Basic Savory Babka
Babka can make for a nice dinner if you fill it with tasty, savory fillings. The following is a base recipe that you can use with various different fillings. Recipe yields 3 loaves.
For the dough
- 1 tbsp dry active yeast
- 3 tbsp + ½ tsp sugar
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter (or margarine), melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 - 1 ½ cups kale basil pesto, savory onion jam, or other filling of your choice
For the topping
- 1 ½ cups shredded gruyere, or mozzarella (if using pesto filling, optional)
- 3 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled (if using onion filling, optional)
- Mix yeast, ½ tsp sugar, and water, stir gently, and set aside until foamy (5-10 minutes).
- Mix flour, 3 tbsp sugar, and salt.
- Scald milk and allow it to sit for 1 minute to cool just slightly.
- Add water-yeast mixture, milk, and melted butter to flour mix.
- Add eggs one at a time.
- When the dough comes together, mix for another 2-3 minutes and scrape down the sides.
- Mix on high for another 5-10 minutes.
- Prepare three 8½-by-4½-inch greased loaf pans. Alternatively, prepare 2 large round babkas to be baked on a aking sheet.
- Cut dough into 3 equal parts. Roll out one part into a rectangle, and spread a third of the filling onto the rectangle. Roll up along the shorter side.
- Cut dough straight down the middle so the filling is exposed.
- Layer each cut piece on top of one another and twist.
- Place in a greased loaf pan.
- Lightly drape a kitchen towel on the top of the pans, and let them raise for another 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC / 350ºF.
- Top each babka with ⅓ of the cheese, if using.
- Bake for approx. 35 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan and place on top of wire rack to cool.