CHRISTMAS BABKA
Timescale
Relaxed
Serves
6
Difficulty 
Moderate
Babka is one of our absolute favourite sweet treats. We've imparted some of the flavours of Christmas into this babka, with cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon and cloves. Shaped into a festive wreath - this is the perfect indulgence for your Christmas.
INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

2 Large Eggs

120g Milk

24g Caster Sugar

24g Honey

420g Strong Flour

18g Fresh Yeast

4g Salt

170g Butter, melted

FILLING

225g Unsalted Butter, melted

200g Light Brown Sugar

4 Tbsp Christmas Spice Mix, (if you can't find any, you can make your own following this recipe)

60g Cup of Dried Cranberries

FINISH

50g Water

50g Caster Sugar

METHOD

THE DOUGH

 

1. To make the dough, place in order the egg, milk, sugar, honey and flour in a mixer with a dough hook affix to it (if you don't have a dough hook or mixer a large bowl and wooden spoon will work just fine).

In a small recipient, mix the fresh yeast with a squeeze of lemon, until it forms a paste (this is a great way to remove the taste of yeast) and add it to the rest of the ingredients. Knead for two minutes on the lowest speed.

2. Add the salt to the mixer and increase the speed for two to three minutes. 

3. Gently melt the butter and gradually add it in the mixer, until the dough is elastic and shiny. 

4. Form into a ball and prove for 4-5 hours or overnight in the fridge. 

THE ASSEMBLY

 

1. Melt the butter for the filling and add it to the Christmas spice mix. If it is too liquid and not spreadable, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes until it has a spread-like consistency. 

2. Take out your babka dough out of the fridge, divide in two and roll out on a lightly floured surface to two 25cm by 45cm rectangle. 

3. Using a palette knife spread the Christmas butter evenly and all the way to the edge of the two doughs. 

4. Roughly cut the dried cranberries and scatter over the the doughs.

 

5. Tightly roll up the two babkas into logs, lengthwise. Cover with cling film and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, or until firm. (This will make the cutting clean and much easier).

6. Remove the dough from the freezer, and using a large knife, cut down the middle lengthwise. Hold the two halves of dough against each other with the exposed layers exposed on top, and twist them over and over to form a braid effect. 

 

7. Transfer the two braided doughs to a parchment lined and buttered round tin (10 inch or 26cm in diameter), merging the two doughs together and ensuring a tight fit. Cover with a damp towel and proof for another 2-3 hours at room temperature. I also placed an empty can in the middle, lined with parchment paper to ensure the dough did not fall in the centre. 

8. Bake at 155°C for 1 hour 15 minutes. Make sure to place foil over it after 30-45 minutes, to protect to top from turning too dark. 

9. Meanwhile, make a sugar syrup by adding the water and sugar to a small saucepan. Heat while whisking until the sugar is dissolved and allow to cool. 

10. As soon as your babka comes out of the oven, place on wire racks and brush it down with the syrup. Scatter additional dried cranberries, orange zest and roasted flaked almonds. Allow to cool for at least an hour before slicing and serving. 

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