Recipe for Polish Babka with Optional Cheese Filling (but is cheese really ever just an option?)
- 1⁄4ounce dry yeast
- 1⁄4cup lukewarm water
- 10tablespoons soft butter
- 1⁄2cup sugar
- 1teaspoon salt
- 4egg yolks, room temperature
- 1lemon zest
- 1⁄2teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄4teaspoon cardamom(optional)
- 5cups flour, sifted
- 1cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- 1cup white raisins or dried cherries, or
- 1cup dried cranberries (soaked in hot apple juice for 15 minutes and drained)
- 1⁄3cup fine unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1egg yolk, beaten
- 2tablespoons water
- 1⁄4cup sliced almonds
Optional Cheese Filling
- 12ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1⁄3cup sugar
- 1egg yolk
- 1lemon zest
- 1pinch saffron (added to the warm water above) (optional)
This recipe can be made with a cheese filling. Which can be made while dough is rising. The rising times are not included. There are 3 rising times be sure to do the rising of the dough in a draft free, warm place. The picture posted is with dried cherries, dried cranberries, and the optional saffron. I must say this is one of my favorite home-made or store babkas bought to date. The filling was so creamy and rich.
- Add yeast to lukewarm (hot will kill the yeast)water and let stand until softened or dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, add salt to egg yolks and beat until thick; then add to sugar and butter mixture.
- Add yeast and water, lemon rind, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Add flour alternately with milk and beat well to make a smooth batter.
- Add raisins and knead by hand until batter leaves the fingers.
- Let rise in a warm draft free place until double (about 1-1/2 hours). Punch down and let rise again until double.
- Generously butter a fluted tube pan. Sprinkle with fine bread crumbs and fill with dough. Brush with mixture of egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle with almonds and let rise again. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 45-60 minutes.
- Mix cheese filling ingredients together.
- Place 1/2 the dough in the prepared pan place the filling mixture on the center of the dough, place the rest of the dough on the mixture. Try to pinch the dough together so filling is encased inside. Or roll out into a log about 20x 10. Then place cheese filling in the center down the long side of the roll, bringing the sides over to encase the filling. Then place into prepared pan and let rise 30 minutes. Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with almonds. Bake 350 for 45-60 minutes.