This Babka bread has a fall twist.
Roll, layer, and roll again. This fall apple cinnamon bread is a show-off, and it’s easy to make!
Lori Vaughn shares a seasonal twist on traditional Babka bread.
Apple Cinnamon Babka Bread
- 1 cup warm whole milk (other milk % will work too)
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- About 4 cups bread flour *see note
- 3 cups (350 grams) apples (peeled, sliced, & diced thin) I use a mix of granny smith with fuji or honeycrisp
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp butter salted or unsalted is fine
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Brown Sugar Filling
- 6 tbsp butter, melted salted or unsalted is fine
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
- ~ 1 tbsp milk
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste can sub for 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp butter, melted if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt too
Add warm milk, yeast, and sugar to a stand mixer with a dough hook. A large bowl will also work if making by hand.
Add 2 cups of flour, eggs, and salt. Let mix well. Then while mixer is running, slowly add the softened butter. Slowly add remaining flour. Depending on your moisture level, it may be slightly more or less flour.
Dough should be soft and smooth, but not too wet or sticky. If it’s tough and dense, you’ve added too much flour. When you feel you’re getting close, turn off the mixer and pinch the dough with floured fingertips. If it’s soft and tacky, it’s enough flour.
Let mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, put in oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. You can also put in the fridge to rest overnight.
Optional step: After the dough has risen, place it in the freezer for a half hour. Cold dough helps in assembly to assist in keeping in all the filling.
Peel 3-4 apples. Thinly slice and dice enough for about 3 cups, or 350 grams worth. Place in a skillet over the stove and toss with lemon juice.
Add butter and turn stove on medium low. Toss until butter has melted and coated all the apples.
Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Continue to occasionally toss for about 3-4 minutes until the apples have started to soften. Set aside.
Brown Sugar Filling
Melt 6 tbsp of butter in a heatproof bowl. Add the remaining brown sugar filling ingredients and using a fork, toss together until full combined. Set aside.
Once dough has risen, prepare 2 loaf pans lined with parchment paper (or sprayed, but the parchment paper makes it much easier to remove after baking).
Split the dough into two even sections. Using the first section, roll out to about a 10×12″ rectangle, leaving the dough about 1/4″ thick. Spread an even layer of the brown sugar filling on the dough, leaving about 1/4 inch border of dough around the edges. It’s okay if the sugar is crumbled on. Repeat this process with the second section.
Add an even layer of the cooked apples on top of the sugar filling.
Using the long end of the rectangle, roll up into a tight log like a cinnamon roll.
If you have time, I recommend popping into the freezer for about 10 minutes to help the dough hold shape in prep for the next step.
Once the dough is slightly chilled, remove the logs from the freezer and using a sharp serrated knife, cut down the middle of the first log lengthwise, exposing the inside.
Carefully twist the two pieces together. You can do this easily by making an “X” with the two pieces and then twisting the top, then the bottom. Place in your loaf pans, cover, and let rise until the loaf has almost doubled and dough is soft and puffy – usually about 30-45 minutes.
While babka is rising, preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. If your oven browns the tops quickly, you can put a piece of foil on the top about 20 minutes in. It’s done when the interior of the dough has reached about 200℉. Bottoms are a dark golden brown and layers look fully cooked.
Make the glaze by simply whisking together all glaze ingredients in a bowl. You can add more powdered sugar or milk to get to desired consistency – a nice thick glaze.
When bread is done, let it rest for about 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. You can either wait for it to cool to drizzle the glaze, or apply warm for a melted glaze effect.
It’s amazing a little warm! Reheat a slice in the microwave if desired. Eat plain, serve warm with a scoop of ice cream, or use as the most amazing baked french toast! Enjoy!
Flour: You can substitute bread flour for all purpose flour. I also loving doing a mix of 1/2 and 1/2 for a tender, yet sturdy loaf.
Filling: This recipe yields 2 loaves. You can half it, make both with the apple filling OR, feel free to check out my other babka recipes (chocolate babka or raspberry babka or pesto babka) and use the dough two make 2 different flavors. If you decide to make a second flavor, just half the filling recipe of each!
You can also use a favorite store bought jam or apple pie filling instead of making this homemade spread.