Cinnamon-Pecan Babka

Braided and beautiful, our Cinnamon-Pecan Babka is perfect for any time of day. Aromatic cinnamon brings enticing spice while buttery chopped pecans and light brown sugar balance out the sweet heat.

Cinnamon-Pecan Babka
Makes 1 (8½x4½-inch) loaf
  • 2½ cups (313 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) instant yeast*
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water, divided
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature and divided
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup (38 grams) chopped pecans
  • Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 1 cup (125 grams) flour, granulated sugar, 1 ½ Teaspoons (4.5 grams) salt, and yeast by hand.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat ¼ cup (57 grams) butter, ¼ cup (60 grams) water, milk, and vanilla over medium-low heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120º
  3. (49ºC) to 130ºF (54ºC). Add warm butter mixture to flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, beat at medium-low speed until combined. Add 1 egg (50 grams), and beat until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 5 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining 2 tablespoons (16 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a very lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Turn out dough onto a very lightly floured surface, and gently press into an 8×6-inch rectangle. Loosely wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  7. Spray an 8½x4½-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  8. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt.
  9. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13×10-inch rectangle (about ¼ inch thick). Using a small offset spatula, spread butter mixture onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on both short sides and one long side. Sprinkle pecans on top, and press lightly with your hands to make sure everything adheres. Starting with long side opposite border, roll up dough, jelly roll style, and pinch seam to seal. Gently lift log at each end, and stretch to 14 inches long. Place seam side down, making sure seam is off to one side instead of in center. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut in half lengthwise. Turn halves cut side up, and place in an “X.” Twist top half of “X” twice; pinch ends, and tuck under. Repeat with bottom half of “X.” Using your hands, place in prepared pan, making sure to keep cut sides up and ends tucked. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Dough should pass the finger dent test; see Notes.)
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  11. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 egg (50 grams) and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash on top of dough.
  12. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 50 to 55 minutes, covering with foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning. Brush with Simple Syrup. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
*We used Platinum® Yeast from Red Star®.

Note: Final rise time will depend on how long dough is chilled. The longer the dough is chilled, the longer it will take to rise. Once you think your dough has proofed, conduct the finger dent test. Gently press your finger about ½ inch into the surface. You should be able to watch the dough spring back slightly but still show an indentation. If the dent disappears, the dough is underproofed and needs more time. If the indentation stays completely, it has overproofed, but don’t panic. Immediately pop it into the oven; the babka will still be great!



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