Babka

I sent an email to my teams this morning, telling them that there was Babka at my desk, and my friend Sergey came over to tell me that “Babka” is kind of a rude way to refer to one’s grandmother in Russian. Oops. There go my cultural sensitivity points for the day. For this week’s “Rose’s Alpha Bakers” recipe, there were 3 filling variations offered, and I went for the third: a tart apricot spread with a layer of slightly sweetened cream cheese.

The only drawback to yeast breads is that they require a bit of forethought. It’s great because it’s forgiving and can be ignored for a little while with few bad consequences, but you do have to start it plenty early.

This one starts with a sponge, which is generally some of the flour, water, and yeast. The other dry ingredients are mixed together, and dusted over the wet works. Add the butter so that it can soften while the sponge ferments, then when you’re ready to mix, add the rest of the wet works.

Dough prep
Dough prep

That’s my dough, ready to mix. I apparently missed taking any other pictures of the dough, but it really looks the same as any other yeast dough.

While the dough was chilling in the fridge, I made the filling. As I mentioned, I went with apricots. Partly this was because I didn’t have any cake crumbs for the chocolate option, and partly because I didn’t want to buy almond paste for the almond version. So I bought apricots and orange juice instead.

Ready to purée
Ready to purée

You start by simmering the apricots in orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar. Then puree them. Then spread that on the dough. Then add a cream cheese/sugar/egg white mixture.

Here you can see the gorgeous spring sun shining in my baking window. Don’t let that fool you though. It got to a high of  4 degrees Celsius yesterday!

Getting ready to roll
Getting ready to roll

The apricot goo and cream cheese spread out much more easily than I was expecting on this super soft super sticky dough. I guess the chilling helped, but so did a generous dusting of flour. One extra hand made it a lot easier to get this into the pan to rise.

Rising in the sunshine
Rising in the sunshine

I cut a quarter of the loaf and kept it at home for Jay & I.

Apparently I don't roll tightly.
Apparently I don’t roll tightly.

After going out for lunch with most of my old dev team today, and eating way too much beef brisket, I decided to skip dessert tonight, but this made a great breakfast with my coffee this morning. The 3/4 I took to work disappeared, and was greatly appreciated by a few people, including Sergey, despite the name. 😉 The apricot filling was quite tart, but once I knew to expect that, I really enjoyed it. The bread itself has a great texture! Now I want to try the other fillings.

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