Jewish Cinnamon Babka Recipe

Babka
Michael Grimm / Getty Images
  • 80 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Yield: 3 loaf pans (27 servings)
Ratings (7)

This cinnamon babka recipe was appropriated from the Poles by Eastern European or Ashkenazic Jews. As with most recipes, changes were made over the years.

Instead of being baked in a swirly babka pan the Poles use, most Jewish people bake it in a loaf pan and, often, add a streusel topping. It's a delicious, rich version that is most commonly made in chocolate, cinnamon and almond varieties and, in my opinion, surpasses most Polish babkas I've tasted. This recipe makes 3 loaves but they freeze very well.

What You'll Need

  • Dough:
  • 2 packages yeast (active dry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water (110 F)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup/1 stick margarine (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs (separated)
  • 1 large egg white (beaten)
  • 5 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • Filling:
  • 24 ounces cinnamon filling (2 x 12-ounce cans. see below)
  • Topping:
  • 6 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter (cold)

How to Make It

  1. Stir yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into warm water. Set aside until frothy. Grease three (9-by-5-inch) loaf pans.
     
  2. Scald the milk and place in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add margarine and stir to melt. Add 1/2 cup sugar, salt, yeast mixture, and 3 beaten egg yolks.
     
  3. Add flour and knead until shiny and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat both sides, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This may take as long as 2 hours.
     
  1. Beat reserved egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Reserve. Prepare the streusel topping by mixing the flour and sugar and cutting in the butter as for pie dough.
     
  2. Punch down dough and divide into three parts. Working with one part at a time and covering the rest, roll into a large rectangle 1/8-inch thick.
     
  3. Spread dough with 2/3 of a can of cinnamon filling and then 1/3 the egg whites. Fold in the sides of the dough and roll up tightly as for a jellyroll. Place in prepared pan. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with 1/3 the streusel topping. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until above the rim of the pan. Repeat with remaining dough.
     
  4. Place rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Bake babkas for 40-50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Let cool in pan 5 minutes and then carefully turn out onto a rack to cool completely.