Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Nutella Babka

Deliciously sweet and addictive bread swirled with Nutella and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles! Nutella babka recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Continuing the stepping outside of our baking comfort zone goal today.

We’re traveling deep in the layers of babka. Located somewhere between bread and decadent dessert, this undeniably addictive treat is filled with Nutella and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles. It has a rich history and was catapulted into popularity by Seinfeld (cinnamon… the lesser babka!).

And today? Babka’s all the rage in New York bakeries.

Deliciously sweet and addictive bread swirled with Nutella and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles! Nutella babka recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I have more step-by-step pictures than I know what to do with today. Not that babka is super complicated or anything– I just really want to show you how approachable it is. Yeast bread is the January Baking Challenge, so hopefully you’re comfortable with yeast now! If not, babka can totally be your starting point. Just wait until you see how it all comes together. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that babka is totally something you can (and should) pull off!! Nothing to fear, I promise.

We’ll focus on the traditional Jewish version of babka which begins with a brioche dough that’s twisted and baked high in a loaf pan. Baked until golden brown and best enjoyed warm when the Nutella is extra melty. Self control and babka do not coexist.

How to make Nutella babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

There are many ways to make babka. This is how we’re doing it today, a recipe based off of my cinnamon roll dough. This recipe will make 2 loaves. Freeze one or gift it to someone special. Trust me, someone will want this gift. 😉

Here’s what we’re doing:

  • make a brioche dough – a soft, rich, puffy, and very buttery yeast dough
  • let the dough rise
  • punch down the dough to release the air bubbles
  • divide dough into 2
  • roll them out, spread with Nutella
  • shape babka (how-to video below!)
  • top with streusel
  • bake, eat, get lost in the layers!!!

You can brush the babka with sugar syrup when it comes out of the oven, but I skipped this step. It ensures a super crisp crust, but I liked the babka without it too. You can also fill babka with a homemade chocolate filling– or really anything at all– but I reached for Nutella. I want the main focus to be on the dough and process, so let’s use a little shortcut for the filling. Bonus that it’s NUTELLA and it’s fabulous.

(By the way, have you made the Nutella glaze yet?)

How to make Nutella babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make Nutella babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade dough – egg rich, butter rich, calorie rich. You’ll need yeast, milk, sugar, eggs, butter, and flour. You likely have all that in your kitchen now. You can use an instant or active dry yeast, the rise time will be a little longer if you choose the latter.

Let this dough rise in a warm environment until (roughly) doubled in size, about 90ish minutes. You might remember me showing you this a couple weeks ago, but I use my oven for the rising. This is very simple. Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the dough inside the warm-ish oven. Leave the oven door slightly cracked open. Leave it alone, watch it grow!

After it rises, punch the dough down to release all those air bubbles. You’ll be left with super soft and supple dough. Divide it in two. Don’t make the mistake I did and accidentally make 1 babka loaf with all this dough. It will spill over your loaf pan and look like a mangled, deformed, burnt bread massacre. Whoopsies.

Alrighty! Your dough is divided in two, now let’s roll it out, slap some Nutella on top, and shape the babka. This can be a little tricky, so watch me do it in this very unexciting video that Kevin filmed with my phone.

Literally just slicing the roll down the middle and twisting. You can handle it!

How to shape babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to shape babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to shape babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to shape babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

A little messy, but don’t all the best foods need a little clean up? Place the twists into loaf pans, cover them up and set them aside as you make a cinnamon crumble topping. This time lets the dough rest before baking. Give the babka a little brush of beaten egg white + milk (egg wash), then top with your cinnamon crumble.

How to make Nutella babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make Nutella babka on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Deliciously sweet and addictive bread swirled with Nutella and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles! Nutella babka recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I know what you’re thinking. Is the cinnamon crumble really necessary? The answer is YES. Isn’t cinnamon crumble always necessary? You’ll just need some brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter. Again, simple ingredients.

