Instead of being baked in a swirly babka pan the Poles use, most Jewish people bake it in a loaf pan and, often, add a streusel topping. It's a delicious, rich version that is most commonly made in chocolate, cinnamon and almond varieties and, in my opinion, surpasses most Polish babkas I've tasted. This recipe makes 3 loaves but they freeze very well.
Here's a larger picture of cinnamon and almond babkas.
Makes 3 (9-by-5-inch) loaf pans of Jewish Cinnamon Babka
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon + 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup 110-degree water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened margarine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, separated + 1 large beaten egg white
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 (12-ounce) cans cinnamon filling (see below)
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons cold butter
- Stir yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into warm water. Set aside until frothy. Grease three (9-by-5-inch) loaf pans.
- Scald the milk and place in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add margarine and stir to melt. Add 1/2 cup sugar, salt, yeast mixture, and 3 beaten egg yolks.
- Add flour and knead until shiny and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat both sides, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This may take as long as 2 hours.
- Beat reserved egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Reserve. Prepare the streusel topping by mixing the flour and sugar and cutting in the butter as for pie dough.
- Punch down dough and divide into three parts. Working with one part at a time and covering the rest, roll into a large rectangle 1/8-inch thick.
- Spread dough with 2/3 of a can of cinnamon filling and then 1/3 the egg whites. Fold in the sides of dough and roll up tightly as for a jellyroll. Place in prepared pan. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with 1/3 the streusel topping. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until above the rim of the pan. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Place rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Bake babkas for 40-50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Let cool in pan 5 minutes and then carefully turn out onto a rack to cool completely.