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, Vegan cinnamon pecan babka 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.
Introduction about Vegan cinnamon pecan babka
The babka is filled with cinnamon and sugar spread and 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 them. 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.
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 juic 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.
Here are some cooking tips for making a delicious and fluffy vegan cinnamon pecan babka:
Use a stand mixer: A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment will make the dough-making process easier and quicker.
Use instant yeast: Instant yeast will save you time as it doesn’t require activation in water. It can be mixed directly with the flour.
Use warm plant-based milk: Using warm plant-based milk will help activate the yeast and make the dough rise faster.
Let the dough rise: Let the dough rise for at least 1 hour before shaping and filling it, and then let it rise again for another 30 minutes.
Use a filling with a thick consistency: Use a cinnamon pecan filling that is thick and not too runny to prevent it from oozing out during baking.
Roll the dough tightly: Roll the dough tightly to prevent gaps in the babka and to create a beautiful swirl.
Use a sharp knife or scissors: Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the babka without squishing or deforming it.
Brush with a plant-based milk and sugar mixture: Brush the babka with a mixture of plant-based milk and sugar before baking to give it a beautiful golden brown color and a sweet crust.
Let it cool before slicing: Let the babka cool down for at least 30 minutes before slicing it to prevent it from falling apart.
Store properly: Store the babka in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the babka for up to a month.
FAQs of Vegan cinnamon pecan babka
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about vegan cinnamon pecan babka:
Q: What is babka?
Babka is a sweet, yeast-based bread that originated in Eastern European Jewish communities. It’s typically filled with cinnamon, chocolate, or nuts and twisted into a beautiful swirl.
Q: Is vegan babka difficult to make?
Making vegan babka requires some time and effort, but it’s not particularly difficult. The dough is similar to regular babka dough, and the filling can be made with plant-based ingredients.
Q: Can I make babka ahead of time?
Yes, you can make babka ahead of time and store it at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to a month.
Q: Can I make babka without nuts?
Yes, you can make babka without nuts or replace them with another filling of your choice, such as chocolate or jam.
Q: Can I use a different type of plant-based milk?
Yes, you can use any type of plant-based milk in this recipe, such as oat milk, almond milk, or soy milk.
Q: Can I use gluten-free flour?
Yes, you can use gluten-free flour to make gluten-free vegan babka. However, the texture may be slightly different from regular babka, and you may need to adjust the amount of liquid used.
Q: How do I store leftover babka?
To store leftover babka, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to a month.
Q: Can I make babka without a stand mixer?
Yes, you can make babka without a stand mixer by kneading the dough by hand. However, a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment will make the process faster and easier.