By the way, the only thing better than eating babka is smelling babka as it bakes. Just wait until you experience that. And the only thing better than both is making French toast out of babka. Enough said.

Deliciously sweet and addictive bread swirled with Nutella and topped with buttery cinnamon crumbles! Nutella babka recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Want to know why this Nutella babka is so addictive? Because each bite is different. Some bites are overflowing with gooey Nutella and others are full of soft flaky dough and cinnamon crumbles. Each twist and turn is unique, no loaf will look the same, and the whole thing stays moist for days. Good luck with it in your house!!

Do you have a favorite babka recipe? How do you usually fill yours? I’m super happy with how this babka turned out, but would love to try more variations!

Nutella Babka

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) whole milk, divided*
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast (1 standard size packet)*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature and divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/4 cups (530g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting/rolling
  • 2 cups (600g) Nutella, divided

Crumble Topping

  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: Heat 1 cup of milk to about 95°F (35°C). You can use the microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or you can use a handheld mixer or no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). Manually whisk in the yeast. Cover the bowl with a clean towel. The mixture should be frothy and foamy after 5 minutes.
  2. On low speed, beat in the sugar and softened butter until butter is slightly broken up. Next beat in 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white) and the salt. The butter won't really be mixing in, so don't be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute.
  3. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes. If you do not have a stand-mixer with a dough hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
  4. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. (I just use the same mixing bowl that I made the dough in-- remove the dough, grease it with nonstick spray or olive oil, put the dough back in.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. For this warm environment, I preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven. Leave the oven door cracked a bit.
  5. Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut dough in half. Work with only half of the dough at a time. Place a clean towel over the dough you aren't working with.
  6. Generously grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans with butter or nonstick spray.
  7. Shape the babka: On slightly floured work surface, roll one dough half out into a 9x13 inch rectangle (approximately). Spread with 1 cup of Nutella, leaving a 1/2 inch border uncovered.
  8. Watch the video above to see exactly how I do this step. Tightly roll the dough into a 13-inch log. Place the log on its seam. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise. I find a serrated knife works best. Criss-cross one half, cut side down, on top of the other half-- forming an X. Twist the two together. Place in prepared loaf pan and cover with a clean towel. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. This step can get a little messy!
  9. Allow both shaped (and covered) loaves to rest for 10-20 minutes as you prepare the crumble topping and preheat the oven.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  11. Make the crumble topping: Mix the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the brown sugar mixture until coarse crumbs are formed. Set aside.
  12. Whisk the remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk with the leftover egg white. This is your egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the babka loaves with egg wash. Do the best you can as some Nutella is exposed. Top each loaf with crumble topping.
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until babka is golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, place each pan on a wire rack, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  14. Cover and store leftover babka at room temperature for a couple days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. (It won't last that long!!) You can also freeze the baked babka for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Or warm it up in the oven.

Make ahead tip/overnight: After dough has risen two hours in step 4, punch down the dough inside the mixing bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days, then remove from the refrigerator and continue with step 5. OR freeze for up to 2 months, then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and continue with step 5.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Whole milk or even buttermilk is ideal for this dough. You can get away with 2% or 1%, but I do not recommend skim. You'll need 1 cup in the dough and you'll use the other 2 Tablespoons for the egg wash in step 12.
  2. Active dry or instant yeast work-- if using instant yeast (such as Red Star Platinum) the 1st rise time will be a little shorter.
  3. Instead of Nutella you can try a homemade chocolate fudge filling. This one is excellent. But I really love how the Nutella tastes in this!

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Stand Mixer Glass Bowl | Dough Scraper | Pastry Cutter | Rolling Pin | Loaf Pan | Pastry Brush

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

116 comments

  1. Sally you are constantly outdoing yourself. Like I literally think there isn’t anything you won’t tackle. Maybe crissont? (Would love it if you could teach us that in an easy way). Thank you for this and have a great week.

