I’ve been wanting to make this guy for a while, but I kept talking myself out of it because I fell for the idea that it takes a while to make bread and I just wasn’t feeling like taking that much time. Y’all, one day I’ll really learn, and hopefully you’ll get there before I do, but it really doesn’t take much time at all, especially with an overnight cold prove! And honestly, after eating this one, even if it took ages it would still be worth it because it tastes so. so. good.
This one is pretty simple with just two elements: the dough and the filling. You’ll see a lot of babka recipes with a streusel topping and/or a syrup to use as a soak, and there’s nothing wrong with that! I just wanted to keep it simple and having four elements was more than I was feeling, and honestly, it doesn’t need it. I made sure there’s a TON of flavor in the filling and using a tangzhong in the dough to make sure it’s super moist which means you don’t even need that syrup soak. Let’s take a closer look:
- the dough – I used brioche as the base for this and used a tangzhong to make sure it’s super moist. Tangzhong is an Asian cooking technique where you cook together some flour and milk which allows the flour to absorb more liquid than it normally will. Then, when you incorporate that paste into the dough, it still retains the moisture, resulting in a moist loaf of bread. It has to be completely cool before making the dough so it takes a bit of extra time, but it’s totally worth it.
- the filling – I wanted to make sure it was super flavorful so you get some cinnamon in every single bite and this filling delivers! You could add some nuts too, if that’s your thing
You can use any filling here that doesn’t have too much moisture! Think about what you might put in a cinnamon roll, or other similar rolls, and you’ll be in good shape. Switch up the spices, add some nuts, go for chocolate instead, there are really so many options!
That’s it! Let me know what you think of this one, I’m really so proud of it 🙂
Light, fluffy, and absolutely packed with cinnamon flavor, this Cinnamon Babka recipe is so easy and looks almost as good as it tastes!
for the dough
- 120 mL (1/2 cup) whole milk, divided
- 285 g (2 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) flour, divided
- 9 g (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
- 50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 eggs
- 57 g (4 Tbsp) butter, softened
for the filling
- 134 g (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp) brown sugar
- 14 g (5 tsp) cinnamon
- 4 g (1.5 tsp) nutmeg
- 71 g (5 Tbsp) butter, melted
- 10 g (1.5 Tbsp) flour
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup nuts, optional
- make the tangzhong: in a small pot, combine 60 mL (1/2 cup) of milk and 15 g (2 Tbsp) of flour over medium heat. cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes a thick paste. transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool completely, about 45 minutes
- make the dough: add the remaining milk, flour, yeast, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs to the bowl with the tangzhong. mix on medium low speed until it comes together into a smooth dough, about 5 minutes. add the softened butter, 1 piece at a time, until it is all incorporated. continue mixing for 7-10 minutes until it's a smooth, stretchy dough.
- cold prove: cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to prove overnight, or 12-14 hours. This allows more flavor to be developed!
- make the filling: before rolling out the dough, make the filling by combining all of the filling ingredients in a small bowl. set aside
- prepare the pan: line a loaf pan with parchment paper to create a sling and spray with cooking spray. set aside
- shape: take the dough out of the fridge and place on floured parchment paper. Shape into a rough rectangle with your hands, then roll out to a 9"x16" rectangle. spread the prepared filling on top, leaving a 1" border along one of the long sides
- roll up the dough along the long side without the empty border into a tight log, using the parchment paper to help roll it up. pinch the seam to ensure it doesn't unravel, then use a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise to expose all of the layers created by the roll. twist the two halves together, keeping the cut side up, then gently transfer into the prepared pan. It's okay if it doesn't look perfect, but try to tuck the ends underneath the middle of the twist so you have an even amount of dough disbursed into the pan.
- let rise: cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour or until it's puffy and when you poke it with your finger the dough slowly springs back, leaving a slight divot. preheat your oven to 350*
- bake: once it's ready, bake in the preheated oven for 40-47 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 185*-200*.
- enjoy! let cool, slice, and enjoy. store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, if it lasts that long!