One of my favorite soups is the cheddar broccoli soup from Panera. While I was growing up, it was always a treat to order that creamy bowl of cheddary goodness and even more of a treat if I was allowed to order it in a bread bowl!
This babka pays homage to the most delicious and comforting soup with its's sharp cheddar and chopped broccoli filling. It will be a satisfying meal on its own, or the perfect addition to a hearty winter table!
B'tayavon! (Hebrew for bon apetit)
½ Cup milk, warmed
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
¼ Cup sugar
1 Egg yolk
½ Teaspoon kosher salt
2 Cups flour
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
7 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 Cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Cup raw broccoli, finely chopped (use fresh not frozen!)
1 Egg white
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 Teaspoon cracked black pepper
Whisk egg, egg yolk, sugar, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl until smooth and slightly pale in color. Whisk in warmed milk and yeast until combined.
Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix in the flour until almost fully mixed. Add butter about 1 tablespoon at a time (make sure it’s at room temperature!) and mix until incorporated. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky.
Turn out the dough and knead for just a few minutes until very smooth. Transfer to a greased bowl and let rise for 1 ½ - 2 hours until doubled.
Chop the broccoli and mix together with the egg white, salt, and pepper.
Once the dough is done proofing, place on a floured surface and roll into a large rectangle. The dough should be as thin as you can get it. This ensures the most swirls inside the bread.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the dough. Sporadically place the broccoli mixture over the cheese.
Starting on the edge closest to you begin to tightly roll the dough away from you until you run out of dough and are left with a log of dough. Pinch the ends together to ensure no filling leaks out while baking.
Using a serrated knife, slice the log length wise and twist the two halves together to form a log.
Fold the log in half and twist together to form a thicker log, about half the length of the original.
Place the twisted babka in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Allow to rise for another half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake for 50-55 minutes.