    • Thanks Iram! Honestly, I’ve been trying croissant for over 2 years now and just haven’t found a recipe I love or even a great place to start. If you ever find one you love, send it my way!

      • Hi Sally ,
        I tried croissant at home after taking (Classic Croissants at Home
        with Colette Christian) a craftsy class online . They came out really really good!
        Labor intensive though !

  2. This looks great! Can’t wait to try it soon! And thanks for the helpful video 🙂

  3. what can you substitute for Nutella. I think that stuff is kind of nasty.

  4. This looks amazing!  Can’t wait to try it out when I muster the courage. :).  Still pretty new to making yeast doughs. 

  5. Looks amazing! I may give this a whirl in the near future. Question: Since it’s a brioche base, if we wanted to leave the second loaf plain (i.e. without a filling), could we? Did you test it that way?  If so, would we just place the other loaf in the pan as is, or would we still roll it out, skip the topping, roll it into a log, cut in half, then braid? And would cook time be affected? Thanks! 

    • I actually have NOT tested it that way, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I would maybe roll it out, then into a log and braid it. Cook time will be a little shorter, I suspect, because there isn’t a wet filling.

  6. Wow! Truly gorgeous. Takes a bit of time to make, but totally worth the effort.

  7. YUM! Looks so good! I love babka and the Nutella filling is a great idea ♥

  8. YUM!  This looks incredible!  You should try a savory one like with pizza fillings.

  9. I am thankful you conquered the Babka bread!  Fantastic job. I do have a few questions. Sorry question central:

    Can I cut the dough to make 4 loaves instead of two?
    How could I make French toast with it?  
    Is it possible to ship/mail  this bread or any bread?

    Once I return home from KY I cannot wait make it.  My son will love this Nutella Babka.  I am eager to make French toast with it.  He will love it!  Although I may need to freeze some of it to have it for later.

    • Hi Destiny!
      1) Yes, definitely. You will roll it out into smaller rectangles (not sure of the perfect measurement) and need to use smaller loaf pans.
      2) Dip the slices of bread in a mixture of eggs, milk, and cinnamon! And cook in a pan/skillet/griddle just like you would make regular French toast.
      3) I’m sure you could, no problem! I haven’t tried it.

      • Sally, I have one more question though:  Do I need to reduce baking time by 5 or ten minutes when baking a smaller loaf?  Sorry, I do not want to mess this up.

        Wishing you the very best baking!

      • Yep, the bake time will be shorter if the loaf is smaller. I don’t know *exactly* how much shorter without trying it a few times myself. Just keep your eye on it!

  10. Can’t wait to try this! I’m not normally a fan of Nutella myself, but I think I’m going to make this to take into the office (those lucky ducks) and I know I’m in the meh-Nutella minority. So might as well make it easier and just use the stuff. For some reason the combination of the chocolate and cinnamon flavors just sounds odd to me, but I trust you and will certainly use it just as written! Thanks for all the work perfecting this recipe!

  11. Sally,
    Can you make the babka dough in a bread machine on the dough cycle?
    Love your recipes!
    Thanks!!

  12. Sally… It’s amazing!!! But a bit mean to put recipe like that on Monday 😛 Now I have to wait till weekend to try it out (it’s long so no time on a weekday) 🙂 Just joking of course 🙂

    Nutella is super tasty but as I have to reduce this kind of food in my diet I will probably go for dark chocolate in one babka and almond-cinnamon-maple sirup in the other 😀 I will let you know how it turned out.

  13. Nutella would be such a simple shortcut for babka. Still haven’t made it yet, but I want to. This weekend I made challah for the first time and it turned out wonderful. I’ll have to put a picture on your facebook page.
    Other filling ideas I have in my head are: cream cheese and caramel and chocolate chips, cookie butter (maybe with nutella, I find cookie butter flavor is easily masked), peanut butter and jelly.

