Jewish Cheese Babka

Jewish cheese babka

The Spruce / Barbara Rolek

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 30 servings
Yield: 3 loaves
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
329 Calories
18g Fat
36g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 30
Amount per serving
Calories 329
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 97mg 32%
Sodium 229mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 98mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This cheese babka recipe is one of our favorites. Instead of being baked in a swirly babka pan the Poles use, this recipe is baked in a loaf pan and has a streusel topping.

It's a delicious, rich version that is most commonly made in chocolate, cinnamon and almond varieties and, in our opinion, surpasses most Polish babkas we've tasted.

This recipe makes three loaves but they freeze very well. Freeze the leftover egg whites and save them for leftover egg white recipes.

2:59

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Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/4 cup warm water, 110 F

  • 1 cup milk

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 large egg yolks, room-temperature, beaten

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:

  • 4 1/2 (8-ounce) packages (2 1/4 pounds) cream cheese, room temperature

  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg, room temperature, beaten

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cold

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Stir yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into warm water. Set aside until frothy.

  2. Grease 3 (9 x 5-inch) loaf pans.

  3. Scald the milk over medium-high heat, and place in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add 4 ounces room-temperature butter and stir to melt. Add 1/2 cup sugar, salt, yeast mixture, and 3 beaten egg yolks.

  4. Add flour, and knead until shiny and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat both sides, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This may take as long as 2 hours.

Make the Cheese Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, 3 egg yolks and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth. Set aside.  

Make the Crumb Topping

  1. In a small bowl, prepare the crumb topping by mixing together 6 tablespoons flour and 8 tablespoons sugar and cutting in 4 tablespoons cold butter as for pie dough. Set aside.

Assemble the Cheese Babkas

  1. Punch down risen dough and divide into 3 parts. Working with 1 part at a time and covering the rest, roll into a large rectangle 1/8-inch thick.

  2. Spread dough with 1/3 of the cheese filling. Fold in the sides of the dough, and then roll up tightly as for a jellyroll. Place in 1 of the prepared pans. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with one-third of the crumb topping.

  3. Repeat with remaining dough and remaining 2 loaf pans. Cover loaf pans with greased plastic wrap and let rise until above the rim of the pan.

  4. Place rack in center of oven and heat to 350 F. Bake babkas for 40 to 50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 F. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Using a knife, loosen babka from sides of the pan. Cool completely in the loaf pan. Then turn out onto a rack.