SMiLes by Meg

Nutella Babka

So I didn’t actually have time to make babka this weekend. I had errands to run. And work to do. And laundry to fold.

But I really wanted to make this babka. It’s so pretty! And full of Nutella! And this Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, so I needed something good to treat myself before my yearly no-sweets-for-Lent challenge.

Plus, Cloudy Kitchen, who has an amazing instagram, made it look easy. So I decided to go for it.

When I told my mom I was making Nutella Babka, she balked. “You make too many Nutella things,” she accused. First of all, that sentence doesn’t make sense. Second, in over five years of this blog, I’ve only made three Nutella recipes: Nutella Brownies, Nutella Rice Krispies, and Braided Nutella Bread. If anything, I haven’t made ENOUGH Nutella recipes.

So this babka. Start by activating the yeast. Do so by combining the warm milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to let it foam up.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, whisk together the flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and foamy yeast mixture. Mix on low speed with the dough hook for 2 minutes. Then, increase to medium speed and allow to run for 10 minutes.

Next, reduce the speed to low again, and add the butter, a pat at a time, into the mixer, beating until completely combined after each addition.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour and a half, until doubled in size.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until about 15×25 inches.

Spread with Nutella, leaving about 1/2 inch border around the outsides.

Sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts.

Roll the dough, starting at a long side, into a tight rollup. Cut in half and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.

After an hour, cut the roll in half lengthwise. Wrap together a couple of times to create a loaf.

Place each loaf into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature for an hour.

When you’re ready to bake, whisk together an egg and 1 tablespoon of water and brush over the loaves. I’ve gotten pretty generous in my egg washes – I think it really does make a better final result.

Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes, until golden.

Use the parchment paper to remove the loaves from the wire rack to cool.

And now you’ve got not one, but TWO Nutella Babka loaves. And really, what could be better than that?

One of these (which I’ve already broken into) is going to work tomorrow. The other is being packed up and shipped to Anchorage, so Erik can have some SMiLes by Meg love.

Enjoy!

Nutella Babka

Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, lukewarm
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups Nutella
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • Egg wash – 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yeast, lukewarm milk, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt.
  3. With the stand mixer set on low speed and fitted with the hook attachment, add the eggs, vanilla extract, and foamy yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix for 3 minutes.
  4. Increase speed to medium and allow mixer to run for 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce speed to low, and add butter, a pat at a time, making sure to allow butter to fully incorporate. Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes more.
  6. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
  7. Roll dough out into a rectangle 15×25 inches on a lightly floured surface. Spread dough with Nutella. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.
  8. Roll dough, starting on a long edge, into a tight roll. Cut in half and place pieces on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  9. Remove from oven and cut each log in half lengthwise. Twist dough together into two loaves. Place each into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature for an hour.
  11. Before baking, brush with egg wash. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes, until golden brown.
  12. Use parchment paper to remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

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