  14. Anyone remember the Seinfeld babka episode? I am going to try this with a cinnamon & sugar filling instead of Nutela. “Lesser babka, I think not.”
    Yes, I know I watch far too much TV but I usually do it in the kitchen while whipping up some of Sally’s recipes. Neither Sally nor Seinfeld ever disappoint!

  15. I was JUST looking for a babka recipe and yours looks perfect!   This is a traditional Jewish pastry I have been wanting to make.  That first bite —  be sure you are sitting down in case your knees buckle. I will make this when my sister visits next month. Sally, my husband is allergic to chocolate. What can I use instead?  Thank you!

    • Hey Jessica! Excited for you to try this babka. There’s lots you can do with babka and I did a quick google search “babka fillings besides chocolate” and it came up with a bunch! The most popular one I’ve seen is the cinnamon filling, so give that a search.

  16. Thanks for these step by step instructions. Your loaves look divine. I will step out of my comfort zone (thanks to the braiding video) and make these after a trip to the grocery store. Appreciated the history of Babka which led me to some hilarious Seinfield You Tube Posts….Sally, you never disappoint!

  17. This looks amazing!!!!!!! I was wondering though, did I miss the January baking challenge???

  18. hey girl- this looks amazing! yummy!

  19. I am not a Nutella fan could you give me a cinnamon brown sugar raisin fulling. Thanks. Looks fab!

  20. Can’t wait to add this to my babka collection!

  21. This looks amazing Sally! Question: Does this dough easily adapt for any type of filling? (cinnamon sugar, chocolate, caramel, etc.) I want to make this ASAP, but am running out of Nutella. *sigh* 🙂
    Thanks!

  22. Can you post the recipe for the chocolate fudge filling that you mention? The NYT site says that I have to pay to access the recipe. Thanks.

  23. Have you seen the fights in France for Nutella? I may have to look at the alternative filling 🙂 

  24. Wow sally you’ve outdone yourself once again! The babka looks perfect and I can’t wait to try it out. Ps your photography is so impressive! 

  25. Yay! I have two BIG jars of Nutella from Costco to use up (well…. 1.5 jars, to be truthful). Further disclosure, the absence of half a jar may be entirely due to snacking by the spoonful. Guilty! 😉

    Anyways, this looks like a fun weekend recipe to try soon. Who doesn’t love warm homemade bread in chilly weather? Add chocolate, and my son will be SUPER happy! 🙂

  26. This is in the oven right now. Couldn’t wait to make it! I didn’t have enough Nutella so used cinnamon and brown sugar to fill the second loaf. The dough was great to work with and your video was a huge help with shaping the dough. I can’t wait to try it, the house smells wonderful.

  27. Made this tonight. I wish I could post a picture. It’s beautiful. Thanks for your hard work

  28. Looks delicious! Cannot wait to try! Is there a reason the recipe is for 2 loaves? Planning on testing it out this weekend but I live by myself and only really need one. Although I’m sure I could eat 2 to myself based on how good it looks haha!

    • You can try to halve the dough recipe, but this volume of dough rises beautifully and is easy to work with. Too much for only 1 loaf though. 🙂 You can freeze the other half!

      • Hey Sally! I made the Nutella Babka today. Your detailed instructions and video made it easy. The taste is amazing. I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the satisfied zone. However, I did think that I’d harmed my new 5 Quart Kitchenaid stand mixer. Even though it’s a 325 watt , manual instructions advise not to knead double batches of dough or knead dough on higher than position 2. Well for about 6 min I had that mixer cranking at level 4 and (yikes ) maybe higher… only then did I check manual …sometimes I’m just dumb. You must have the more powerful professional model. Nevertheless, I’ve learned  2 lessons… take utmost care and follow Kitchenaid operating  manual AND trust Sally to deliver extremely tasty recipes!

  29. Personally, I think babka is WAY underrated. Which makes Nutella babka so underrated it could be a crime. Need to try this recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *