White Chocolate-Tahini Babka

White Chocolate-Tahini Babka
Photography and Styling by Mason + Dixon / Recipe Development and Food Styling by Ben Mims

Tahini and babka hail from the same area of the globe, so it’s only natural to marry them together in this sweet bread, perfect for breakfast or drenched in custard for a rich bread pudding. In Ben Mim’s (@benbmims) recipe, white chocolate doesn’t compete with the tahini but instead offers a smooth sweetness to balance the flavor, while orange zest delivers brightness to the heavy, sweet dough. 

White Chocolate-Tahini Babka
 
Makes 2 (9x5-inch) loaves
Ingredients
  • 4¼ cups (531 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 3½ teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
  • Finely grated zest of ½ orange (about 1 teaspoon)
  • ½ cup (128 grams) tahini
  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm water (120°F/49°C to 130°F/54°C)
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams)
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • Ganache Filling (recipe below)
  • 9 ounces (250 grams) white chocolate*, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Brown Sugar Syrup (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, brown sugar, salt, yeast, and zest.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, ½ cup (120 grams) warm water, and eggs until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add tahini mixture to flour mixture, beating until dough comes together. Add butter, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) at a time, letting each tablespoon incorporate into dough before adding the next. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
  3. Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a ball. Roll each ball into a 12x10-inch rectangle. Spread half of Ganache Filling onto each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch border on one short side. Sprinkle chopped white chocolate over Ganache Filling. Brush unfilled short side of each rectangle with water. Starting with opposite short side, roll up dough, jelly-roll style, and press edges to seal. Place logs, seam-side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  4. Spray 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray. Line pans with parchment paper.
  5. Transfer 1 log to a cutting board, and cut in half lengthwise. Place 2 halves cut side up, and carefully twist dough pieces around each other, leaving cut sides up. Nestle dough twist in one prepared pan, tucking ends under if necessary. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover each loaf pan with a kitchen towel, and let stand at room temperature until dough rises to top of pans, 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with foil. Remove towels, and place loaf pans on prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake until deep golden brown on top and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 50 to 60 minutes, covering with foil to prevent excess browning after 20 minutes of baking, if necessary. Lightly drizzle warm Brown Sugar Syrup over each loaf. Let cool for 30 minutes to allow syrup to soak in completely. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Note: *High-quality white chocolate works best.

Ganache Filling
 
Makes about 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (120 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (170 grams) white chocolate morsels
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring cream, butter, sugar, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Place white chocolate morsels in a medium bowl; pour hot cream over morsels. Let stand for 1 minute. Slowly whisk chocolate mixture, starting in center and working your way to edges, until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled and spreadable, at least 2 hours.

Brown Sugar Syrup
 
Makes ⅓ cup
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup (73 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup (80 grams) water
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring brown sugar and ⅓ cup (80 grams) water to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low, and keep warm until ready to use.

 

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