Cinnamon Babka

Cinnamon Babka by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

When I was a kid, I enjoyed a lot of sleepovers at my grandma’s house. My mom said it all started when my sister was born and would be awake from 1am until 5am, just in time for me to wake up. My grandfather was retired and my grandparents lived right down the street, so when my dad left for work, my grandpap would come to pick me up so my mom could sleep while my sister slept. The result? I became extremely attached to my grandparents. My mom said there were days I would cry because I didn’t want to go back home.

My grandpap passed away when I was only five, but sleepovers continued at my grandma’s for years and years. My sister, my cousin Kristy and I would stay over nearly every weekend and for days on end in the summer. Weekend nights at my grandma’s were extra-special, as she would make Boboli pizzas for us and we would eat in front of the television and watch TGIF on Friday nights (Full House, Family Matters, the works!), and on Saturdays we would watch The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Mama’s Family, and then stay up late and watch Star Search. Can you say EIGHTIES?!

In the morning, I distinctly remember three things my grandma would routinely have for breakfast: (1) Bagels and cream cheese. Except my grandma, the genius that she was, wouldn’t just cut the bagel in half, she would actually slice it into fourths. Hello, very high cream cheese to bagel ratio! Such a smart lady. (2) Cinnamon swirl bread. This was no ordinary cinnamon bread, and I have not been able to find it in stores for the better part of a decade. Not only was it a cinnamon swirl, but the top of the bread had a crumb topping, like crumb cake. It was amazing! (3) Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts. Self-explanatory :)

(Would you be shocked to hear that I put peanut butter on both the cinnamon bread and the Pop-Tarts? Of course you’re not shocked.)

As soon as I took a bite of this cinnamon babka, I was flooded with memories of Sunday mornings at my grandma’s house. It tastes like a combination of that fabulous cinnamon bread we used to have, as well as the filling in the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts (except much tastier, obviously!).

Cinnamon Babka by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I may have become addicted to babka-style breads without realizing it. Quite a few years ago I made this chocolate babka, and then just last month I made an apricot cream cheese babka. I love the intense swirls of babka, which ensures that every single bite will have a substantial amount of filling in it. That’s uber important in a seriously swirl bread, right?

While this babka does take some advance planning since there are three separate rise times, it is, without a doubt, 100% worth making. The dough is easy and forgiving, so even if you haven’t spent a lot of time working with yeast, it’s nearly foolproof. I urge you to give it a go, even if it means stepping a bit outside of your comfort zone.

Cinnamon Babka by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I’m so glad that I carved out the time to finally make this bread, which I’ve had my eye on for months. It brought back so many wonderful memories and made me realize what a lucky little girl I was to be able to spend such an abundance of time with my grandma. It’s time that you can never get back and I know, without a doubt, that mine was spent in the best way possible.

Cinnamon Babka by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Moussaka
Two years ago: Banana Nut Bread
Six years ago: Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Cinnamon Babka Bread

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes + cooling time

A fabulous recipe for Cinnamon Babka... A twisted bread with a brown sugar-cinnamon filling.

Ingredients:

For the Filling:
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg white

For the Dough:
½ cup whole milk, heated to 110 degrees F
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened

For the Egg Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

1. Make the Filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the filling.

2. Make the Dough: Grease a large bowl and set aside. In a 1-cup measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg yolks and vanilla extract.

3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter, one piece at a time, until they have all been incorporated, about 1 minute. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until risen slightly, about 1 hour.

4. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until the dough is firm and has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

5. Assemble the Babka: Line an 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the excess to hang over the edges.

6. Punch down the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to a 20 by 14-inch rectangle. Spread all but the 1 tablespoon reserved filling over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Working from the short side, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch along the seam to seal.

cinnamon-babka-prep1

7. Position the cylinder seam side up and roll back and forth until stretched to 18 inches long. Spread the reserved filling over the top of the cylinder. Fold the cylinder on top of itself and pinch the ends to seal.

cinnamon-babka-prep2

8. Gently twist the double cylinder twice to form a double figure eight. Place the shaped dough seam side down in the prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

9. Bake the Babka: While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly beat the whole egg and brush the top of the loaf. Bake until the loaf is deep golden brown and the inside of the loaf registers 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely, about 2 hours. The bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

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71 Responses to “Cinnamon Babka”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on September 18, 2013 at 12:08 am

    I love babka, those cinnamon swirls are so enticing!

    Reply

  2. Holiday Baker Man on September 18, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I can’t get enough of this stuff in New York. Zabars is always my first stop!!

    Reply

  3. AmyRuth on September 18, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Last Christmas was our first experience with Babka from Dean & Delucca. It is absolutely my favorite, even more than home made cinnamon rolls. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks on September 18, 2013 at 2:51 am

    I’ve always wanted to make babka but never have and yours is just absolutely gorgeous! Those spirals and swirls, could get lost in there for days :)

    Reply

  5. Olivia at ohmy Olivia on September 18, 2013 at 2:54 am

    This looks so perfect, and I love the story behind it. I really can’t wait to make this! xo

    Reply

  6. Jacqueline on September 18, 2013 at 3:29 am

    It looks just fabulous – the layers of lusciousness!

    Reply

  7. Ellen on September 18, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Your sleepovers with grandma sound wondrous! And the bread looks equally awesome.

    Reply

  8. Maxine on September 18, 2013 at 3:51 am

    I love baking with yeast, it’s taking baking to entire new level. I’ve never made a babka before, so this will definitely be a fun ‘first’. Add cinnamon to the mix and I’m there! I will definitely make this for Friday morning. I love the story you shared about your grandmother…so very sweet. I was so loyal to the TGIF Friday night line-up, but you forgot to mention “Step By Step”! LOL.

    Reply

  9. ThisBakerGirlBlogs on September 18, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Sleepovers at Grandmas is something I used to do quite a lot, too. I’ve never tried a babka cake before, though – will have to give this a go :)

    Reply

  10. Jamie@Milk 'n' Cookies on September 18, 2013 at 6:22 am

    It sounds like I would have enjoyed sleepovers at your grandmother’s house — all my favorite breakfast treats to enjoy. I’m a big fan of babka, but haven’t ever tried making it for myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

  11. ENID LUCHETTI on September 18, 2013 at 7:09 am

    LOVE IT I HAVE THE BEST RECEIPE FOR DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BOBKA ITS NOT A YEAST DOUGH BUT SO ADDICTIVE ITS FROM A GEM OF A BOOK BY CERI HADDA CALLED COFFE CAKES THE WHOLE BOOK IS A GEM

    Reply

  12. Jamie @lifelovelemons on September 18, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prettier inside to a bread!

    Reply

  13. SusieQ on September 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I don’t have an instant read thermometer. Can you give an approximate bake time?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 18th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Susie, My apologies for omitting the time, it’s 45 minutes, and I’ve added it to the recipe above.

      Reply

  14. bridget {bake at 350} on September 18, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I’ve never had babka, but have wanted to every since watching Seinfeld….and that’s a LONG time to wait! I think it’s time!!!

    PS…your grandmother was onto something with the bagels! So smart! :)

    Reply

  15. Jill on September 18, 2013 at 8:51 am

    The cinnamon swirl bread you’re talking about (with the crumb topping) sounds very similar to Wegmans Cinnamon Swirl Loaf. You may want to check for it if you are anywhere near a Wegmans grocery store.

    Reply

  16. Tieghan on September 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I have never had babka, but yours looks so amazingly beautiful! I know I would love it!

    Reply

  17. Marsha Popejoy on September 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Your bread looks delicious! Thank you for sharing your childhood memories. Very heart warming. You may want to check Costco for that cinnamon crumb bread you were talking about. I’ve had some from there that sounds similar to what you described and it was amazing.

