This Jewish treat is a hybrid of sweet roll, swirl bread, and coffee cake. It's a sweet yeast dough that you roll out, fill, and roll up like a jelly roll, then cut, twist, and bake in a loaf pan. Don't worry: It looks fancy (and it IS a little messy), but it's seriously easy to do. And once you get the dough down, you can try it with other fillings.

Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
35 mins
additional:
3 hrs 20 mins
total:
4 hrs 25 mins
Servings:
24
Yield:
3 loaves
Advertisement

Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For Dough:
For Walnut Filling:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir white sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and salt into hot milk in a small bowl until butter is melted and mixture is lukewarm. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, sprinkle yeast over warm water; stir to dissolve.

    Advertisement
  • Stir milk mixture into yeast mixture. Add 2 eggs and 2 1/2 cups of the flour; beat on high until combined. With mixer on low, add remaining 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time.

  • Switch to the dough hook; mix until dough leaves sides of bowl, about 5 minutes. Set dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, turning dough to coat top. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

  • Prepare walnut filling while dough rises. Lightly beat 3 eggs in a large bowl. Stir in brown sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Fold in walnuts.

  • Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a large, lightly floured surface, cover with the bowl, and let rest 10 minutes. Line three 9x5-inch loaf pans with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides.

  • Divide dough into thirds; roll each third out to a 12-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Spoon 1/3 of the walnut filling onto each dough square and spread to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Roll up each square tightly as for a jelly roll. Pinch ends and seams closed to seal. With your palms, roll logs back and forth until uniformly round.

  • With a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut 1 log in half lengthwise to form 2 striped strands. Working quickly, twist strands loosely together with cut sides facing out, making 2 or 3 wide, horizontal twists. Fit into one of the prepared pans, patting back any loose filling and tucking ends under, if needed. It might look like a mess now, but it comes out beautifully!

  • Repeat with remaining logs and pans. Cover pans with a towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Loaves should not rise above top edges of pans.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush loaf tops with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter.

  • Bake loaves until puffed, well browned, and a thermometer inserted in centers registers 200 degrees F (93 degrees C), 35 to 45 minutes. Tent with foil if tops brown before loaves are done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then use parchment to lift from pans and transfer to a wire rack.

  • Cool completely, about 1 hour. Glaze if desired, then slice crosswise to serve.

Cook's Note:

Babka can be wrapped well and frozen up to 2 months. Remove from freezer and let thaw at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

338 calories; protein 7.4g; carbohydrates 34.7g; fat 20g; cholesterol 54mg; sodium 158.1mg. Full Nutrition
Advertisement

Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
03/30/2018
I made this recipe but instead of 4 cups of walnuts, I used 2 cups of raisins and 2 cups of chopped pecans. For the raisins I boiled them in a cup of water for 1 minute then let them stand in the water until I was ready to use them. This extra step makes for plump juicy raisins. I then followed the instructions as shown to make the "braid". This technic created the most beautiful Babka I've ever made. This recipe is a keeper. I will try next time using seedless raspberry jam and bittersweet chocolate. Just an idea for new bakers, if you don't have an oven that proofs bread, turn your oven on to its lowest temp (125 degrees) and once its reached it turn the oven off and leave the door open a crack to cool down. When your ready to proof the dough you will have the perfect warm draft free place to do it. Make sure you close the oven door while the dough is raising. Good luck hope it works as well for you as it has for me. Read More
(8)
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
03/30/2018
I made this recipe but instead of 4 cups of walnuts, I used 2 cups of raisins and 2 cups of chopped pecans. For the raisins I boiled them in a cup of water for 1 minute then let them stand in the water until I was ready to use them. This extra step makes for plump juicy raisins. I then followed the instructions as shown to make the "braid". This technic created the most beautiful Babka I've ever made. This recipe is a keeper. I will try next time using seedless raspberry jam and bittersweet chocolate. Just an idea for new bakers, if you don't have an oven that proofs bread, turn your oven on to its lowest temp (125 degrees) and once its reached it turn the oven off and leave the door open a crack to cool down. When your ready to proof the dough you will have the perfect warm draft free place to do it. Make sure you close the oven door while the dough is raising. Good luck hope it works as well for you as it has for me. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
02/17/2018
I saw this recipe in my Allrecipes magazine and knew I wanted to make it. It was a very easy dough to prepare. The filling was quickly made. It reminds me of making cinnamon rolls in that you roll out the dough (although thinner than cinnamon rolls) spread with filling and roll up. Then the dough log is cut in half lengthwise and braided before putting into a loaf pan. Yes it is kind of messy but really does make a very tasty and beautiful loaf--it will impress your friends! I will be making this again as you can use many different fillings. One suggested in Allrecipes magazine is using peanut butter and jelly and that is one my hubby would love. I followed the recipe as written but since I was "road-testing" it I did only make half a recipe--it made one full sized loaf and a small loaf. Next time I will make the full recipe. Thank you Nicholio for sharing this recipe! Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
05/25/2018
Made this today and it turned out great. Twisting them was a bit of a challenge as the filling was a little wet and seemed to overload the dough. Cooking erased my worries though. I made the cinnamon raisin ones and drisled icing on them. Read More
(2)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
04/04/2020
It was awesome! It was sweet but not too sweet. I made 3 loves and froze 2. My husband ate 3/4 of it himself!! The only parts I had trouble with was braiding it, it got quite messy, but the filling that squished out I just put on top of the dough. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
10/23/2020
This is delicious. I'll be making this often. The only changes I made was to add raisins and less walnuts, plus I brushed it with an egg wash instead of butter. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/12/2020
I made this today, and you are right it's messy, but so worth it! followed the recipe exactly and I will definitely be making this again and again. Read More
Advertisement
Rating: 4 stars
04/06/2020
Great recipe !! turned out great. I used walnuts instead of pecans. Not sweat at all but a great taste. Read More
Advertisement