Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Streusel Topped Babka

I am a little late with this post, but this past week has been hectic.  I decided I would rather wait until I could post without being rushed.

Since the last few posts have been very rich and indulgent, I decided I would go with something lighter and more in the cake family for this week.  This particular recipe is for a breakfast or coffee cake.  The bread part made from a wonderful brioche dough.  Brioche loaves are a favorite around here just simply served with butter.

However, I have no aversion to the additions to this bread.  Cocoa, cinnamon, pecans and walnuts swirl through the middle of the dough.  They are actually made like cinnamon rolls but the swirled dough slices are put in a loaf pan and shaped slightly.  The rising and egg wash is what actually brings the dough slices together.  Also, if that was not enough to hold the loaf together, it has been topped with quite a bit streusel.

The slices of this cake went over well at work and actually drew out a few introductions from some of the people.  I am glad the recipe made 3 loaves. Please note that the dough has to rest overnight prior to baking, so plan in advance.

Streusel Topped Babka
adapted from Great Coffeecakes

Ingredients/Babka dough
3/4 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter ( in between temp/consistency, not soft and not hard)
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp or 1 1/2 pkgs yeast
3/4 tsp salt
3 3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (lightly packed)
2 tbs plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 cup very soft butter
1 large egg beaten with 2 tsp water for egg wash

3 tbs finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6-7 tbs butter

To make the dough, warm a small bowl by rinsing in warm water.  Then fill with 1 tsp of sugar and warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast on top-do not stir.  Cover the bowl with a saucer and let sit for 2 minutes. After it sets, uncover and swirl the bowl.  Repeat again with the time being 2 minutes. Cover for an additional minute, then uncover and stir.  Cover for one last interval of 3 minutes for yeast to get bubbly and foamy.

Using a stand mixer, blend the flour, sugar and salt.  Once mixed, add the butter and run mixer on low for about 3 minutes.

Take out a separate bowl and blend sour cream, eggs and vanilla.  Then add the dissolved yeast.  Take this mixture and pour it into the butter flour blend in the stand mixer.  Turn the mixer on low and let run for about 3-4 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead a few times until it is no longer sticky.  Divide into 3 pieces and place each in a small plastic bag and seal.  There should be enough room in the bag to allow for dough to expand and rise.  Refrigerate overnight.

The next day. prepare 3 of the 8X3 3/4 inch loaf pans by brushing the interior with some of the butter.  Then place a strip of parchment 3 inches wide by 15 inches long in each pan, making sure the long length hangs outside of the long sides of each pan.  It should be like a cross. Also line a baking sheet (with a slight lip on it) with parchment paper.

To make the filling, stir together the cinnamon, cocoa, bread crumbs and both type of sugars.  Set aside. 

Take one piece of dough out of refrigerator.  Place on floured surface and knead a few times.  Add 1/3 of the pecans.  Knead them into the dough evenly until the dough is no longer sticky.  Roll the dough into a rectangle.  It should be 12 inches and parallel to the counter with the left and right sides measuring 9 inches.

Spread surface of the dough with 1/3 of the remaining butter, leaving a 1 1/2 border at the top of the 12 inch length.  Sprinkle top with  1//3 cup of the cinnamon cocoa blend, leaving the top border blank.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.  Press filling slightly into the dough.  Brush the 1 1/2 inch border with the egg wash.

Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough up toward the egg wash side.  Once a log has formed, pinch the egg wash edge against the log. After the initial roll up, roll a few more times on a floured board to tighten the dough and keep it sealed.  The log should be the same length as the original dough length of 12 inches.

Cut the log into eight pieces.  Then brush egg wash on the uncut outside dough of each piece, leaving one side without the egg wash to put up against the pan.  Place the pieces ,with the cut side down, in two rows of four going down the length of the pan.  Then push down slightly.  Also push from the sides inward to make it into a loaf mound.  Repeat the steps in this is paragraph as well as the 3 prior for the other two mounds of dough in the refrigerator. Once completed, cover each loaf with a clean towel and place in a warm area to rise.  Rising time should be about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

To make the streusel place the butter in a small sauce pan over low heat until almost all is melted. Remove and let cool.   In another bowl, mix together all the rest of the ingredients.  Stir dry ingredients into melted butter.  Stir until mixture has coarse crumbs and can clump in your hand.

Let the mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Brush the tops of the loaves (that have completed rising) with egg wash and sprinkle the streusel on top. Place the loaf pans evenly on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake until done about 30-35 minutes.  Check at the mid point to make sure loaves are not browning to fast.  You can slow down browning process by placing foil over the areas that  are toasting too fast.

Remove pans and let loaves cool.  When cooled, lift out by using the parchment paper in pans.  Slice and serve.
                      **LAST YEAR: Renegade Cookies***