Happy Monday from our sleepy, milky corner of Alabama. I promise I am planning on giving the real-deal scoop on our new little Charlie guy ASAP, but because I’m not sure if anything I’m typing is even coherent (Is it? Am I still sane? Do you guys still love me?), I’ll skip the mumbo jumbo and go head-first into today’s baked good of choice: blueberry babka.
There’s a number of reasons I love this blueberry babka. First, have you ever made bread? Like, a real yeast-risen bread loaded with butter and swirled with fruit filling? It’s a good choice. This blueberry babka is tender, mildly flavored, and makes some of the best dang buttered toasts your breakfasts will have ever experienced. My kids are huge on the toast bandwagon these days and I love being able to offer something new and homemade that feels special. This blueberry babka is just the ticket.
No lie, making a homemade babka can be super intimidating. I get a little nervy about it every time I saddle up to the counter, but if you follow instructions the bread can be very forgiving and is worth taking a stab at. Here’s the lowdown on how to make it. First, we dissolve yeast in a bowl of warm milk and allow it to bubble and froth. An egg and egg yolk comes next and is combined with the milk before we add the dry ingredients. As the flour, sugar, and salt get stirred in, the dough becomes a lot more tough, and you’ll be glad to have a stand mixer on hand to do the grunt work for you. Finally, highly quality butter (and loads of it) are added to the mix to create a stringy, soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl easily.
Undoubtedly, you already know that I rely on Kerrygold butter for this job. Anytime butter plays a leading role in a recipe, it’s important to call upon a quality product that is well-flavored and loaded with the best kind of fat. Kerrygold is always my choice for babka, and their large blocks are the perfect amount for this recipe.
The only semi-annoying thing about making this blueberry babka is that the dough has to rest overnight. This allows the dough to chill and the flavors to amp up. After a few hours in the fridge, we’re ready to roll out our dough. Use a floured rolling pin and a floured workspace to roll the dough into a large rectangle. Work quickly to keep your dough chilly! Next, we spread a blueberry jam/lemon zest mixture all over the dough. I prefer to use quality store bought jam here to save time, but if you’d prefer something different, go for it! The added lemon zest gives dimension to the filling flavor and prevents it from being way too sweet. Roll the dough tightly, slice it down the middle and roll the two strands of dough together to keep the exposed innards facing upwards. Simple!
After a final rise, each loaf of blueberry babka bakes in a preheated oven for 40 minutes. If you’d like an extra-sweet, extra-moist loaf, you can opt to douse the baked loaves with a syrup after baking. I skip this set sometimes to keep the bread a little more guilt-free, but if you want to go all in, GO FOR IT. I’m here for you.
Many thanks to my friends at Kerrygold for sponsoring this and a million other butter-laden posts. I love working with a brand I love and trust so much, and I hope you’ll come to adore them as well. Give their products a try, especially if you decide to make this blueberry babka! Happy baking, happy Monday, and have a great week!
If you like this blueberry babka you should try:
This blueberry babka is a braided loaf filled with blueberry lemon preserves!
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 360
- Yield: 2 Loaves 1x
- Category: Bread
For the dough:
- 1 cup (240 gm) milk, lukewarm
- 2–1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg plus one large egg yolk
- 4 cups (560 gm) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 gm) sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 10 tablespoons (140 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the syrup (optional)
- ½ cup (100 gm) sugar
- ½ cup water
For the filling:
- 1 cup high quality blueberry preserves
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
To prepare the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large dough, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and allow to dissolve, about five minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and beat on low to combine. Once combined, continue beating for an additional 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until combined and then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. If your dough is extremely sticky and doesn’t stretch some away from the wall of the bowl, sprinkle in another 2 tablespoons or so of all-purpose flour. The dough will be loose and wet but should hold its shape decently. Once combined well put the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest for an hour. After an hour, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal-sized pieces. Gently work each piece into a flat square. Place a sheet of parchment or Silpat on a baking sheet and grease it with baking spray. Place both squares of dough on the parchment, cover the sheet with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest in the fridge overnight.
To shape the loaves:
- When you’re ready to prepare your loaves, spray two (8”x4”) loaf pans with cooking spray and line the long sides and bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Combine the jam, zest, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll one piece of dough out onto a floured surface into a 13”x16” rectangle. Spread half of the filling in a thin layer over the top of the dough leaving a 1/2 “ border around the perimeter of the dough rectangle. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the dough up tightly and then pinch the end to the roll to seal. Use a sharp knife to cut down the length of the center of the dough log into two pieces. Twist the two pieces around each other into a spiral and then place the wrapped loaf in one of the prepared pans. Repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Cover the pans with a tea towel and allow the loaves to rise in a warm spot in your kitchen, about 1-1/2- 2 hours.
To prepare the syrup (optional):
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gently boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside while you bake your loaves. This can be made and refrigerated in advance as well.
When ready to bake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the covers from the pans and place in the preheated oven to bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the inside registers at 180 degrees F. Remove the loaves from the oven and use a thin skewer or cake tester to poke tiny holes all over the loaves. Pour or brush the syrup over top (optional) or each loaf. Allow to cool slightly in the pan and then continue cooling completely on a cooling rack.