Did you know BABKA means “little grandma” in Russian, Ukrainian and Yiddish? This coffee cake’s origins are Eastern European, but it’s often identified as Jewish. Recently popularized, this bread is filled with rich, delicate swirls of sweet filling. A newly Americanized version of this treat is filled with chocolate, but traditionally it was probably filled with fruit and sugar. Anyway you make it, babka is scrumptious.
I had read that Babka took all day to make and involved 14 steps. Wow….I figured I would skip this recipe since that’s not realistic for me right now. Between potty training and rides to and from summer camp, I’m fairly busy. Then I found a recipe that used instant yeast (one less tricky step), used a stand mixer (no kneading=two less tricky steps), and had a simple sticky bun filling (sticky buns are my favorite!). So I decided to give it a try and I was not disappointed. My teenage son actually cracked a smile early this morning when he saw it (and he was up really EARLY).
To make babka you first preheat your oven to 200 degrees Farenheit and then turn it off. Yep, turn it off. You want it to cool down slightly, but be warm enough for your dough to rise. While the oven is warming up, start by mixing your dry ingredients in your stand mixer bowl. Attach the dough hook to the mixing arm. Your dough hook looks like this:
Then heat your milk on the stove to 110 degrees. Whisk in the egg yolks, egg and vanilla.
Turn the stand mixer on low speed and slowly add the milk mixture to your dry ingredients. After three minutes, turn up to medium speed and slowly add the butter in 8 divided pieces. Mix until the dough becomes smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This will take about 10 minutes. It should look like this:
Place the dough in a large greased bowl and turn it around until all sides of the dough are greased (this prevents a crust from forming which would interfere with rising). Cover with plastic wrap and place the bowl in the now turned off oven for one hour. After one hour, remove the bowl and place in the fridge for one hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
Mix all filling ingredients together.
Remove dough from the fridge and punch it down (literally punch it with your fist) to eliminate the large air pockets. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle. Spread filling evenly over dough.
Roll into a long thin cylinder.
Cut it lengthwise with a sharp knife.
Now twist the two pieces together.
Finally, roll it like a snail and place into a baking dish. (I just used a corningware dish).
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour. It should start to look puffy.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
If desired, mix powdered sugar with water and drizzle over top.
Serve with hot coffee and friends!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter softened and cut into 8 pieces
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup pecan toasted and finely chopped
- 6 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and then turn off
Mix flour, sugar, yeast and salt in stand mixer bowl
In a saucepan, heat milk to 110 degrees F
Whisk egg yolks, egg and vanilla in with milk
With dough hook on stand mixer, slowly add milk mixture to dry ingredients at low speed until dough comes together. This should take about 3 minutes
Increase the speed to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time
Continue to mix at medium speed until the dough is smooth and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. This takes about 10 minutes. If dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl add 2-4 more tbsp of flour
Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn dough around in bowl to grease all sides of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap
Place bowl in oven for one hour. Then remove and place in fridge for at least one hour (until dough doubles in size)
Mix together all filling ingredients
When dough has doubled, remove from fridge and punch down to remove air pockets
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle, approx. 1/4 inch thick
Spread filling evenly over dough
Roll into a long, thin roll and cut lengthwise
Twist pieces together to form a long rope
Curl rope like a snail and place in a greased baking dish
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for an hour. It should start to look puffy
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean
Cool on wire rack
Mix together glaze ingredients and drizzle on top
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