The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ITJB Week 14: Loaf Babka (3/10/12 - 3/17/12) -- last week of Semester One baking!

  • Pin It
Urchina's picture
Urchina

ITJB Week 14: Loaf Babka (3/10/12 - 3/17/12) -- last week of Semester One baking!

Babka rocks. 

I will eat it always, now that I have eaten it once. 

This recipe is particularly good. I can say this with certainty, having tried no others and not feeling the need to, since this recipe hits all of my "happy pastry dance" buttons perfectly. 

This is also the last week of Semester One of the challenge. I'll be posting Semester Two within (hopefully) a week to ten days, but Semester Two won't start until early to mid-April. 

Thank you all for your fantastic baking efforts so far -- and enjoy this one!

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

We really enjoyed this last week of the semester and are looking forward to Urchina posting the next one and getting started in Mid April. Can't wait to see the challenges she chooses for us.  

These loaves were easy to make and bake and will definitely be done again by each of us. Whether in Washington state or Texas they went over well with all of our family tasters.  The Texas sisters each made almond and chocolote separate loaves and in Washington it was chocolate all the way!  

Here are our pictures: 

Starting with our guru elder sister in Washington, Barb's (gmabaking), and her beautiful loaves. Nicely twisted and beautifully marbled. 

Moving right across and to the south, Ft. Worth, TX; Helen's (gmabaking2), and her almond loaf, and chocolate loaf. Again the twist is beautiful and the loaves were very well received by her children and grandchildren.

And now finishing this picture posting with mine, (gmagmabaking2) Diane. I also made almond and chocolate and they were a hit! I personally love the almond filling recipe in this cookbook and spread it in nice and thick any opportunity I have!  

My twists don't show up as well because, I believe, I twisted them too tight, especially on the chocolate one, the filling smooshed out a bit through the dough when I twisted, so I am sure I was not gentle enough, but man oh man do they all taste wonderful.  These will definitely show up on all of our tables again at family gatherings and to take to friends gatherings, and maybe to pot lucks... You get the idea. We were impressed with the great result and the easy process.

 

Thank you Urchina, Stan, Norm and Floyd for making this challenge so fun... I believe we learned some great lessons from it and did some good for the new edition of Stan and Norm's book. Most importantly we learned about the great bakeries and Jewish history and cooking techniques we would otherwise have not known anything about.  My younger sister, Helen,  here in Texas with me are California natives so we have none of Barb's memories of Michigan and going to little bakeries with our Grandma.  This was new territory for us and we really enjoyed the tour. 

Thanks again. 

Diane (gmagmabaking2)

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

are doing ITJB  a fabulous job at reproducing a nearly lost art and having fun at it - not to mention having some really good bread to eat.    Keep up the good work!

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

learning the new recipes and the culture... Thank you for the kind words. We are really enjoying the challenge recipes that Urchina picks out...  eagerly waiting to see what the next semester will bring. 

HB

 

varda's picture
varda

Did you sisters use cake crumbs as called for, or a substitution?   I see that for other recipes, people substituted bread crumbs or graham crackers for the cake crumbs.  -Varda

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

Yes, we all used cake crumbs, albeit differently. I used crumbs that I kept from the honey cake we made earlier in the challenge semester, mixed into the chocolate before spreading,  and Helen and Barb both baked fresh chocolate cake to crumble up. I believe Helen used yellow cake crumbs in her almond Babka... The cake crumbs gave it a nice sweetness to the fillings without being over sweet.  We will definitely bake these agan.  

carlene's picture
carlene

I am currently on a business trip in Washington DC, so no opportunity to bake.  Your loaves look wonderful!  They are making me hungry!  I am going to try them when I get home, but will be late in posting.

Carlene

varda's picture
varda

Hi,   This wasn't a good time for me to make a babka, so I sent the recipe to a friend and she made it with the cinnamon sugar filling.   She just sent me back a picture:

Now I'm wishing I had made it!

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

Wow, your friend did a great job making the Babka loaf... Did she send any by overnight mail with those pictures? Yeah, I am thinking you are gonna want to make this one, and then make it again. It is really very good.

loydb's picture
loydb

I'm a day behind, but I'll be baking this tomorrow. In the ingredient list, it calls for simple syrup, but I don't see it used anywhere in the actual recipe. Am I just missing it?

Thanks!

 

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

I haven't checked the recipe, but my guess would be the simple syrup is for those (like me) who didn't make the streusel topping. I melted about 1/4 cup of apricot jam and brushed it on while warm from the oven.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

I love your postings, the three grandma sisters , beautiful pictures, too!  I made a couple of loaves this morning, used ITJB dough, which I made last night.  It's the richest babka dough I've seen, and I thought it would never come together; it did, barely, after 25 minutes at second speed with the K/A Pro 6.  I divided it in thirds, froze one third, and refrigerated the other two overnight.  The dough handled like a breeze this morning.  I had made a babka awhile back from Epicurious using Peter Reinhart's chocolate filling technique, which I repeated today.  I froze 7-8 oz of semisweet chocolate chunks (Trader Joe's Pound Plus Bittersweet) and ground them in the food processor with 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup cold butter, a pinch of salt and 2 TBS sugar.   This time, I added a second filling that I found in 2008 on the Internet, an article called "Inviting an Old Friend to the Hanukkah Table" from the NY Times.   This recipe is from Mrs. London's of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and I spread it on first, then the raisins and cinnamon/sugar on top, then topped all of that with the chocolate mixture.  

