Cinnamon Crunch Babka Recipe
Who doesn't love a good slice of warm, freshly baked bread? Especially when it's filled with cinnamon crunch goodness. That's right; we're talking about Cinnamon Crunch Babka. This delightful pastry has become quite popular in recent years, but did you know that it has a rich history dating back to Eastern Europe?
Babka, meaning "grandmother" in Polish, is a traditional sweet bread originating in Eastern Europe. It's made with a rich brioche-like dough that's swirled with a sweet filling, typically chocolate or cinnamon. The bread is shaped into a tall, cylindrical twisted loaf and baked until golden brown.
The origins of Babka are a bit murky, but it's believed to have originated in Poland or Ukraine in the early 19th century. It was traditionally served during Easter and other religious holidays but soon became a beloved treat for any occasion.
In the 20th century, Jewish immigrants brought Babka to the United States, where it became a staple in Jewish bakeries and delis. It gained even more popularity when it was featured in an episode of Seinfeld, where Jerry and Elaine become obsessed with a chocolate Babka.
Now, Babka can be found in bakeries and cafes all over the world. And while the classic chocolate and cinnamon fillings are still popular, bakers have been experimenting with various fillings. From Nutella to raspberry jam to matcha, the possibilities are endless. Make a savory Babka with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta, and herbs.
But today, we're going to focus on the classic cinnamon crunch filling.
How to Make Cinnamon Crunch Babka
2 1/2-3/14 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar + 1 Tbsp sugar to activate yeast
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
2/3 cup warm milk
4 eggs yolks, room temperature (save the whites off to the side)
5 Tbsp cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg white
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 egg white
1/4 cup AP flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cold butter
In a mixing glass or small bowl, whisk together the yeast, 1 Tbsp sugar, and milk. Set off to the side to bloom.
In a stand mixer, cream butter and remaining sugar. Add in oil and vanilla.
Add in the eggs yolks, 1 at a time.
Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour into the mixer and beat on medium until a sticky dough begins to form
Whisk your yeast mixture and pour into mixer. Slowly add remaining flour, 1 Tbsp at a time until a dough ball forms and begins to pull away from the bowl.
Knead dough on a floured surface and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for at least 2 hours. The dough will double in size.
Mix the brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, and egg whites in a small bowl.
Roll the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
Roll the dough up tightly from the long side, like a log
Cut the roll in half lengthwise, exposing the filling.
Twist the two halves together, filling-side facing up, forming a braided loaf.
Place the loaf in a lined loaf pan, cover with a clean towel, and let rise in a warm place for one hour
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine streusel topping ingredients in a bowl and cut the butter into the dry ingredients
Brush egg wash over the top of the babka and sprinkle on the streusel topping
Bake the Babka for 25 minutes, rotate 180-degrees, and continue baking for another 30 minutes.
Let the Babka cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
And there you have it. The struggle of waiting for the babka to cool before eating it is REAL. But if you cut into it too soon while it's still hot, you risk it falling apart. The dough is so light and flaky that it needs to cool and "set" all the way! I do recommend heating it up a tiny bit before serving - especially the next day for breakfast.
Making babka is a labor of love and takes time and patience, but once you perfect the art of making it, you'll never want to stop.