Cinnamon strudel babkas

Cinnamon strudel babkas
  • Serves icon Makes 12
  • Time icon Hands-on 50 mins, cook time 30 minutes, plus 2 hours proving

These individual cinnamon-swirled babkas, from Baking School: The Bread Ahead Cookbook, are a tear-into-them-while-warm triumph. Serve them alongside strong coffee for a delightful breakfast treat.

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 4g fine sea salt
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 5g ground nutmeg
  • 280g milk
  • 50g butter
  • 8g fresh yeast

For the filling

  • 30g ground cinnamon
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g soft dark brown sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten, for the eggwash

For the strudel topping

  • 75g flour
  • 75g sugar
  • 15g demerara sugar
  • 45g butter
  • A pinch of fine sea salt
  • Raspberry jam

You will also need

  • A water spray

Method

  1. Put the flour, salt, sugar and nutmeg for the dough into a bowl and combine, just enough for them to get to know each other. Make a well in the centre of the flour.
  2. Measure the milk and butter into a small saucepan and heat until the butter starts to soften (important: do not let the temperature go above 30°C). Remove from the heat, add the yeast, and mix until dissolved. Pour the liquid into the well in the flour, and with one hand gently bring the dough together. Once it starts coming together, take it out of the bowl and place it on your work surface. Don’t add any flour.
  3. Now, with the heel of your hand push the dough into the work surface and ‘stretch and tear’ (see know-how below) for 8 minutes. Your dough will become nice and elasticated and have a velvety feel. Put it back into the bowl, then cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
  4. To make the filling, mix the cinnamon and sugars together in a small bowl, then mix in the butter until combined.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to form a rectangle about 40cm x 30cm. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a small strip clear of filling along one of the long edges (this strip will be used to seal the dough once it’s rolled), then brush the clear strip with the eggwash.
  6. Roll up the dough lengthways, gently pressing the filling-free edge into the dough to seal it.
  7. Line a baking tray with baking paper, then cut the roll into 12 pieces and place them cut side up on the tray. Gently open each babka up with your fingers, then leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hour, until risen and touching each other.
  8. To make the strudel topping, mix the flour and sugars together in a bowl, then rub in the butter. Once rubbed in and looking like coarse sand, pop the topping into the fridge while the babkas are rising.
  9. Preheat your oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Get your water spray ready.
  10. Dollop a teaspoonful of jam in the centre of each babka, and sprinkle with the strudel topping. Place in the oven and lightly spray inside the oven with your water spray. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the tray round and bake for a further 10 minutes more.
  11. Leave to cool a little, then enjoy warm, with extra-thick double cream.

delicious. tips

  1. Make your hand into a claw shape, resting above the dough then, with the heel of your hand, push the dough into the work surface and stretch and tear the dough forwards, then grab it and bring it back to where you started the ‘stretch and tear’. Repeat it for the required length of time stated in the recipe. Make sure you scrape your dough to the centre throughout the ‘stretch and tear’ process to make sure it gets developed evenly. After a few minutes you should be able to feel the start of development in the dough.

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