    Reply

  18. Navar on September 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

    This looks wonderful and I’d love to make French Toast with the leftovers!

    Reply

  19. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on September 18, 2013 at 9:54 am

    This break looks incredible! I would not mind the rising three times if I could have a slice of this!

    Reply

  20. Laurie on September 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I grew up with and regularly make Placek and have been wanting to try another Polish bread. I look forward to making and sharing this with my family.

    Reply

  21. Shannonanon on September 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

    They also have a similar cinnamon swirl bread at (believe it or not) WalMart. And it’s good too!

    Reply

  22. Lisa on September 18, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I was so touched by your story of the sleepovers with your grandma. We grew up several states away from both sets of our grandparents, so we saw them just once a year. My Dad’s mother always had a special”Girl’s Night”for my sisters and me when she would let us spend the night with her in her room, and that was such a treat. Your post brings all those memories back for me.

    Reply

  23. Belinda @themoonblushbaker on September 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Oh a photo tutorial too! I have to try this! You must be so lucky to have had experience that with your grandmother.

    Reply

  24. kelly @ livelovepasta on September 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I am so into this. I would spread on almond butter and devour like 10+ slices!

    Reply

  25. Quyen on September 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    This looks delicious! I would love this as a base for french toast too!
    http://liveitinerantly.com/

    Reply

  26. Tina From Pa on September 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I have to make this! Talking about menories of childhood, my family moved from Mt Oliver(Pittsburgh) in the late 60’s to Greensburg. So in the summer my mom’s family would play pass the kids around.LOL! So I would stay at some of my aunts on the North side, we would hang out on the city steps, stay up late and watch Chiller Theater! What fun! Only a true Burgh girl knows what city steps are! I don’t think my mom knew I was hanging on the steps with the big kids! LOL!

    Reply

  27. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts on September 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Gorgeous bread! Love all the swirls; great how to pictures as well.

    Reply

  28. Emily @ Life on Food on September 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I always try to grab a loaf of babka when I am in NYC. So good!

    Reply

  29. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    The inside of this bread is gorgeous!! Such wonderful memories with your Grandma…thanks for sharing :)

    Reply

  30. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on September 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    This bread looks amazing, I can only imagine the amazing scent of your home right now! Yum!

    Reply

  31. Tracey on September 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Oh my gosh, the brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts were my favorite! They kind of still are, in fact :) So if the filling in this bread is similar, sign me up!! Such a gorgeous loaf.

    Reply

  32. Becca @ Crumbs on September 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    The bread looks lovely and the way you describe time with your Grandma is gorgeous. I feel exactly the same about my Grandma and miss her very much!

    Reply

  33. Jamie on September 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! I just have three questions…
    1. I have regular yeast, not rapid rising… do you know how much I should use of the regular yeast?
    2. You let this rise at room temperature for an hour, then put it in the fridge for an hour, correct?
    3. I am having a hard time understanding the gently twisting to form a figure 8 step. Could you explain a little further?
    Thank you! I am a big fan of this site (your pineapple upside down cake is my favorite!) and this is my first time commenting. Thank you for all the baking you do!

    Reply

    • Robin on September 19th, 2013 at 12:06 am

      I make bread all the time, but I am also having a hard time with how to form a double figure 8. I love babka and would love to try this.

      Reply

  34. Katie on September 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Such a great recipe with wonderful memories and stories to inspire it! And I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I cannot wait for your wedding post!! I’m excited to see the details!

    Reply

  35. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on September 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    This bread is fabulous, and I’m so excited to make it at home!!

