Delicious delicious Babka. Fill it with chocolate, or cinnamon and walnuts, maybe even try a savory pesto? Made with layers upon layers of butter this rich dough is similar to the laminated varieties used to make croissants, kouign amann, palmiers or any pastry you find with lots of buttery flaky layers.
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
½ cup milk, whole
2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
2¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups + 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour
⅓ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon fine salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
13 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
Make the Dough
In the bowl of a standing mixer, warm up the milk slightly until it reaches a temperature somewhere between 100-110F. Stir in the yeast and allow to rest for several minutes. Once the yeast has had time to activate add your vanilla, flours, eggs, sugar, salt and finally half of your butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix these ingredients together on low until the mixture is well combined, approximately 2 minutes. Add in the remaining butter and turn up the mixer to medium. The dough should start coming together into a smooth elastic ball, about 4 minutes.
Turn out your babka dough onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with more flour and begin kneading your bread until it becomes quite elastic, and a small piece can be stretched quite thin without tearing. About five minutes of kneading should do the trick. Shape the dough into a plump round ball and place it in a floured bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Chill the Dough
After the dough has risen, set it out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and using your hands press it into a rectangle. Wrap up the dough with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.
The Butter Block
To prepare the butter set it on a large sheet of parchment paper and place another sheet over it. Using your fist, smash the butter into a 7 x 8-inch rectangle. A rolling pin could work for this too, I suppose, but when presented with the opportunity to punch a pile of butter why not take it? Wrap up the butter and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the Fold
When ready, place the thoroughly chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 7 x 16-inch rectangle. Endeavor to keep the sides as straight, and the corners as sharp as possible.
Add the Butter
Place your prepared butter block on one end of the rectangle. Placing it near the edges, so the dough just peaks out around the butter.
The First Fold
Fold the dough up over the butter, pressing around the edges of the dough to seal the butter inside. This is what’s called a “Simple Fold”.
The Envelope Fold
Roll the butter and dough out into another large rectangle of dough, being careful not to allow the butter to seep out the edges. Once the rectangle is rolled, visually divide it into thirds. Fold down the top third of the dough, then fold the bottom third up, giving you a neat little envelope of dough.
Wrap the dough up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes, before rolling out and repeating the envelope fold again. Do this at least three times in order to get as many layers of butter and dough as possible.
Use this recipe to make a delicious Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Babka!