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Giants' Victory Babka

GSnyde's picture

Giants' Victory Babka

Sports fans are notoriously superstitious.  Whatever they do on the day of a big win somehow becomes the cause of that win, and must be repeated in order to assure the next win.  So, I guess I have to bake Babka again today, Tuesday and Wednesday or the Giants are bound to face defeat.  Well...if they don't make it to the World Series, I'll take the blame cuz one Babka bake is enough for now. Yesterday, my first attempt at Babka (Chocolate-Cinnamon-Pecan) led to a thrilling one-run win in the Giants first NLCS game against the Phils.

Babka preparation is quite a big deal.  As Emperor Joseph II might have said to Mozart if he were a baker, there are just too many ingredients.  (No, I'm not comparing myself to Mozart; when he was my age, he'd been dead for 20 years).  Flour, yeast, salt, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, grated baker's chocolate, sugar, butter, pecans, flour, sugar, butter....and butter and sugar. There are also lots of steps.  But the results are worth the effort.




Now that I've mashed together themes from Baseball and Classical Music, here's the recipe, an adaptation from Glezer, as told by Stan Ginsburg:

Cinnamon-Chocolate-Pecan Babka (Adapted from Glezer via Stan Ginsburg)

Makes 3 loaves.

Dough Ingredients (measured in ounces)

BreadFlour 36  

WholeMilk 17.25

Unsalted butter 6.75 

Egg Yolks, large 2.5 - approximately 4 yolks

Sugar 9.75  

Instant Yeast 1.0 

Salt 0.25 

Vanilla Extract 0.65 

Ground Cinnamon  .30

Filling Ingredients 

Sugar 11.5  (1 ½ cup)

Unsweetened baker’s chocolate, grated 4.50 (1 ½ cup)

Toasted and chopped Pecans,   8.0 (2 cup)

Unsalted butter, melted (also for greasing pans)   6.00 (1 ½  stick)

Streusel Ingredients

Bread Flour 3.0

Sugar 1.50 

Unsalted butter, room temp 1.50 


  1.   Warm the milk to 105-110 degrees F.  Stir instant yeast into milk. Meanwhile, melt the butter for dough and allow to cool.
  2.  Add half (18 oz) of the flour to milk and yeast and mix until smooth. Allow to ferment about 30 min, until very foamy and volume triples.
  3.  Add remaining ingredients and blend using hands. Knead in the bowl until gluten forms and dough comes away from sides of bowl. This is a very rich, slack dough and it will take time for the gluten to form, but it will happen, so be patient.
  4.  Allow to ferment 45-60 min, until more than doubled in bulk and very gassy. Grease three loaf pans with butter. Turn dough out onto a generously floured board and pat firmly  to degas. Divide the dough into six pieces (two for each loaf).
  5.  Roll the first piece of dough into a very thin sheet, preferably less than 1/4". Using a silicon mat helps. Otherwise, make sure you have enough flour on hand to prevent sticking. When you finish rolling the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle it evenly with one sixth of the sugar,  chocolate and pecans. Roll it into a spiral, jelly-roll style. Repeat for other five pieces of dough.
  6.  Preheat your oven to 325 and set rack in lower third of oven. Twist two rolls of dough together to form a double helix, a/k/a a spiral, and arrange in the pan.  Repeat for other two loaves.  Allow to proof for 30-45 minutes, until the dough extends above the rim of the pan.
  7.  Brush top of babka with melted butter. Blend flour, sugar and softened butter into a coarse mixture and sprinkle generously on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until loaf is a rich, dark brown and it sounds hollow when tapped with a finger. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before tapping it out onto a rack to finish cooling for an hour.
  8. After cooled, enjoy Babka during final innings of Giants' victory.
These Babkas are a delicious moist coffee cake, not too sweet.  The only change I'd make is to add cinnamon to the filling as well as the dough.
Go Giants!  Go Nuts!

Submitted to YeastSpotting (


SylviaH's picture

wish I had a loaf, to offer my husband a slice or two, while he enjoys the game.  I'm not a sports fan, but your loaves look delicious to enjoy anytime!  Nice work!


Franko's picture

Mighty fine looking Glenn! I'm a sucker for anything that combines chocolate, nuts,  cinnamon, and of course butter, so as far as I'm concerned you've hit a home run. Good job!


GSnyde's picture

It is yummy.  We enjoyed it for dessert after turkey sandwiches on Friday's Psomi.

I want to thank Stan for bringing this recipe to my attention.  His (Glezer's) formula omits the Pecans.  I'm not sure the Giants would have held off the Phillies if the Babka had been nutless.


belfiore's picture

am glad you didn't make the Babka go looks like something I need to try and make. They look really good!


teketeke's picture

Holy moly, The crumb makes my mouth water... They looks so good, Glenn!  



GSnyde's picture


wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE


Great timing. I have been wanting to make something like this for a while. Maybe this will get me moving.

I did convert the ingredients to grams for anyone that prefers that. Also have you seen the shaping version of this that cuts the rolled up pieces in half then twists them together? Ciril Hitz calls it a Russian Braid and he used a different filling, but I think it would be a great way shape your Babka. PR shows the same thing in ABED for his Babka. Here is the link to the video.

Cinnamon-Chocolate-Pecan Babka (Adapted from Glezer via Stan Ginsburg) in grams.
Makes 3 loaves.
Dough Ingredients (measured in ounces and grams)
BreadFlour 36 1020.6 gr
WholeMilk 17.25 489.0 gr
Unsalted butter 6.75 191.4 gr
Egg Yolks, large 2.5 70.9 gr - approximately 4 yolks
Sugar 9.75 276.4 gr
Instant Yeast 1 28.3 gr
Salt 0.25 7.1 gr
Vanilla Extract 0.65 18.4 gr
Ground Cinnamon 0.3 8.5 gr
Filling Ingredients
Sugar 11.5 326.0 gr (1 ½ cup)
Unsweetened baker's chocolate, grated 4.5 127.6 gr (1 ½ cup)
Toasted and chopped Pecans, 8 226.8 gr (2 cup)
Unsalted butter, melted (also for greasing pans) 6 170.1 gr(1 ½ stick)
Streusel Ingredients
Bread Flour 3 85.0 gr
Sugar 1.5 42.5 gr
Unsalted butter, room temp 1.5 42.5 gr

Now I just gotta do it. Bye the way, your posts are always very entertaining. Do you feel pressure to continually outdo yourself :-)


GSnyde's picture

 Bye the way, your posts are always very entertaining. Do you feel pressure to continually outdo yourself :-)

Wayne, I never have much problem outdoing myself.  As long as you're easily entertained, I can be mildly entertaining.

Thanks for converting to grams.  And for the shaping idea.

Please do try this recipe.  I hope you enjoy the results as much as we did.


hanseata's picture

I'm sure I could enjoy that totally without any sports show...