Babka: a Jewish staple, not just for the Holidays

It’s always frustrating to be in the mood for a nice cake or dessert and then to have to wait for the dough to rise. So, please, think ahead (and we are not talking about hours upon hours here…just 2 1/2 hours!) because, once you’ve made this gorgeous and delicious babka, there will be no turning back. You’ll have to do it again…and again. The beauty of this recipe, straight from The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer, is that it produces TWO babkas…you see what I mean? You make one to take to a friends house AND you have one to keep at home and prevent a riot!!! Absolute perfection!



You’ll need:


1/2 cup warm water

1/2 oz (2 envelopes – 14g) dry yeast

1/2 cup (100g) plus 1 tsp sugar, divided

3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour

2 cups (250g) white whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil

1/2 cup (1 stick, 113g) margarine, at room temperature at least 30 minutes

3 large eggs plus one egg white (reserve yolk for glazing)

Filling and Glaze:

1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar

1/2 cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa

1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

1 cup (180g) mini-chocolate chips

2 tsp water plus reserved egg yolk

To make the dough:

Place warm water, yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar into a large mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes, or until thick. IMG_8206IMG_8208

Add the sugar, both flours, the oil, the margarine and the eggs.IMG_8209

Combine with a wooden spoon or a dough hook in a stand mixer until all ingredients are mixed together. IMG_8210IMG_8211Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 2 1/2 hours.IMG_8212

To make the filling:

While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the sugar with the cocoa. IMG_8213Add the margarine and mix well. IMG_8214IMG_8215You can let the filling sit out covered while the dough continues to rise.

Assembling the babka:

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Grease two 12-inch loaf pans using spray oil.

Divide dough into a equal pieces. On a large piece of parchment paper sprinkled with flour, roll out each piece of dough into a 10 X 7-inch (25 X 18cm) rectangle. IMG_8216IMG_8217Spread each piece with 1/4 of the filling, sprinkle it with 1/4 of chocolate chips, IMG_8218and roll up the dough lengthwise. IMG_8219When you have two rolls, twist them around each other, keeping the seams on the bottom. IMG_8220Tuck the ends underneath and place into the prepared loaf pan. IMG_8221Repeat with the other pieces of dough. Brush the tops with the reserved egg yolk mixed with water.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until well browned. Cool for 20 minutesIMG_8222

Run a knife around the sides of the babkas and then remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.

Store wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months…..but we doubt these babkas will last that long!!!




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