Makes 1 large babka loaf

This recipe takes about 12 hours in total from start to finish (don’t worry most of it is hands-off time), best to think ahead when you want to serve this amazing mouth-watering absolutely delicious babka!

Brioche Babka Dough:

  • 80g (⅓ cup) whole milk
  • 7g (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 125g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 155g (1 ¼ cup) flour
  • 170g (¾ cup) unsalted butter, softened

Walnut filling:

  • 200g (2 cups) whole walnuts
  • 150g (1 ½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons Slivovitz (plum brandy) or brandy or orange juice

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

For Brioche babka dough:

  1. Warm the milk to 40-45℃ (105-115℉). Place the warmed milk along with the yeast and a pinch of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture starts to look foamy.
  2. Add to the mixer bowl the first 125g (1 cup) flour, the eggs, sugar, and salt, mix on low speed until combined. Gradually stir in the remaining 155g (1 ¼ cup) flour, mix on low speed for 5 minutes, cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and with the mixer on medium-low speed mix the dough for 7-10 minutes, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and attaches itself mainly to the hook.
  4. With the mixer still on medium-low, mix in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each piece is nearly incorporated before adding the next. Repeat until all the butter has been incorporated, this will take 10-15 minutes total.
  5. Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size about 1 ½ hour. Refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours but not more than 24.

For Filling:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, blitz the walnuts until they are very finely chopped, be sure to use the pulse motion rather than just letting it go on auto, as you are after finely chopped walnuts and not walnut butter.
  2. Place walnuts in a large bowl, add sugar, coffee powder, cinnamon, salt and mix well.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they just start to turn white and foamy, and then add along with the slivovitz (brandy or orange juice) to the mixture. Mix well and set aside. The mixture can be made 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge until ready to use.

To assemble and bake:

    1. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface knead a couple of times until the dough comes together and divide the dough in half.
    2. Working with one half at a time, roll out the dough using a floured rolling pin into an approximately 27×33 cm (13×11 inch) rectangle, you may need to keep on dusting with flour as you go. Spread half the walnut mixture over the dough and spread evenly leaving a 1cm (½ inch) border. With the long end closest to you, roll up the dough into a cylinder. Roll the dough onto a piece of baking paper. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Roll the second cylinder onto the same piece of baking paper, so that the two cylinders are lying side by side. Twist the two cylinders together on the baking paper, and use the baking paper to lift the twisted babka into a 23x13x7 cm (9×5 ½ x 3 inches)(2 pounds) loaf tin. Cover the babka with a clean tea towel and let rise until puffy and increased in volume for about 60-90 minutes.
    3. Heat oven to 180℃ (350℉). Make the egg wash: Beat the egg and water together and brush the top of the babka with egg wash. Bake the babka until golden brown 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, remove from the pan and cool on wire rack.