yolks (37 grams)
- ⅔ cup (160 grams) warm whole milk (120°F/49°C to 130°F/54°C)
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg white (30 grams)
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
- 1 ½ (150 grams) cups shredded Italian cheeseblend
- ¾ cup (82.5 grams) oil-packed julienned sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- ⅓ cup (11 grams) chopped fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic (5 grams), minced
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir in eggs and egg yolks. With mixer on low speed, gradually add warm milk, beating until dough comes together. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat for 6 to 8 minutes. Test dough using the windowpane test (see Notes). If dough is not ready, beat 1 more minute, and test again.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. With mixer on medium-high speed, add butter in three additions, letting each incorporate before adding the next. Beat until a smooth and elastic dough forms and pulls away from sides of bowl.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
- Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. (Alternatively, dough can be made 1 day in advance, and the entire rise may take place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove dough from refrigerator, and let come to room temperature before proceeding.)
- Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and1 tablespoon (15 grams) water.
- On a heavily floured surface, roll dough into 16x12-inch rectangle. Brush edges of dough with egg wash. Sprinkle dough with cheese, tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Starting with one short side, roll up dough, jelly roll style, and pinch seam to seal. Using a bench scraper, cut roll in half lengthwise. Carefully twist dough pieces tightly around each other, pinching ends to seal. Place in prepared pan, cut sides up. Tuck ends and sides tightly into pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake for 20 minutes. Cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 40 to 45 minutes more. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Test the dough for proper gluten development using the windowpane test. Pinch o (make sure you don’t tear the dough) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a “windowpane.” If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready.