Savoury babka loaf
- November 2021
- Makes 1 large loaf (serves 6-8)
- Hands-on time 30 min, plus rising, proving and cooling
Babka’s rich brioche dough is a great partner for savoury fillings. Our babka loaf is threaded with truffle pesto, herbs, pine nuts and ricotta.
With its swirls of cinnamon-spiced choc, our chocolate babka loaf is an unmissable sweet treat.
- 21.4g (3.3g saturated)
- 40.8g (2.7g sugars)
- 400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- 7g fast-action dried yeast
- 50ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the bowl
- 1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten
- 180ml lukewarm water
- 1-2 tbsp whole milk to glaze
- Salt flakes to sprinkle
For the filling
- 165g jar truffle and artichoke pesto (we used Belazu; from large supermarkets)
- 200g pitted queen olives (such as gordal), roughly chopped
- Large handful mixed herbs, finely chopped (we used parsley, thyme and rosemary)
- 50g ricotta salata or pecorino cheese, finely grated
- 50g pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan (optional)
- Finely grated zest 1 lemon (optional)
You’ll also need…
- 900g (2lb) loaf tin, about 25cm x 13cm x 6cm deep, greased and lined
- In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. In a jug, whisk the oil, egg and water. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix on a low speed until the dough comes together (about 3 minutes). If there are still dry bits visible, add a little more water, 1 tbsp at a time, to form a soft but not sticky dough. Turn the speed to medium and knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and springy. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball. Lightly oil the mixing bowl, then return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a large plate and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead 2-3 times to remove any large air pockets. Roll out to a rectangle roughly 40cm x 25cm. Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a 1-2cm border along each long edge. Sprinkle the remaining filling ingredients evenly over the pesto. Starting from one of the long edges, roll up the dough into a tight sausage, pressing gently to seal the seam.
- Cut the sausage in half lengthways, then twist the 2 pieces together to form a swirl or rope twist (don’t worry if it’s a bit messy). Carefully transfer the twisted babka to the prepared tin, tucking the ends underneath. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside to prove for 40 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
- Heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6. Brush the top of the loaf with a little milk. Sprinkle the top with a little salt, then bake the babka for 35-45 minutes. Check after 25 minutes – if it’s browning quickly, cover loosely with foil. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool. Slice to serve.
If you prefer, swap the truffle pesto for a chilli, tomato or classic pesto, and play around with the herbs.
To make the bread without a stand mixer, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg, oil and water. Mix with a round-bladed knife until the dough comes together, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes until smooth and bouncy.
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