When Noah asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I simply replied with “Jewish food”. I have been craving the deli sandwiches and matzo ball soup that I grew up eating in delis like Max and Benny’s, the Bagel (RIP), and Max’s. He ordered me an overnight shipment of corned beef and rye bread but would not tell me where it was coming from.
In all of my excitement and preparation for the shipment of comfort food, I decided I would make a babka to have for dessert! Normally, I am a chocolate babka woman but this week I was craving the simplicity of a cinnamon babka.
Of course, I made the babka and about an hour after it came out of the oven, my birthday packages arrived! A Jewish deli basket from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI! It contained everything one needs to create a Jewish feast of epic proportions… including a babka!
So, I am now heading into my birthday weekend with 2 babkas, a truly thoughtful finance, and a stomach full of Jewish comfort food!
½ Cup milk, warmed
2 ½ Teaspoons instant yeast
1 Egg yolk
¼ Cup sugar
½ Teaspoon kosher salt
2 Cups flour
7 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 ½ Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg white
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Whisk egg, egg yolk, sugar, 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 (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.
Prepare the cinnamon filling by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix until combined.
Once the dough is done proving, 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.
Using an offset spatula spread the filling over the dough in a thin layer. 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.
Fold in half and twist together to form a log.
Place the twisted babka in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Allow to rise for another half an hour while you make the streusel topping.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the streusel topping, pour the flour and brown sugar into a mixing bowl. Using your hands, rub in the butter until the mixture looks like sand.
Beat an egg in a bowl with a splash of water and using a pastry brush, brush over the top of the babka. Then sprinkle the streusel topping over the babka. Bake for 40-45 minutes.