Feta and Pomegranate Molasses Babka

Work of art or savoury babka filling with feta, pomegranate molasses and sumac?

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Savoury babka you say? There is no good reason for you not to get in the kitchen and make this immediately. I was very loosely inspired by Molly Yeh’s za’atar mini babkas but as you can quickly see: they really are quite a long way from them.

Za’atar was lacking in our local supermarket, labneh non-existent (and I was too impatient to embark on making my own), and all the mini babkas seemed like too much effort when I wasn’t convinced that all the changes I’d made would even result in something edible anyway.

I should have made them in mini. This is so ridiculously good as a bread- deeply savoury from the cheese, a kick from the chilli flakes and acidic from the pomegranate molasses and sumac. I ate it grilled for breakfast for several days afterwards, with a big smear of honey on top, and cannot recommend that enough.

Perhaps in a future recipe I’ll do these again in mini, with a honey glaze already thoughtfully provided on top, but this giant babka is just good not to share in the meantime.

Feta and Pomegranate Molasses Babka

Feta and Pomegranate Molasses Babka

Ingredients

  • Babka dough - I used my babka dough without the sugar
  • 150g feta
  • 100g skyr or labneh
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • Pomegranate Molasses
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Fresh thmye

Instructions

  • Once you've made the babka dough and let it had it's first rise, roll it out into the biggest rectangle you can manage. Thinly spread over the skyr or labneh - this is the 'glue' that will hold all the filling together so try to get it all over your base. Then, sprinkle over the feta, sumac, chilli flakes and thyme leaves, finishing with a drizzle of the pomegrante molasses. Think Jackson Pollock painting.
  • To roll it up, start at the largest edge and roll as tightly as you can the whole way across until you have a thick log. Take a serrated knife and cut the log in half, and then twist the two strands together. This will be much longer than your loaf tin, but squash it in. Let the dough rise and puff up for an hour at room temperature, and then bake at 200 C for 35 mins.
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    Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake

    You know you’ve found a good recipe when you make it three times in six weeks. Nigella Lawson’s chocolate guinness cake is one of them. I made it once two nights before the wedding for our friend’s birthday, once for a work bake off where it promptly vanished by lunchtime, and again this week to take home for Christmas.

    It’s ridiculously decadent, super easy to throw together after work, and I can vouch for the fact that if you keep the icing and cake separate, it’s very easy to transport on the tube too (minor cake-consideration for most people I know, but if ya live in London….)

    I pretty much follow the Nigella original, but have been using a Guinness West Indies Porter recently, rather than the traditional stout, for extra richness, and have abandoned the double cream originally specificed in the recipe, because you won’t even notice it’s absence.

    Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake

    Ingredients

    • 250ml guinness
    • 250g salted butter
    • 75g cocoa powder
    • 400g caster sugar
    • 142ml sour cream
    • 2 large eggs
    • 275g plain flour
    • 2 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
    • 300g cream cheese
    • 150g icing sugar

    Instructions

  • Grease and line a 23cm springform tin, and preheat the oven to 180C. In a pan, melt the butter together with the guinness. Let it cool slightly before beating in the cocoa powder and caster sugar. Beat in the eggs and soured cream before folding in the flour and bicarb of soda. Pour this into the waiting cake tin and then bake for an hour until well risen. Take out of the oven and let cool overnight in the tin before removing it.
  • To make the icing, beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar before spreading thickly over.
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    Chocolate Babka Loaf- week 3 of the GBBO Bake Along

    Week three of bake off! Bread is one of my favourite things to make, and I always love watching the contestants try and deal with yeast, proving and rising – even if it does cause problems for a few (*cough* Candice). I loved their centrepiece plaited loaves, but am unconvinced by the appeal of dampfnudel. Dough steamed steamed in milk just doesn’t appeal.

    I’ve been a bit limited on time this weekend so I’ve reverted back to the signature bake of a chocolate loaf, and made a chocolate babka loaf. I make Ottolenghi’s krantz cakes a couple of years ago from Jerusalem and loved them, but hadn’t thought about them since. Until of course they popped up on bake off, and then it seemed a good time to revisit them.

    I used this Honey & Co recipe via David Lebovitz and but left out the nuts because I forgot to buy them, and missed out the syrup because it seemed like it was going to be sweet enough already.

    It worked out easiest to make the first round of dough on Friday night, let it to rise overnight, and then get up early  to make the filling and twist it together before heading out for a run with J (smug I know). By the time we were back, it was perfectly risen and ready to bake – and then it made the best breakfast to have warm out of the oven to recover after our miles.

    Chocolate Babka Loaf

    Chocolate Babka Loaf

    Ingredients

    • 7g fast acting dried yeast
    • 100ml milk
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 90g butter
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 280g plain flour
    • 100g butter
    • 150ml sugar
    • 100g good quality dark chocolate
    • 40g cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon

    Instructions

  • The night before you plan to bake this, start by mixing the yeast, milk and sugar together and setting to one side. Beat together the butter and egg, before whisking in the milk mixture. Gradually mix in the flour until it forms into a cohesive ball, and then tip out onto a well floured worksurface and knead until it comes together and forms a smooth ball. Put it in a clean bowl and let rise in the fridge over night.
  • The next morning, grease a baking tin and set aside. Heat a small pan and melt the butter, before tipping in the sugar. Take off the heat and let cool for 1 minute before adding the chocolate and stirring through until melted, before finally beating in the cocoa and cinnamon.
  • Take the dough and roll out into a rough rectangle of 30 x 50 cm, with the long edge towards you. Pour out the chocolate mixture and spread evenly over the surface of the dough. Then begin by rolling it up, starting from the edge nearest you. Try not too much filling getting pushed along rather than spiralled up. Then take a sharp knife and cut the babka most of the way down the middle, leaving half an inch or so joined up at the top. Take the two strands and twist them together as though you are twisting hair together- this can get very messy thanks to the chocolate mix so work quickly. Then squish the twist at either end, lift it up and plop it into the baking in. Let it rise at room temperature for another two hours.
  • Once it has fluffed back up, preheat the oven to 190C and cook the loaf for 30 minutes. Let it cool into the tin before turning out and cutting into thick slices.
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