A couple of days ago, I found myself craving sweet breads, and as a result, frantically leafing through cookbooks in search of something tall, filled, tender, and perfect with a cup of tea. I discovered the perfect recipe in Faye Levy‘s cookbook, 1,000 Jewish Recipes, that I was lucky to have signed by the author (and now my friend!) at the Melissa’s Produce book event a while ago. (Faye had her 23 cookbooks displayed there!).
And that recipe is for Cinnamon Raisin Babka! In a whim, the dough was put together, left to rise, then filled with cinnamon and sugar and sent in the oven. The bread that came out was beyond what I had even imagined. The craving was satisfied.
Oozing sweet aromas, perfectly risen, golden on top and bottom, with a sticky cinnamon filling speckled with raisins that laced the tender inside of the bread in a beautiful swirl. The family approved of my babka and so did the visitors I had in our house the next day – they even asked for the recipe! A dream babka all the way! Thank you, Faye!
Are you ready to bake the perfect babka? Let’s’ go!
Don’t be intimidated by the generous amount of raisins in the filling. They make the filling extra delicious.
The dough is rolled up and ready to proof.
Well risen and ready to bake!
How do you like this babka?
- ¼ cup warm water (105ºF to 115ºF)
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 ounce or 2¼ teaspoons)
- ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup warm milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (can go up to ½ cup; can substitute brown sugar)
- ½ cup raisins
- Pour ¼ cup of water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over water. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the yeast. Let stand about 10 minutes or until foamy. Stir if not smooth.
- In a large mixing, combine 2½ cups of flour, ¼ cup of sugar, and salt. Add the yeast mixture, 6 tablespoons of the butter, milk, and 2 of the eggs. Stir with your hand until ingredients come together in a soft dough. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour, if the dough is sticky. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic. (Instead of using your hands, you can prepare the dough in a food processor with a dough blade, following the same order with the ingredients. Still, hand knead at the end.)
- Shape the dough into a ball in your hands. Oil the same bowl, put the dough in the bowl, and turn over to oil all surfaces. Cover with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area 1 hour 15 minutes or until doubled.
- Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Mix the cinnamon with sugar. Roll out the dough into a 9-by-11-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then with raisins. Press so the raisins adhere to the dough. Roll up tightly into a cylinder. Pinch the ends to seal. Put the dough seam side down in the prepared loaf pan. Cover the loaf with a warm, slightly damp kitchen cloth or a plastic wrap and let rise about 1 hour or until doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Beat the remaining egg and brush the risen loaf gently with it. Bake about 30 minutes or until the top of the loaf is golden, and both the top and bottom are firm. Run a metal spatula or a thin knife carefully around the loaf. Turn out of the pan and cool on a rack before slicing.