I discovered babka only a few months ago. I saw many variations of this swirled bread all over Pinterest and Instagram and decided to make my own, healthier version. To be honest I already made 3 or more different versions (like this chocolate and hazelnut Babka) but this one is my absolute favorite. It’s perfect for Christmas time but as you may already know, I’m a big fan of cinnamon and I could happily eat this in July as well.
The babka is filled with a cinnamon and sugar spread sprinkled with chopped pecans and raisins. I used golden and regular raisins, but you can use any other dry fruits like cranberries or dates.
It’s very important to soak the raisins before using. I like to soak them in rum or in orange juice depending on who is going to eat it.
I chosed the water roux method to make the bread because I wanted a fluffy and pull-apart texture.
The roux, also called Tangzhong water roux, is a flour and water mixture that is added to yeast bread recipes. This is done in order to make a loaf of bread that is lighter, has a more tender crumb and a longer shelf life.
To give the bread a more flavorful taste, I added some nutmeg, vanilla bean paste, orange and lemon zest to the dough.
This recipe is way easier than it seems. But it can be tricky if you don’t follow all the steps properly. Respect the kneading and raising time of the dough to make sure your bread will cook properly and evenly.
There are many different ways to fold the bread and make the typical swirls. The method I used to make the babka you see in the photo is a classic sliced braid one.
Simply roll the dough into a log, just like when you make cinnamon roll. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise. Don’t worry if the filling begins to fall out, just hold the dough together as best you can.
You’ll end up with two strips of dough. Take those two pieces and pinch two ends together. Twist the logs around each other two or three times; pinch together the other two ends. Place the braid, cut side up, in a greased loaf pan.
You can also fold the bread using the challah techniques, but since the filling is exposed, these are a bit more difficult to realize.
This bread is a perfect breakfast or afternoon tea treat and your house will smell amazing (very Christmassy;))
I really hope you guys will love this recipe as much as I do! I’d be very happy to see your creations, so make sure to tag me on Instagram @foodie.yuki when you make one of my recipes so that I can see them!
Vegan cinnamon raisin babka
- Stand mixer, loaf pan
Ingredients for the bread starter
- 25 g / 2,5 tbsp bread flour "0" type in Europe
- 50 ml / 3 tbsp water
- 50 ml/ 3 tbsp oat milk
Ingredients for the bread (wet)
- 120 ml / 0,5 cup oat milk, warm (55C/110F)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 50 g/0,25 cup plant-based butter
Ingredients for the bread (dry)
- 7 g/ 2,5 tsp instant yeast
- 350 g/ 2,75 cup bread flour
- 16 g / 2 tbsp coconut milk powder
- 65 g/ 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 5 g/1 tsp pink salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- zest from half an orange
- zest from half a lemon
Ingredients for the filling
- 90 g plant-based butter at room temperature
- 50 g dark brown or coconut sugar
- 20 g light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- pinch pink salt
- 80 g golden/regular raisins
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup rum or orange juice
- 80 g pecans, toasted and chopped
Make the rough
- In a small saucepan, combine the bread flour, milk and water and whisk to remove any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes whisking continuously, until the roux starts to thicken.
The roux should have the consistency of a curd. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Make the dough
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Add the warm milk, vanilla and roux to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Then add the dry ingredients.
- Turn the mixer on medium-low and mix for 5-7 minutes until gluten develops and the dough feels elastic.
- Add the butter one tablespoon at a time and wait until it's fully incorporate before adding more. Mix for another 5-7 minutes until the butter is completely incorporated and the dough is smooth and feels elastic.
- Transfer to a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- While the dough is resting, make the filling.
- After the first raise, gently deflate the dough on a floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle (roughly 30×50 cm).
The shorter side should not be more than 3-5cm longer than your loaf pan.
- Spread the filling over the flattened dough and sprinkle over the raisins and pecans evenly.
Press to make them stick to the spread.
- Starting from the short edge, roll the dough into a log, keeping it fairly tight as you go. When you reach the edge, pinch along the edge to seal.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise and twist the two logs around each other leaving the filling exposed.
- Transfer to a greased and parchment-lined loaf . Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minute.
- Preheat oven to 175C | 350F degrees and bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and eating.
Make the filling
- Soak the raisin into the rum or orange juice for at least 10 minutes. Drain and chopped them.
- Toast the pecans in a saucepan or oven and chop finely.
- Add the butter, sugars, cinnamon and salt to the bowl pf a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until light and fluffy (7-8 minutes)
- Place the spread into a bowl and keep in the refrigerator.