Updated: Jan 20
The layers, the swirls, the flavors, you're going to love it all in this Pumpkin Babka!
Babka with a twist!
Looking to satisfy your savory cravings this Fall? You're in the right place, because this Pumpkin Babka is here to save the day!
Before we jump into the recipe, I'm sure there's at least one person out there who's thinking "What the hell is a Babka?" (I used to be one of them before I started this Baking journey). So, this is for you - a little background. A Babka is typically a sweet, braided bread (or cake) developed in the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe in the early 19th century. It is prepared with a yeasty dough, spread with a filling - common fillings include chocolate (Nutella Babka is pretty famous), cinnamon, or fruit, then rolled up (just like a Swiss Roll) and braided before baking.
So, then what's a Pumpkin Babka?
It has a Pumpkin filling. Why? Why not! It's Fall, and Pumpkin is a staple flavor. And I'm a savory lover. And it tastes like heaven. What more reasons do we want - am I right?!
Okay, so let's get into the important part now - how do you make it!
There are lots of ways to make Babka (and you'll find tons online). But, I'm all about simplicity. I like knowing one basic recipe that I can expand with a few additions to make something else. So, today we are basing the dough off of my Cinnamon Roll recipe!
This recipe makes 1 loaf - you can easily double the ingredients for another, if you wish to freeze one and gift to someone (or gift to yourself at a later time - that's what I would do!)
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Serves: 1 Loaf
For the dough:
3/4 cup warm milk (microwaved for 40 seconds) + 2 tablespoons milk (divided)
2 and 1/4 teaspoon quick rise yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (divided: 1 egg for the dough, 1 egg for the egg wash) + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
For the filling:
One 7.5-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Start with the dough. Transfer microwaved milk to a large bowl. Add yeast and sugar and stir until combined. Cover lightly and leave for 3 to 5 minutes until frothy.
Then, add egg, egg yolk and melted butter and mix using an electric beater (or a whisk/fork) until fully combined. Then stir in the salt. Next, add the flour, little by little, while mixing with a wooden spoon. As you continue adding the flour, a dough will begin to form. Once all flour is added, knead dough for about 8 minutes (using a dough hook attachment or by hand). The dough is ready, once it has no cracks and is slightly sticky but pulls away from the bowl. If it's sticking to the bowl, add up to 2 tablespoons flour.
Next, remove dough from the bowl and keep on a lightly floured surface. Then, coat the same bowl you were using with 1 tbsp oil. Place the dough back in the greased bowl and turn to coat the entire dough with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm environment until doubled in size (about 1 to 1.5 hours). To create a warm environment, you can preheat the oven to 200 °F; turn oven off once preheated; then, place covered bowl inside oven with the door slightly open.
While the dough rises, make your filling by mixing all ingredients until incorporated in a small bowl.
Once dough is doubled in size, punch down to release air. Then, transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 14 x 9 inch rectangle. Spread the Pumpkin filling over the rolled dough, leaving a 1 inch margin on the sides.
Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9'' x 5'' loaf pan.
Now, get back to the rolled dough. Starting with the short side, roll the dough up tightly (it should look like a Swiss Roll once done). Then, leaving ½-inch of dough connected at the top, cut the roll lengthwise in two. Twist / braid the strands together and pinch at the end to seal. Carefully place the Babka in the prepared pan.
Cover Babka loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area (counter top is okay) until the dough rises to fill the pan (about 45 minutes).
Now, time for an egg wash. Beat the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons milk and gently brush over the Babka.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
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