29 February 2012

Bake 52: Babka

Never heard of it?  Me either.  Until this week.  Babka:  a rich and decadent coffee cake--style bread that is traditionally reserved for Easter Sunday in eastern Europe.  It also mentioned that it should be eaten on it's own, no jam or butter.  I was curious to see if this was really true... LOVE warm, fresh homemade bread with butter.  Here we go...

Whisk sour cream, eggs, water and vanilla, and then combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the stand mixer with the dough hook.

With the mixer on low, add the sour cream mixture until the dough comes together.

Sorry about the blurriness of the above photo, but just a little proof of how well the dough looks at this point.  Came together great!

The speed of the mixer is then increased, and the two sticks of butter, cut into pieces, are then added... one piece at a time.  It takes a while.

In the picture above, you can see a piece of butter being mixed into the dough.  Look how sticky it gets.

And even more sticky.

After the butter is all mixed in, I added a little more flour until the dough looks like the above.  The dough is then put in the fridge for 10 hours, and up to 24.  ... an ultra-buttery dough like babka requires a long, cool overnight rising time.  If you try to speed up the process and let the dough rise in a warm place, the butter will leach out and the resulting loaf will have an oily texture, an uneven crumb, and sometimes, a rancid butter aftertaste.  And so it went into the fridge overnight.

The next day, roll out the dough.  The cold dough.  This was not easy.  But it had to be done.

Sprinkle the filling; brown sugar, butter, cinnamon.  (Toasted walnuts and raisins were listed in the recipe, but I opted to leave them out.  Knew they wouldn't go over to well.)

Yum.  Filling.

Roll it up in a long log, sealing the edges.


Place in bread pan, arranged in two rows.  Let rise for 2 to 2 3/4 hours.  Mix more sugar and cinnamon, carefully brush tops with an egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar mixture.

Bake.  Cool.  Eat.  (I left out the cool part.)

So good.  Mmmm.  And it was right.  It didn't need butter or jam.  I actually ended up with two regular loaves, and two smaller loaves.  No complaining here.  I would highly recommend making this Babka. It would make a great Sunday afternoon snack... just be sure to make the dough, and let it chill all night.  There's nothing wrong with planning ahead.

Go to Michelle's blog for the full recipe.


Amanda said...

Your loaf looks absolutely beautiful and delicious!

Michelle said...

Your pictures are amazing! I kinda wish you were the host this week, because your post looks so good! Maybe I should link people back to you! :)

Jen said...

your food photography is absolutely amazing!! You do just a great job really doing justice to the beauty of this bread! I'm so glad you joined along, I really love reading your posts every week!

Valerie said...

Thanks for all of the pictures. My dough process went like yours. I thought it would be sticker in the beginning but I guess that is sticky to them.