While I’m writing this cinnamon babka post, a crispy air hits my exposed ankles. If I look out of my living room’s window, I can see trees with both green and brownish leaves, they’re about to fall. Yesterday I went for a walk, here in the small town where my boyfriend lives, and a lively breeze was stirring the already-fallen leaves on the ground. It was magical. I felt like I was in this scene of Mary Poppins.
It’s so fascinating how the word Fall perfectly matches the season’s mood.
There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! – P.B. Shelley
Oh, you guys, let’s welcome the very first Fall recipe…
Fall and crispy weather always calls for comfort food. My favorite activity during this season is baking – duh – and as the temperature drops, I can’t help making all sorts of ‘lievitati’ (in Italian. Singular, ‘lievitato’).
I’ve spent the last ten minutes looking for a translation of this word, ‘lievitato’, but I can’t find it. Anyway, it refers to all those leavened pastries like brioche, panettone etc.
Oh, and I’ve always loved baking, if you follow me you already know that. When I say always, I mean ALWAYS, since I was a little kid. At the time, if I didn’t know what to do on Sunday afternoon, I asked my mother if I could bake something.
I think (wait, I’m sure) I’ve inherited this passion from her. She loves baking and one of her favorite recipes is ‘fugassa’, a typical venetian Easter leavened cake, very similar to Easter Dove.
I love leavened pastries mainly for one reason: they teach you patience.
What is babka?
Babka. Gift of patisserie Gods lol
Joking aside, babka is a sweet treat that, according to this post, comes from Poland and Ukraine.
But what does babka mean? “The word babka” they say “comes from the Slavic word babcia = grandmother. It is believed that it was named after grandmas, because they are known for making lots of goodies and desserts.”
Isn’t this the sweetest thing? Couldn’t agree more!
When I first tried babka, more than one year ago (or two?), I fell in love with it at first bite. It’s soft, like a pillow. It’s sweet but not sickening-sweet (you got it). The filling? You can experiment and try with different flavors: chocolate babka (with hazelnuts, delish), with pumpkin, with cinnamon, with something savory like basil pesto. It’ll be delicious
How to make this cinnamon babka bread? [step by step]
The recipe I’ll share today is very similar to the one I’ve used to make brioche col tuppo (here) a while ago.
I’ve only changed a couple of ingredients: I’ve switched white sugar with brown sugar (slightly more wet) and I didn’t use orange zest to flavor the dough.
Everything else is the same, because I wanted to make sure of its fluffiness. And believe me: it’s SO FLUFFY.
Regarding the filling, it’s extremely simple: apples, cinnamon, a pinch of cardamom and a teeny tiny sugar to sweeten. Let them soften into a pan, blend and your filling is ready.
NOTE: I’ve also tried using brown butter instead of oil + water. It gives a nice nutty touch (try it!)
Ok, now let me tell you how to make this cinnamon babka bread in a few easy steps:
- First knead the dough using your hands or a stand mixer. Let it rise for 1.5/2 hours.
- Next, roll out the dough (see photo above) and spread the filling.
- Start rolling it into a tight log then let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough lengthwise using a bread knife, then braid it (see photo).
- Let it rise for 2 hours then bake.
- Brush with brown sugar syrup and milk.
Can you freeze babka?
A question I’m sure you have. Happy to say that the answer is YES.
Here chez moi, it’s me and my boyfriend. So we cannot eat a whole babka in ⅔ days. That’s why, when I bake, I usually let the sweet cool down then wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze it!
When you want a piece of babka, just let it defrost, heat it up using the oven or your microwave and enjoy your breakfast!
If you make this recipe, please be sure to give it a rating and leave a comment! It would make me so happy! 🙂
Remember: if you try one of my recipes, tag me on Instagram or DM me the photos!
APPLE CINNAMON BABKA
- 87 gr Milk
- 1 teaspoon Honey
- 12 gr Fresh yeast - or 4 gr of dried yeast
- 1 Egg - at room temperature
- 265 gr Bread flour - (please add some flour if the dough is too runny – SEE NOTES)
- 35 gr Brown sugar
- half a teaspoon Cardamom powder
- 32 gr Oil* - *or 40 gr of melted butter (SEE NOTES)
- one tablespoon Water* - *skip water if you add butter
- 6 gr Salt
- Milk to brush the top
To make the babka filling:
- 280 gr Peeled and sliced apples (or applesauce) - (they were 3 apples, in my case)
- 1 tablespoon Brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
- a sprinkle Cardamom powder
- Almond slices or hazelnuts
- To make this apple babka I've used my stand mixer.
- Warm up the milk and combine it to yeast and honey into the mixer's bowl.
- Activate the machine at low speed, add the egg and gradually start pouring the sifted flour. Change speed to medium.
- Drizzle the oil + water (or just butter) and let them blend until fully absorbed.
- Add the brown sugar and let knead for 10/15 minutes.
- Now add the salt and let knead 2 minutes more (or until absorbed).
- Let your dough rise – into a bowl, covered – in a warm place for a couple of hours or until doubled.
Meanwhile, to make the filling:
- Peel and slice your apples.
- In a pan, let them soften with a couple of tablespoons of water, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom.
- When they’re soft, purée them with a blender. Let the filling cool down.
To “build” the babka:
- I’ve used a 30 cm (12 inches) long loaf tin so I rolled out the dough to be about 35 cm x 30. Work on a floured surface.
- Spread your apple cinnamon filling all over the dough then start rolling it into a tight log.
- When rolled, let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, cut it lengthwise through the middle using a bread knife.
- Now take one of the two pieces, fold over the top (so it crosses) and make a braid. Add hazelnuts/almonds.
- Place it into a greased loaf pan (or use parchment paper instead) and let it rise for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven at 180° C. Bake it for 30 minutes or more (it has to be golden brown on the surface).
- Brush with milk immediately and with brown sugar syrup if you want a glossy finish.
Don’t forget to pin and share this easy and delicious recipe!
Loved this recipe?
Then I think you will love FOR SURE these Swedish cardamom buns!
© Healthy Little Cravings – Roberta Dall’Alba.
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