Updated: Jun 11, 2021
I love the flavors of orange and cinnamon with the ground walnuts. You can play with the consistency of the walnuts to give this sweet brioche-like bread more or less texture.
1 packet active dry yeast (or 2 teaspoons)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (can use vegetable oil)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 - 3 cups all purpose flour (as much needed)
1 tsp kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
1 cup crushed walnuts (it should resemble polenta)
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely grated orange peel
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg white, beaten until a meringue consistency.
Fold all ingredients except the grated orange in a mixing bowl until smooth. Set aside.
Streusel (the yummy crumbly bits on top):
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp salt
Combining the ingredients in a mixing bowl until well they form a crumbly consistency.
Activate the yeast by mixing 1 teaspoon of sugar, yeast and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Allow it to rest until it froths.
In the meantime, place flour, sugar, in a an electric mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture when ready. Mix with a dough hook and on low speed until combined. Add eggs and water, and mix on medium speed until dough comes together. This should take approximately 2-3 minutes. Add salt, then butter or oil, and mix until incorporated. Continue mixing until dough is smooth, elastic, and forms a ball.
Place dough in a large bowl. Brush it with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day or overnight.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Roll it very finely. I make mine no thicker than a centimeter thick.
Prepare the filling and streusel and set aside.
Position dough so that a long side is closest to you. Spread the cinnamon filling over the rectangle. Sprinkle orange rind, and raisins, if using.
Use both hands to roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side closest to you and ending at the other long end.
Turn it over see that the seam is on the bottom and you have a smooth surface on top.
Cut along the centre of the long roll. It should fall away to reveal layers.
Criss cross the layers in the middle and then twist over them.
Once twisted, fold in round and the place in a baking tin.
Allow to rise for at least two hours
Brush with egg white and then sprinkle with streusel.
Bake at 175 degrees centigrade for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
See how I roll and shape babka: