Updated: Apr 18, 2022
Yield: 1 x Babka
Equipment: 170mm length x 90mm width x 88mm depth Loaf Tin
220 g 64% Baker's Flour (I use Japanese Showa Bread flour with 14% protein)
80 g 36% Plain Flour
50g 16% Granulated sugar/ Caster Sugar
7 g 2.3% Active dry yeast
1 - Zest of Lemon
100 g 33% Large eggs, room temp
70 ml 23% Full Cream Milk
2 g 0.6% Fine salt
75 g 25% Unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
30 g Boiling Water
45 g Caster Sugar/granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
130 g Caster Sugar
100 g Water
80 g Raw Pistachio Nuts
*Chop the caramelised nut. Use 60g for the inclusions and save the rest for toppings.
40 -60 g Smooth Pistachio Paste*
For the Brioche Dough
1. Place 5 g of the sugar into the milk and warm it to approximately 27°C. Add in the instant yeast and stir until fully combine. Leave at room temperature until it starts to foam. This process takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, the rest of the sugar, salt and cold eggs into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add in the yeast/milk mixture then mix over low speed for 3 minutes until all the ingredients are combined. At this point, the dough will be quite rough.
2. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for another 3 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Gradually add in the room temperature butter a little at a time. The dough will start to break apart and look like it is not absorbing the butter, continue to mix and scraping down the mixer bowl frequently. Do not add in the butter all at once or too quickly as this can make it hard for the dough to come together again. This process can take up from 5 to 10 minutes. So be very patient!
The dough at the end will start to absorb the butter and form in to a smooth dough again and starts to pull away from the side of the bowl. At this point, you should have a smooth and pliable dough. Check the dough occasionally when it starts to absorb the butter by doing a window test. If you are able to stretch a small piece of the dough thin enough to see through, you have developed enough gluten. If the dough breaks apart the moment you stretch it, you will need to keep mixing over medium speed. Check every two minutes until you pass the "window test".
Once all the butter have been added, the mixing process will keep going for a further 10 to 12 minutes.
Note: During the mixing process, do not allow the dough to rise above 27°C. Place a probe into the dough occasional to monitor. If the dough starts to warm up too much, place the dough into the fridge to cool then back to mixing. If you are using cold milk, you shouldn't have to do this process.
3. Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl large enough for the dough to double in size. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave at room temperature to bulk ferment.
This process takes approximately 1 to 2 hours depending on the ambient of your kitchen.
4. When the dough have doubled in size, knock down the excess air in the dough, roll it in to a loose ball, cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up slightly for easy handling. Ideally, you can leave the dough to ferment in the fridge overnight and up to 16 hours to be rolled the next morning.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
When the dough have rested in the fridge and the compote is cool. Remove the dough onto a work bench without any dusting of flour. Roll the dough into a 250mm x 300 mm rectangle.
Spread the pistachio paste on top then roll the dough in to a long log from the shorter ends. Turn the log around, then slit the centre lengthwise in to two separate halves. Intertwine the two halves with the cut sides facing outwards then pinch both ends tightly to adhere. Re-adjust the babka to the size of the loaf tin then place it to fit into the baking tin. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to final proof at room temperature for approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature or until it increases at least 50% of its original size.
Place the loaf tin into the pre heated oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes or when probed with a thermometer it is above 85°C.
Note: If the babka becomes too dark half way through baking, place an aluminium foil on top and return to baking.
Once the babka is baked, remove the tin from the oven and generously brush the hot sugar syrup on toping, using as much of the syrup as possible. Sprinkle with some left over chopped candied pistachios. Gently remove the from the baking tin as well as the parchment paper underneath and leave to fully cool on top of a wire rack.
It is recommended to consume the babka fresh. If you do however have leftovers, wrap them well in food wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.