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How to Make Babka

These delicious, sweet loaves only look like they're a lot of work.

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As a baker, I love the magic I can create in the kitchen, and one of my favorites is babka. Those finished loaves are destined to impress with their layers, swirls, and twists. And although babka looks complicated, it’s actually fairly easy to make. Here’s a peek behind the curtain.

Technically, babka isn’t braided—it’s just twisted. First, you roll the dough out to a rectangle, then cover it with a delicious filling. Then, you roll it up (as if you were making a roulade-style cake) and cut the roll in half, lengthwise, revealing all the layers of filling and dough. Last, you wrap the two pieces of dough together, to add a twist of complexity to the loaf.

While a cinnamon sugar filling is traditional, I like to add a little chocolate because, well, chocolate. I also combine chocolate with halva and tahini for a babka filling I love. Another favorite involves lemon and orange zests with an almond streusel topping for knockout flavor.

Keep in mind that babka isn’t a rush project. The dough needs to chill overnight in the refrigerator before you roll it out, so make sure you plan for that.

Babka is delicious for breakfast or brunch, but if you’re looking at one with a chocolate component, you’d be totally right to have a slice for dessert. And if you serve it to guests, bask in the compliments. You don’t have to let anyone know about the sleight of hand in your display of baking magic.

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  • User avater
    sbreckenridge | 04/23/2021

    @jRcooks: Sorry for the delay in responding. The two "tails" remaining in photo 3 get tucked under themselves. You can do this prior to transferring the twist to the pan or once the twist is in the pan. Don't worry if the dough doesn't fill out the pan perfectly, it will once it completes the 45-minute rise prior to baking. Hope this answers your question and we hope you try the recipe if you haven't already. BTW, praline babka sounds wonderful!
    -FineCooking.com web editor

  • jRcooks | 04/12/2021

    I’m confused about the instruction for forming the “braid”. The website fixed the typo, but it’s not clear what to do with the two “tails” remaining in photo 3. Can you please clarify?
    I’ve been buying my babka lately from bunsbakeryri.squarespace.com. They make an incredible praline babka which I would love to get the recipe for!
    Thanks
    John Rutana
    Providence

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