Nutella Babka Recipe
Despite my appreciation for the Seinfeld episode which debated the merits of cinnamon babka, I hadn’t made these yeasted cakes until I watched the Great British Bake Off. In one GBBO episode, I learned that yeast was the primary way of leavening baked goods until about 150 years ago.
So I made those Krantz cakes. And then I made a dulce de leche babka where the filling all ran out. And then a friend asked me to make a kale babka. That one will be coming soon.
But right now, I’m all about this rich and tender Nutella babka. It’s not difficult to make, but it does require patience.
Tips and tricks for this Nutella babka recipe
The base of this Nutella babka recipe is brioche, an enriched dough made with eggs, butter, and milk. Brioche can be made by hand, but it is much easier with a stand mixer.
To start, mix the dry ingredients (Panel #1) and then the eggs (Panel #2).
Scalded milk is next added. Scalding is important when using milk in yeasted doughs because it breaks down the milk proteins which might prevent your yeast bread from rising.
Change to the dough hook to save your mixer’s motor, and add the butter, piece by piece. The Jerusalem instructions to scrape down the bowl a “few times.” This is an understatement. During the butter incorporation, you may need to scrape the bowl frequently and fold your dough over with a spatula in order to get it to mix. And don’t be afraid to add a bit of flour if it looks like a sticky mess.
Eventually it will form a soft and pliable dough that you will form into a ball and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator (Panels #4 and #5 above). Feel free to take it out and let it continue to rise at room temperature if it has not yet doubled in size.
To shape the babka, divide the dough in half, and put one half back in the bowl, covered in plastic. Roll out the dough on a floured surface (Panel #1 below) until it is about 12 inches by 14 inches or so (Panel #2). It does not have to be exact.
Use a knife or offset spatula to spread the Nutella evenly on the dough, leaving a margin of about 1/2 inch (Panels #3 and #4 above). Roll the babka from the long end into a roulade, place the roll seam-side down on a baking sheet, and put it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This brief chilling makes it easier to twist into shape.
To shape the Nutella babka, cut the roll in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and separate the halves with the inside facing up on the countertop (Panels #1 to 4 below).
Pinch the top of the halves together, then carefully twist the two halves together, and pinch the bottoms together (Panels #5 to 8 above). Transfer the twisted babka to the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise and bake according to the recipe. Finish it off with the sugar syrup, and just try to restrain yourself from eating it hot out of the oven!
FAQs about this Nutella babka recipe
Babka, meaning “grandmother” in Polish, is a yeasted cake made by Ashkenazi Jews since the 1800s.
Yes, you can freeze babka at pretty much any stage of the recipe, from the brioche dough, to the shaped and unbaked babka, or the baked babka. I prefer to freeze baked babka because your yeast will lose some activity in the freezer. Double wrap the babka in plastic wrap and seal it in a freezer bag. You can let it come to room temperature or gently warm it wrapped in foil in the oven.
Nutella Babka Recipe
- Stand mixer
- Two 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pans
- 4 ¼ cups (531 grams or 18.7 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour plus more as needed when adding butter and for rolling out the dough
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- zest of two small or one medium orange
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk, scalded and cooled
- 10 tablespoons (142 grams or 5 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and softened plus more for greasing the pans
- vegetable oil for greasing the bowl
- 1 cup (280 grams or 10 ounces) Nutella
- ⅓ cup (67 grams or 2.4 ounces) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- Add the flour, sugar, yeast, and zest to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed.4 1/4 cups (531 grams or 18.7 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast, zest of two small or one medium orange
- Add the salt and mix on low speed.1/2 teaspoon salt
- Add the eggs one by one and mix briefly on low between each one.3 eggs, room temperature
- Add the scalded milk and mix on low until the mixture starts to come together.1/2 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled
- Switch to the dough hook and start adding butter cubes. Use a spatula to repeatedly scrape down the side of the bowl and fold your dough and mix until the butter is all incorporated. Add a bit of10 tablespoons (142 grams or 5 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- Increase the speed to medium and knead for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable.
- Lightly grease the mixing bowl with oil, form the dough into a boule, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. It should double in volume.vegetable oil
Shaping, filling, and baking the Nutella babka
- Prepare the pans. Butter two 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pans, layer the bottom with parchment paper, and grease the paper.
- Divide the babka dough in half and put one half back in the bowl. Lightly flour the countertop and roll out the other half of the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches by 14 inches.
- Use an offset spatula or knife to spread 1/2 of the Nutella onto the surface of the rectangle, leaving about 1/2 inch on all edges.1 cup (280 grams or 10 ounces) Nutella
- With the long side facing you, dab a small amount of water along the far edge of the rectangle. Roll the rectangle up into a roulade that will be about 14 inches long.
- Place the roulade seam side down onto a baking sheet and press down lightly to seal. Freeze for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the roulade in half lengthwise. You will have two halves about 14 inches in length.
- Lay the two halves on your countertop with the inside facing up and pinch the tops together.
- Twist them together by lifting one side over the other and repeating, always keeping the cut side of the halves facing up, until you have twisted the full length. Pinch the bottom of the halves together.
- Carefull transfer the twisted babka to the prepared pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume and reaches the sides of the pan, about 2 to 3 hours. Repeat with the second babka.
- When almost ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until the top of the babka is a golden brown and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup by combining the sugar and water together over a boil until the sugar has dissolved.1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup (67 grams or 2.4 ounces) granulated sugar
- When the babkas have baked, place the pans on a cooling rack and brush with the sugar syrup.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and let cool before slicing. Once cool, baked Nutella babka can be frozen or wrapped and stored at room temperature for several days.
If you make this babka, please leave a rating or a comment. Or share a pic with me on Instagram!
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