Herbed Goat Cheese and Apricot Babka

Herbed Goat Cheese and Apricot Babka
Herbed Goat Cheese and Apricot Babka. Miri Rotkovitz
  • 85 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12

Who says babka has to be sweet? Chocolate and cinnamon fillings may be the norm, but that doesn't mean you can't play around with savory fillings. This babka toes the line between sweet and savory, with ribbons of apricot jam and herbed goat cheese swirled throughout. Slivered almonds showered atop the loaf offer a little crunch. Ideal for brunch, this beautiful babka is wonderful for home or at cocktail parties, where it makes a fabulous accompaniment to a cheese platter and and a great glass of wine

What You'll Need

  • For the dough:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons (1/2 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
  • 1 large egg
  • For the filling:
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 5 ounces herbed goat cheese (crumbled)
  • For the topping:
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons sliced raw almonds

How to Make It

  1. In a a large bowl, or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the water and yeast. Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, sugar and salt. Add to the yeast mixture, mixing with a wooden spoon or the mixer’s dough hook on medium speed. Add the oil, and beat until incorporated. Add the egg, and mix until the dough begins to pull into a ball. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes, or with the dough hook for 5 minutes, until the dough is slightly tacky but smooth. (If the dough is very sticky, knead in additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the dough is no longer too sticky to handle.) If you’ve been kneading the dough by hand, return it to the bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 
  1. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. When the dough has risen, punch it down, and divide it in half. Pat each piece of dough into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough into a rectangle about 9 x 15 x 1/4-inch. Spread with half of the apricot preserves, leaving a 1-inch border along one of the long sides. Sprinkle evenly with half of the crumbled goat cheese. Starting on the long side without the border, roll the dough up tightly jelly roll-style. Pinch the ends together gently to seal. Allow it to rest seam side down. Repeat the process with the other piece of dough and the rest of the preserves and cheese.   
  2. Lay the rolls side by side, seam side down. Starting in the middle, twist the rolls together by laying one over the other until you get to the end. Repeat on the other side. Gently compress the ends between your hands to shorten the loaf enough to fit it into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until the babka mostly fills the pan, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (If you’d prefer, you can also cover the pan with plastic and refrigerate overnight. You will need to bring the babka to room temperature before baking.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place the loaf pan on a piece of foil on the center rack of the oven (the foil will catch any bits of crumb topping that may fall off the loaf). Bake in the preheated oven, turning after 25 minutes, until the babka is golden and firm to the touch, about 45 minutes total. Remove from the oven. Brush with the 2 tablespoons of preserves and sprinkle with the sliced almonds. Return to the oven and bake until the almonds begin to toast, about 5 minutes more.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.