    Reply

  36. Cate @ Chez CateyLou on September 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Your weekends with your grandma sounds amazing. I love when food brings back such great memories. (and TGIF was the best!!) This bread looks so good – I can’t wait to try it on a lazy sunday

    Reply

  37. Michelle on September 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve never had babka, but this recipe definitely entices me to try making it. I love working with yeast dough . . . there’s something about the feel of it in my hands while kneading it and after shaping it. And let me not forget to mention the smell of the dough. There’s nothing like it! :) While reading your opening paragraphs about sleepovers at your grandparents and your attachment to them, I had to just stop — I could have written that for you. I, too, had sleepovers at my grandparents and became so very much attached to them. I cried when I had to go home (even in high school & beyond truth be told). I remember when I was little, probably 3rd or 4th grade, actually hiding under the bed so I couldn’t be found when it was time to leave. Thanks for bringing back some sweet memories today (and as always for the recipe :) )

    Reply

  38. Linda C. on September 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Chocolate Babka always reminds me of that Seinfeld episode! I love your reminisces of staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s!

    Reply

  39. Mandy on September 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Another babka?!?! That Seinfeld episode was just on tonight!!! ;)

    This looks delish! Perfect for a brunch or late afternoon snack with a cup of coffee.

    Reply

  40. Allie| Baking a Moment on September 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Great 80s memories! I loved TGIF, & Golden Girls on Saturday night. How nice that you shared such a close bond with your grandparents… Your babka looks gorgeous & I can imagine how fabulous it tastes- I made a riff on the apricot cream cheese version last month & it was a huge success ;)

    Reply

  41. Debbie on September 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. I, too, adored my grandparents and spent summers there until I was an adult. There is nothing like it in the world.

    Reply

  42. 2 Sisters Recipes on September 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Sounds amazing! Never made one before, but maybe I should give it a try!
    thank for the recipe!

    Reply

  43. Heather Saffer on September 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

    This looks awesome! My aunt and uncle were LIVID one year when the chocolate babka they ordered from the bakery had a giant hole in the center. That’s my fondest babka memory.

    Reply

  44. Sam Tsai on September 20, 2013 at 12:12 am

    they still sell that cinammon bread with crumb topping at costcos! (at least at the costco near us.) it’s heavenly.

    Reply

  45. The Hungry Mum on September 20, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Cinnamon! My favourite :)

    Reply

  46. Laura Dembowski on September 21, 2013 at 8:47 am

    So great you had such a strong relationship with your grandparents. It’s so important to have that bond. Mine lived far away but I loved them nonetheless and think about them still every single day. My granny loved cinnamon bread too and I know we both would’ve loved this!

    Reply

  47. Kelly on September 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    This recipe was my first time working with a yeast dough and it was very forgiving, just as you said. I did encounter one issue – it was difficult to spread the filling on the cold, rolled out dough. Has this been an issue for you? Would it affect anything if I slightly warmed the filling before spreading it out next time? Thanks in advance for any tips!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Kelly, I just worked it pretty slowly. You could try giving it a vigorous stir before spreading, but I would definitely not heat it up.

      Reply

  48. Jess S. @ Floptimism on October 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful loaves of bread I’ve ever seen, seriously – the swirls of cinnamon are incredible! I wanted to let you know that I’m featuring this post on my blog’s Weekend Wrap-Up, along with your post about the Turtle Cheesecake. (I had to share both!) I hope you’ll stop by and check it out. Thank you for 2 more outstanding recipes, and enjoy your weekend!

    http://www.floptimism.com/2013/10/weekend-wrap-up-self-love.html

    Reply

  49. Traci P on November 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Yum! I’m making this this weekend! I want to double and make 2 loaves, can I double and keep it all in the same bowl through the rising process up until it goes into pans, or do you recommend keeping batches seperate? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 20th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Hi Traci, I have not tried doubling this recipe, but I think you could let the whole batch of dough rise as one before you separate it into loaves.

      Reply

  50. Cleo on November 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    This recipe is amazing! Babka is a big thing in my family and this was wonderful and EASY! I made it on Saturday and it was all gone by Monday! I am making it again to bring to dinner tomorrow, but I am going to try and make rugalach from the dough (mini babkas) so they will be bite size. I hope it works :)

    Reply

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