Hands up then, who’s planning on putting their tree up this weekend? I’ve got Sunday set aside purely for de-tangling fairy lights, rummaging through our decorations (Sunny and I collect decorations from all the places we’ve travelled to) and then hoovering up pine needles. I can’t wait! But hey, it’s a knackering job innit? There’s nothing better than crashing onto the sofa afterwards with a hot cup of tea and something sweet! Well, I’ve got the perfect Christmas Decorating Fuel for you; this Orange and Nutella Babka.
I spotted a few of these on Social Media before I went off to the States on Holiday and had never heard of them before, and then I saw even more out there in supermarkets and bakeries. They’re an Eastern European invention and are basically a sweet loaf that’s stuck somewhere between bread and cake. The dough is filled with whatever sweet filling you fancy, rolled up, snipped down the middle and twisted to form swirls. It’s best eaten straight out of the oven warm; perfect for baking while you’re buried up to your neck in tinsel. 😉
Orange and Nutella Babka (makes one beast of a loaf, or two smaller loaves)
- 250g strong white flour
- 250g plain flour (and a little extra for dusting)
- 15g fresh yeast (dry active)
- 200ml soda water (a neat little trick to give your loaf a little extra rise)
- 100ml boiling water
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 50 ml melted butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
- 1 egg (whisked)
- 1 small jar of Nutella
- Zest of one Orange
- 50g Chopped Hazelnuts
- 50g Chopped chunks of chocolate
- A little milk to wash.
- First things first, you’re going to need to activate your yeast. Pour the soda water and boiling water into a bowl. Dissolve the sugar into the water and then sprinkle over the yeast. Whisk and then leave the bowl somewhere warm for 15 minutes (I use my airing cupboard!) until the yeast begins to froth.
- Once the yeast is ready, pour in the melted butter and then add the salt, flour, cinnamon and orange zest. Stir it together to create a sticky dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
- Once the dough’s been kneaded, pop in a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to prove somewhere warm for one hour.
- After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Turn it onto a floured surface and roll it out into a rough square shape that’s about 1cm thick. Spread the Nutella – taking it as close to the edges as possible – then sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts (hold some back to decorate) and chocolate on top. Roll it up like a swiss roll and seal each end.
- Now to shape the Babka. Take a sharp knife and cut the dough right down the middle leaving a space at the top (it should look like a pair of legs once you’re done). Take each leg and turn it so the sticky inside layers are facing upwards. Now twist one leg over the other until you get a tight plait from one end to the other – making sure you keep those inside layers facing up.
- Grease and line a loaf tin and then fill it with your twisted dough. There’s a knack to this bit; you want to make sure the ends are folded under, while the middle is on top. Cover it with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to prove for another hour.
- Set your oven to 200°. Give the surface of the babka a little wash with milk and sprinkle with a few extra chopped hazelnuts and orange zest, then bake it for 30 minutes – covering the top with foil after 15 minutes to protect those layers from burning.
- Scoff warm with some extra Nutella! 🙂
Happy Weekend (and happy decorating!)! ♡