I’m doing sourdough breads for a year, just for friends or family use, and I’m quite happy with the result, but I never tried sourdough starter to make any kind of bread like French brioche as I’m not sure my starter is strong enough for that. French brioche requires a lot of butter, a lot of eggs…My first attempt was Sourdough chocolate babka, it took me almost two days to finish it…and to be honest, I don’t like it – the texture is ok but the taste – I don’t like chocolate when it’s baked. Today I’m doing it again, using my sourdough starter, but for cinnamon filling.
Step 1 Preparation for babka starter
- Mature sourdough starter 65 gr.
- All purpose flour 65 gr.
- Water 65 ml.
Mix all together in a bowl, cover it with cling film and leave it at the room temperature (over 25º C up to 30º C) for at least 12 hours. After 12 hours, I still can keep it in the fridge for another hours and that’s no problem!
Step 2 Preparation for babka dough
- Bread flour 310 gr.
- Sourdough babka starter 195 gr.
- Egg 2pcs (>100gr.)
- Salt 10 gr.
- Sugar 70 gr. (more or less up to your taste)
- Unsalted butter 100 gr.
- Milk 110 ml.
- Vanilla extract 5 ml.
I used my stand mixer to mix this dough, first add the sourdough babka starter, flour, milk, eggs, salt, and sugar, mix until everything is incorporated, gradually add the butter and when the dough starts to pull from the sides of the mixing bowl, continue to mix for another few minutes until the dough smooths out and begins to cling to the dough hook.
Transfer the dough to a container for fermentation, cover, and keep somewhere warm. Every 45 minutes, give the dough a set of stretch and folds, repeat the same after the second 45 minutes and the third one, then let the dough rest for another 45 minutes, the total is 3 hours at the warm room temperature, before transfer the dough into the fridge for overnight. I call these 3 hours like the warm fermentation at the room temperature. I plan to keep the dough in the fridge only for 24 hours but in fact I keep it much longer, over 30 hours in the fridge as I remember, back to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, we used to keep dough in the fridge even over the weekend! More than 2 days!
Step 3 Preparation for dark brown cinnamon filling
- Dark brown or just brown sugar 200 gr.
- Unsalted butter 50 gr.
- Ground cinnamon 10 gr.
- Semolina flour 20 gr.
- Salt 5 gr.
Mix all of the ingredients above together in a bowl and cover until ready to use.
Next day take the dough out of the fridge and scrape the dough out to a floured work surface. Flour the top of the dough and using a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a rectangle, use a spatula, spread the filling over the dough and roll up the dough into a cylinder. Send it back to the fridge for at least one hour, don’t forget to do the egg wash.
After one hour rest in the fridge, return the dough log to the work surface, use a sharp knife, cut the log to split open the log from one side to the other. Now we can braid it or roll it according to our moulds, don’t worry if filling spills out or looks very messy — it’s all good.
Now time for another proof at the room temperature – at least two hours or when the dough is doubled. Bake the babka at 180ºC for at least one hour. Again, we need to do the egg wash before baking.
I’m quite happy with my second sourdough cinnamon babka as I always doubt about the sourdough starter for this kind of breads, where the recipe requires a lot of butter, eggs…and especially nowadays I can’t buy my favorite dry yeast “Allison” anymore in the market, so the sourdough starter is the best alternative, it takes quite long time to prepare but to me, no problem!