3 oz. almond paste (I keep mine in the freezer), 1 large egg white, 1/2 TBSP melted butter, 1 1/4 cup cake crumbs (recipe called for 3 cups but all I had were the 1 1/4 cups of mandelbrot crumbs, which had cinnamon, sugar and some almond crumbs mixed in), 1 cup dark raisins (plumped in boiling water then soaked in 3 TBSP sherry for a half hour, then drained--yummy sherry!), 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Wow!  The first 4 ingredients got ground in the food processor and then the raisins and cinnamon/sugar topped that mixture.  On top of it all went the aforementioned chocolate mixture.  

Here's a picture of the two loaves, but--please forgive me--I'm not cutting into them until much later, when I won't have time to photograph them (I know--that's the beauty of the babka).  I rolled them, sealed the ends, doubled them over and then twisted them.  I washed the tops with egg white and spread Reinhart's streusel on top:  1/4 cup cold butter, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, pinch salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, blended together.  The one on the left was made in a smaller (8.5 x 4.5) loaf pan; the one on the right, a 9 x 5.  The first, narrower and shorter one rose higher, but, as you can see, it split across the top.   With all that filling, no wonder it split (smells divine!). 

What a great way to end this first half of the challenge!

Joy

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

I am sure those will be a great hit when you do slice them. I have truly enjoyed mine with coffee, for days now... even day old and beyond they are great! I agree with you that it was a great finish to a fun semester of baking. Thanks for the kind words.

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

 Joyfulbaking (love that name by the way)

Hope it is okay with you, I copied your filling recipe and am looking forward to rolling some soft sweet dough around it. I can almost smell that butter streusel topping just from the picture.

Thank you for the kind words. While all three of us talk, experiment and bake, only one is responsible for making us look and sound good. Thank you Diane, for all your hard work especially your persistence in learning about posting pictures, and for writing the story of our baking each week.

The Spring break from the challenge came just in time for me to really get involved in Silverton's "Breads from the La Brea Bakery"  Have made sourdough breads off and on through the years with never a fantastic amount of success. A few weeks ago someone asked TFL for recommendations for getting started. I had just received the book from the library but hadn't made any commitment to really do anything except read it. Decided to take the suggestions to heart and repeat one recipe until I feel that I know what to expect. Have made the first bread recipe twice, Country White, both times with that wonderful "I can't believe that came from my oven" feeling. Tomorrow will try the Mozza pizza. After seeing the picture here, found the recipe  online, printed with her permission along with her meatball recipe. 

One of the grandma sisters

hanseata's picture
hanseata

look really nice. I made one as a tester, and we loved it.

Unfortunately I can't participate in the challenge that often, one per week is too much for my schedule, but I will try at least to join now and then.

Happy baking,

Karin

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Here is my yeast yater version of a pumped up Polish Babka.  Delicious!

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

How nice to hear from the "gma's"!  I too am a "gma" and those little ones are such inspiration for making whatever's good.  I make granola for them routinely, which the almost-3-year-old always asks for.  Later  on, I'm bringing babka for them (and their parents and uncle, too).  I just had to cut off a chunk for me and "gpa" to taste.  Hence the crumb shot below. 

Gmabaking, I enjoyed your take on Silverton's book and recipes (I bought it but have done very little with it), and I'm inspired to get in there and bake.  The pizza may be a good place to get started.

Dabrownman, that's one heck of a babka.  Thanks for sharing those luscious photos.  Looks like those are raisins and dried cranberries inside.  Don't know if they were "plumped," but I had great success hydrating the raisins in boiling water, draining the water and then letting them sit in some cream sherry for a half hour, draining them before adding them to the filling (makes that sherry taste so good!).

So here's that crumb shot.  BTW, the crumb is light and moist--and delicious.  What a winning babka dough recipe, Stan and Norm!  When the loaf was cut, the plumpy raisins spilled out all over the board--but I cleaned 'em up before plating! (<;

Joy

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

AWESOME... joyfulbaker, that is a great looking Babka... we are actually 2 great grammas and 1 gramma... the little ones are such a blessing... as, of course, are the older ones, and the older ones. ;-)

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is to die for Joyful!  It must taste great too.  It looks like the perfect babka.  Your sherry re-hydration sounds delicious too.  I rehydrate apricots, cranberries and raisins in bourbon and most of the excess bourbon, if there is any, goes into the bread filling ;-) I look for recipes that I can substitute yeast water for commercial yeast.  I posted the complete, if complicated, recipe and other photos on my blog a few minutes ago.

Happy baking!

Glad I could join you Grannies these last couple of weeks.  Grannies and their daughters even teach some of their their men how to cook, bake and so many other things not worth mentioning :-)

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

gmagmabaking2 and dwbrownman for your kind words.  Much appreciated!  Of course all those crumbs are gone now.  Better attend to that last third of dough nestled in the freezer!

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

I have TWO parts still in the freezer!... Might have to work on another almond one and another chocolate! ;-)