Babka is an eastern European yeasted cake with deep Jewish roots.
One of its most notorious moments was in an episode of Seinfeld, when
Jerry and Elaine head to Royal Bakery to pick up babka for a dinner
When there is no more chocolate babka, they are somewhat devastated
to be forced to bring cinnamon, “the lesser babka”.
Meanwhile, babka has been experiencing quite a resurgence in the
past few years.
These days you can find sweet and savoury babkas across America
and all over the internet, a trend I am proud to embrace.
I've experimented with lots of babka flavours: sweet, savoury,
Latin-inspired and just about everything in between.
The s’mores babka, featured on this page, is featured in my cookbook,
Modern Jewish Baker, along with several other flavours.
But the s'mores is still my favourite.
It's not the chocolate babka; it might be a little better. I think
even Jerry and Elaine would agree.
For the dough:
Suggested equipment: stand mixer, 3 medium sized (8½-by-4½
inch) loaf pans.
1. To make the dough: Place the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in
a small bowl. Add the lukewarm water and stir gently to mix. Set
aside until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour,
one-third cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
2. In a medium pan, scald the milk (bring almost to the boil,
until milk is just simmering). Allow to sit for 1 minute to cool
3. With mixer on low, add the water-yeast mixture, milk and melted
butter. Add eggs one at a time.
4. When the dough begins to come together after 2 to 3 minutes,
turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides. Raise the speed to
high and mix for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is shiny,
elastic and smooth.
It may seem like a long time to mix, but the result is worth the
wait. (You can also knead vigorously by hand for 10 minutes if you
don't have a stand mixer.)
5. Place dough in a greased bowl with a damp towel on top. Allow
to rise 1 to 2 hours.
6. Prepare the three greased loaf pans.
7. To make the crumb topping: Place all ingredients in a bowl.
Using a wooden spoon, mix until crumbs form.
8. Cut the dough into three equal parts (use a food scale for
precision). Roll out one part into a rectangle. Spread with one-third
each of the chocolate hazelnut spread, then marshmallow fluff, and
then sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and roll up along the shorter
9. Once the dough is formed into a swirled log, cut it straight
down the middle so the filling is exposed. Cut ½ inch off each end.
Layer each cut piece on top of one another and twist. Place in a
greased loaf pan.
10. Repeat with the other two pieces of babka dough. Lightly drape
a kitchen towel over the top of pans.
11. Allow to rise another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F. while
the dough rises. Top with crumb topping. Bake for 30 minutes.
12. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a butter knife, loosen
sides of the babka from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool.
Makes three babkas.