I made another babka yesterday and took lots of photos to make up for my initial lack of them. I even borrowed my roommate’s camera to get better photos than usual.
Due to a temporary lack of a real camera, most of the photos on here – save the apple cake ones – have been taken with my cell phone.
I’m supposed to be getting one of these for my birthday on Nov. 3 (hint, hint), which is what I took the apple cake photo with. Expect lots of food porn in November.
By the way, the actual recipe I followed is in the previous post.
Now, without further adieu, a babka tale through photos!
I took lots of pictures of the yeast. Mostly because it looks like an alien substance as it slowly froths and bubbles in the bowl. It’s alive, after all. And oh, the wonders it performs on the dough.
Now here’s a picture of the dough after I added the rest of the water, sugar, butter (!), eggs and two cups of flour. About two more cups went in before it came together and was ready to rise.
And, with two more cups of flour, I finally had this —
— a ball of dough about the size of my open hand. Nice and soft, but still holding together as you can see. I believe I had just finished kneading it in the bowl when this picture was taken.
Then, a little bit of oil drizzled into the same bowl to keep the dough from sticking.
Yes, I used the same bowl. I’m not sure if it would be recommended to do so. But I always try to minimize the number of dirty dishes I produce.
I like to leave the dough to rise on the oven while it’s preheating. Dough does best when it’s left in a consistently warm area to rise, and it keeps me from fiddling with the thermostat and irritating otherwise comfortable roommates.
And this —
— is how committed I am to NOT messing with the dough while it rises. I watched an episode and a half of Ultimate Fighter and got some homework done. Although I probably should have tidied up the living room. The vacuum is practically begging to be taken out of the closet.
Normally I would smack someone’s wrist if they tried to peek at the dough before time was up, but for YOUR sake I broke one of my own kitchen rules. Look at my dough so you’ll leave yours alone.
I left it alone for another 15 minutes before rolling it out, and sprinkling on the filling after a brushing of butter, and then rolling it up. Here’s the filling, which I made before I kicked back in the living room. It’s nothing more than more butter (!!), brown sugar, cinnamon and a capful of orange extract.
Here’s the babka, rolled up and brushed with more (!!!) butter. This bread is not for the faint of heart. Really, it could become a liability.
Into the oven to bake for about an hour. I say “about” an hour because ovens vary, as any recipe, cookbook or Food Network host or hostess will tell you, and really this is done when your kitchen REAKS of cinnamon and the babka becomes a golden color.
Now listen, the recipe instructs you to twist the dough like you’re wringing out a towel before popping it in the oven. Apparently I’ve yet to do a sufficient job of this because I’m 0 for 2 on innards becoming outtards. The good news?
This does nothing to the quality of the bread. And gives you an excuse to sample your hard work while you “pretty” it up for company. See that tiny leak in the back? That was my problem spot last time. It’s like a ghost of my past “Oops…” moment.
So, after my roommate Maggie and I “cleaned up” the babka, it looked like this —
— so much prettier, right? That caramelized bit of filling actually peeled right off the pan in one piece. I couldn’t be happier with these nonstick cookie sheets! Here’s a pre-glaze close up.
Time for glaze! I used one egg white, another capful of orange extract and enough powdered sugar to get it to cinnamon bun glaze consistency. Really, that’s the best way I can describe it.
You’ll want to give the babka about 15 or 20 minutes to cool off so the glaze doesn’t get too messy. Drizzle it on with a spoon. No points for being neat here.
I wish I could share the smell of this one with you. It really is delighful.
See how much it rose in the oven? Make sure you don’t skimp on pan size. You have to give this one room to grow. I had to stop taking pictures so I could put down the camera and cut slices for my roommate and I. Once again, I’m sure this’ll be gone in about a day.