Babka Bread w/ Cinnamon Walnut Filling
For the dough:
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (85 grams) honey
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons, 7 grams) active-dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 cups (226 grams) Diamond of California Chopped Walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- To prepare the dough: Combine the milk, honey and butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Warm just until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes, or until it is between 120-130 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (you can also use a large bowl and mix by hand), combine 2 cups of the flour, the salt, cinnamon and yeast. Add the milk mixture and mix until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each.
- Add the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time, letting it incorporate into the dough before adding more. When all the flour has been added, the dough should be very soft, but still clear the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add a few more tablespoons of flour. Continue to knead the dough for about 5 more minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.
- Carefully place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Gently punch down the dough to release gases and knead a few more times by hand.
To assemble the stuffed challah:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon and mix until smooth. Mixture should be crumbly. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, line an 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the excess to hang over the edges.
- Punch down the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to a 20 by 14-inch rectangle. Spread filling over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Working from the short side, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch along the seam to seal.
- Position the cylinder seam side up and roll back and forth until stretched to 18 inches long.
- Gently twist the double cylinder twice to form a double figure eight. Place the shaped dough seam side down in the prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make an egg wash with 1 large egg and a teaspoon of water and brush on the loaf. Bake until golden, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before transferring from sheet pan. Bread is best the day it is baked, but will keep in an airtight container for a few days.
Recipe inspired by Bon Appetit