Monday, September 10, 2012

Cinnamon Babka

As I sit here trying to decide what to say about this bread, my left hand is sticky with cinnamon-sugar goo (I'm typing one-handed). There's a flaky crumb resting on my shirt. My last bite is a blend of buttery babka mixed with cinnamon goodness. That should really tell you all you need to know about it. But in all honesty, I was a little afraid to share this recipe with you. I was afraid that you would be afraid when you saw how many steps there are, that you'd be deterred by the 3 hours the dough needs to rise. I'm here to tell you to have no fear! It's a lot of waiting, yes, but well worth it. Think cinnamon roll without frosting. Only better.

I promise the dough for this is not hard to make. In a nutshell, you throw the dough together like any old dough, let it rise 1 hour in an ever so slightly warm oven, let it chill in the fridge 1 hour, let it rise in its loaf shape 1 hour. That's really it. To give the bread its swirl, roll out the dough to a rectangle-like shape (rectangular is relative, right?) spread the filing on the dough, roll it up into a cylinder, or log, as I like to call it, spread a bit more filling over the top, fold the log in half, twist, and place in the pan. Voila! A swirly bread is on the way.

Cinnamon Babka 
Recipe from (directions slightly altered)
Picture by Kelly

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Set aside 1 tablespoon filling.

1/2 cup whole milk, heated to 110 degrees
2 large egg yolks plus 1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon 
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Grease a large bowl.  Line 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over edges. Set aside.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, yeast, and salt on low speed until combined. Slowly add milk mixture and mix until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-low and add butter, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated, about 1 minute. Continue to mix until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in turned-off oven until dough has risen slightly, about 1 hour. 
  3. Place in refrigerator until dough is firm and has doubled in size, at least 1 hour. 
  4. While dough chills, whisk milk, egg yolks, and vanilla together in 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
  5. Punch down dough on lightly floured counter. Roll out dough to 20 by 14-inch rectangle. Spread all but 1 tablespoon reserved filling over dough, leaving ½-inch border around edges. Working from short side, roll dough into log and pinch along seam to seal. Position dough seam side up and roll back and forth until stretched to 18-inch length. Spread reserved tablespoon of filling over top of cylinder. Fold on top of itself and pinch ends to seal. Gently twist double cylinder twice to form double figure eight. Place shaped dough seam side down in prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic, and let rise in turned-off oven until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (Do ahead option: instead of letting dough rise, refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before baking) 
  6. Lightly beat whole egg in bowl. Remove loaf from oven and discard plastic. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush loaf with beaten egg. Bake until deep golden brown and loaf registers 190 degrees, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely, about 2 hours (if you can wait that long). Serve.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Oh man. I love cinnamon. I can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks Kelly.

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