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Nutella Babka


I've heard some arguments over which spread is best. Peanut butter, Speculoos, chocolate spread (which I guess is a thing and people actually eat it but I've never tried it), other nut butters, other... cookie butters... but guys, guys, guys.

If you think any spread ever has anything on Nutella, then we're going to have a problem. Carson is a die-hard peanut butter fan and puts it on pretty much anything that anyone else might very vaguely think, "that would be good with peanut butter." For example, dipping Cheez-Its in peanut butter, which he introduced to me during our first month dating. It was a bold move, but the combo is actually really delicious, and now that I think of it I'd really like a few peanut buttery Cheez-Its to snack on.

But we can both agree that Nutella is delicious. I got completely hooked on it in college, and I actually went through a stage where I had it every morning on toast for breakfast. And then I studied abroad for a bit in France and I discovered Speculoos, which absolutely blew my mind but when it came down to it, Nutella really is the best.

That said, Nutella wrapped up in warm swirls of babka is pretty killer. The dough is the same as the chocolate babka recipe on this site, just filled with Nutella instead of a chocolate filling, and it does not have a crumb topping (though I'm sure it would be just as delicious with it). This recipe makes 2 loaves, so feel free to make one chocolate and one Nutella - or cut the recipe in half if you only want one!

Nutella Babka

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

INGREDIENTS

Dough: 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water 2 large eggs 6 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 1/3 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk 2 tablespoons instant yeast, SAF Red or SAF Gold instant yeast preferred 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup sugar 2 1/2 teaspoons salt 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Filling:

1 cup Nutella

Glaze:

I large egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine all of the dough ingredients (starting with the lesser amount of water), mixing until everything is moistened. Add additional water if necessary to enable the dough to come together. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then mix/knead it until it's soft and smooth.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover the bowl. The dough is going to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it's quite puffy.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it in half. Cover one piece of dough while you work with the other.

Shape each half of the dough into a 9" x 18", 1/4"-thick rectangle. If the dough "fights back," let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten, then stretch it some more. Don't be fussy about this; 19" or 20" is as good as 18".

Smear each piece of the dough with half the Nutella, coming to within an inch of the edges.

Starting with a short end, roll each piece gently into a log, sealing the seam and ends. Working with one log at a time, use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise (not crosswise) to make two pieces of dough about 10" long each; cut carefully, to prevent too much filling from spilling out. With the exposed filling side up, twist the two pieces into a braid, tucking the ends underneath. Repeat with the other log. Place each log into a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.

Brush each loaf with the egg glaze. Tent each pan with plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until they're very puffy and have crowned a good inch over the rim of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 300°F.

Bake the bread for 35 minutes. Tent lightly with foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes (for a total of 50 to 60 minutes); the loaves should be a deep-golden brown. To ensure the loaves are baked through, insert a digital thermometer into the center of one loaf. It should register at least 190°F.

Remove the loaves from the oven, and immediately loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the pans onto a rack to cool completely.

Slice the babka and serve it at room temperature; or rewarm individual slices briefly in a toaster, if desired. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.


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