Goat Cheese-Harissa Babka

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Goat Cheese-Harissa Babka sliced on marble

Earthy goat cheese meets spicy harissa in this delectable Goat Cheese-Harissa Babka recipe. The outside gets its golden glow from a tempting Hot Honey Syrup and is sprinkled with crushed red pepper, and the inside is flecked with fresh parsley and thyme.

Goat Cheese-Harissa Babka
Makes 1 (8½x4½-inch) loaf
  • 2½ cups (313 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) instant yeast* 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water, divided
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) whole milk
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature and divided
  • Harissa Filling (recipe follows)
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) goat cheese, crumbled
  • Hot Honey Syrup (recipe follows) Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 1 cup (125 grams) flour, sugar, yeast, and salt by hand.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat ¼ cup (60 grams) water, butter, and milk over medium-low heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm butter mixture to flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment beat at medium-low speed until combined. Add 1 egg (50 grams) and beat until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining 2 tablespoons (16 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a very lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Turn out dough onto a very lightly floured surface, and gently press into an 8x6-inch rectangle. Loosely wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  6. Spray an 8½x4½-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13x10-inch rectangle (about ¼ inch thick). Using a small offset spatula, spread Harissa Filling onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on both short sides and one long side. Sprinkle goat cheese evenly over filling, make sure there are no large clumps of cheese. Starting with long side opposite border, roll up dough, jelly roll style, and pinch seam to seal. Gently lift log at each end and stretch to 14 inches long. Place seam side down, making sure seam is off to one side instead of in center. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut in half lengthwise. Turn halves cut side up, and place in an “X.” Twist top half of “X” twice; pinch ends, and tuck under. Repeat with bottom half of “X.” Using your hands, place in prepared pan, making sure to keep cut sides up and ends tucked. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Dough should pass the finger dent test.)
  8. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 egg (50 grams) and remaining tablespoon (15 grams) water. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash on top of dough.
  10. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 50 to 55 minutes, covering with foil after 20 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Brush with Hot Honey Syrup. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
*We used Platinum® Yeast from Red Star®.

Note: Final rise time will depend on how long dough is chilled. The longer the dough is chilled, the longer it will take to rise. Once you think your dough has proofed, conduct the finger dent test. Gently press your finger about ½ inch into the surface. You should be able to watch the dough spring back slightly but still show an indentation. If the dent disappears, the dough is underproofed and needs more time. If the indentation stays completely, it has overproofed, but don’t panic. Immediately pop it into the oven; the babka will still be great!

Harissa Filling
Makes about ¼ cup
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons (9 grams) harissa paste*
  • 2 teaspoons (7grams) honey
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a small bowl, stir and fold together butter, harissa paste, and honey until smooth and combined. Fold in flour, parsley, thyme, and salt. Use immediately.
*Harissa paste is a North African condiment made of sundried chilis spices, and herbs. We use Zwita Spicy Harissa, available on amazon.com in specialty food stores.

Hot Honey Syrup
Makes 3 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons (42 grams) honey
  • 1 teaspoon 95 grams) apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) crushed red pepper
  1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together all ingredients. Heat on high in 15-second intervals stirring between each, until honey has softened and syrup is fluid.




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  1. This looks delicious! I love the combination of flavors between the tangy goat cheese and the spicy harissa. The honey glaze finish seems like it would make this dish even more delightful. I love the idea of adding the harissa to give it an extra kick. I can’t wait to try this recipe and experience the blend of flavors together.


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