Herbed Brie Babka

 

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An unusual bread, a savory babka, made with brioche dough, lots of fresh herbs and fresh brie. This is a Herbed Brie Babka. A babka is bread made of knots of two logs of breads. Usually, it's had as a dessert with a filling of Nutella or Milk Chocolate, my take at Babka featured 5 fresh Italian Herbs, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley and basil.
About Brioche
A brioche is a very rich dough. It's made with eggs, sugar, milk and yeast. This dough churns out breads which are soft and fluffy. Perfect for something like a Babka. Whenever, I am proofing a Brioche Dough, I recommend it to give it a day (not necessary).
Try making the dough a night before and refrigerate it in the fridge (in a bowl, cling wrapped). In the morning, keep it out for 30 minutes and then punch it before proofing it again for 1 hour, this will guarantee better results for any recipe using brioche dough.
Working with YEAST?
YEAST is nothing to be scared about, it’s honestly not Rocket Science. I use Active Dry Instant Yeast. If you’re using Fresh Yeast, just double the quantity. Here are a few tips which will help you to learn about yeast. I use Active Dry Instant Yeast.
Water: Only use Warm Water when trying to activate yeast. Both hot and cold water will kill the yeast. Use Lukewarm Water!
Salt vs Sugar: Sugar helps the yeast to activate, to make it frothy and to give a better rise. Whilst, salt is the opposite, it's an anti-agent. Salt should only be incorporated in the dough towards the final stages of it.
Proofing: YES IT REQUIRES PATIENCE! You need to find a warm place, a Switched Off oven is the best place to proof your bread. In areas where it's generally cold or during Winters, it will take longer to proof say about a little bit more than an hour. But during Warm Climate or/and Humid Weather, it will take relatively shorter, close to around 40 minutes.
Enough about yeast! All I am saying is it’s nothing to be scared about.
Braiding the Babka
If you're new to babka, here's how you can braid your loaf into a traditional babka. Once your dough has gone through its first proof, flatten it out using a rolling pin. Flatten it, till it's really thin (not an issue if it tears a bit from the middle). Add your toppings on the flattened dough. Now take a pizza cutter or a dough cutter, cut the dough into two, slice it right from the middle. If your edges are not linear, cut the edges as well. I used up all my extra edges, by rolling them into a tight ball and making a burger bun as well (sustainability).
Once your edges are linear for both the parts, you would need to roll each part into a tight log from right to the left. Do it for both. Now you have two log like doughs. Take the right log and put it on top of left and then the left over right, keep braiding till both are braided together. Pinch and combine both the ends of the babka so it's completely closed and tucked in.
You'll get the hang of it. It's a lot of fun.
The Flour Used
This bread was made using TwF Flour, Series C Flour. The C8318 is my go-to flour for brioche doughs and babka's. It's unbleached and crafter for rich dough flour, gave me a lot more stretchability to work with and made my bread super soft. Here's the link to it:
https://twfflours.com/c?source=boyeatsworld
Alright, let's get to the recipe now!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Proofing Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Course Evening
Cuisine Italian, Polish
Yields 1 Babka

Equipment

  • oven
  • Stand Mixer (Optional)
  • Pizza Cutter / Dough Cutter
  • 9*4 Loaf Pan
  • Brush

Ingredients
  

For the Brioche Dough

  • 1.5 tsp Active Dry Instant Yeast
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 cups TwF Series C8318 Flour (All Purpose Flour)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk (for eggwash)
  • 4 tbsp /½ stick Unsalted Butter (soft)
  • ½ tbsp Sea Salt

For the Filling

  • 150 g Brie Cheese (thinly sliced)
  • Few sprigs of Fresh Rosemary (washed and chopped)
  • Few sprigs of Fresh Thyme (washed and chopped)
  • 2-3 Fresh Basil (washed and chopped)
  • Few sprigs of Fresh Oregano (washed and chopped)
  • Few sprigs of Fresh Parsley (washed and chopped)
  • ½ tbsp Dried Oregano
  • Olive Oil to brush
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • ½ tbsp Red Chilli Flakes

Instructions
 

  • Take a bowl, whisk together Sugar, Yeast and Some of the Milk and let it sit to Froth properly.
  • Next add All Purpose Flour (TwF Series C8318) onto a Plain Surface and make a well (alternatively, you may use a stand mixer with dough hook attachment as well).
  • Add in your Yeast Sugar mixture and start kneading. Start adding in the remaining milk at this point and knead well. Next, add the egg as well and keep kneading.
  • Once the dough starts to come together, add the butter and the salt. Generate heat from your palms and try to form the dough and knead into a tight ball.
  • Lightly grease a glass bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, cling wrapping it. You may cover it with a muslin cloth as well.  Proof the dough in a switched off oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until double in size. You may leave it overnight as well.
  • Once your dough has proofed, flatten it out using a rolling pin. You may use dry flour to help flatten the dough out. Flatten it, till it's really thin (not an issue if it tears a bit from the middle). It should be about ½ inch from the edges.
  • Brush the entire dough with a bit of oil and season it with salt, black pepper, oregano and red chili flakes. Add sliced brie as well at this point, just randomly around the dough. Next add all the fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano & parsley) to it, and season just a bit again.
  • Now take a pizza cutter or a dough cutter, cut the dough into two, slice it right from the middle. If your edges are not linear, cut the edges as well. I used up all my extra edges, by rolling them into a tight ball and making a burger bun.
  • Once your edges are linear for both the parts, you would need to roll each part into a tight log from right to the left. Do it for both. Your flattened dough should look like 2 rolls at this point.
  • Now you have two log like doughs. Take the right log and put it on top of left and then the left over right, keep braiding till both are braided together. Pinch and combine both the ends of the babka so it's completely closed and tucked in.
  • Put the babka into a Loaf Pan, allowing it to rest for 45 minutes more or until bigger. Preheat the oven to 180°C when you feel like it's almost done. Brush the top and edges of the dough with an Egg Yolk mixture (just a bit).
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Keep checking at this point. Every Oven works differently. You might need to cover the babka with foil if you feel like its browning way too fast! Allow it to cool slightly before removing it from the pan.

Closing Note

And the freshest bread with the freshest herbs is ready! Have it with cream cheese, or with just butter and jam. Make a Sandwich out of it and taste (and smell) each herb with every bite you take. You can also try and have a Cheddar Cheese Toast of it. 
Wanna bake more breads. Here's more recipes for you:
Keyword babka, bread, brioche, dough, freshdough, herbs, richdough

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