Babka is a popular braided Jewish bread. This twisted bread mostly has chocolate, cinnamon or Nutella as filling. Last year I baked Chocolate Cinnamon Babka and my family cherished it a lot.
This time I thought to try my hands on savory babka. People who know me, know my love for fresh herbs so I decided to use homemade fresh vegan pesto sauce as filling for my pesto babka. When my bread was in the oven for baking, my house literally gets flooded with aroma of Basil and that reminded me of the famous St. Basil Bread.
At the beginning of 2010, the popularity of Babka bread increased tremendously across the United States when a popular Israeli baker started selling Babka with traditional sweet and savory fillings. Their Chocolate Babka is still known as the best babka across New York. The popularity of this traditional Jewish bread made bakers try some other variants of this bread using different fillings like Feta cheese, cookie butter, etc.
If you bake this recipe, please share a picture with me on my Instagram using #bakewithsonia
|Oven Temp||200 C|
|Baking Time||30 min|
|MW Convection Temp||180 C|
|Baking Time||30 min|
|Cooling Time||2 hr|
Vegan Pesto Babka
Today’s recipe of vegan pesto babka is not the traditional version of babka bread, but it’s a makeover. I am sure you will find this recipe Interesting.
First, we will activate the yeast. For that in a bowl take ½ tsp brown sugar and ½ tsp yeast. Add lukewarm water, stir it and let the solution rest until it froths.
In a kneading bowl, take 300 gm semolina (chiroti rava), ½ tsp salt and add activated yeast solution to it.
Start binding the pesto babka dough by adding water little by little. Though I always mention the total amount of water in my recipes, still I recommend using water as per requirement. The amount of water can vary depending on climate conditions and flour quality.
Once you bind the dough, take it out on the counter for further kneading. Add 1 tbs olive oil in-between and continue to knead until it becomes soft and smooth.
Keep the dough in a greased bowl and let it rest until it doubles in volume.
Depending upon weather conditions at your place the rising time can vary, According to present climate conditions at my place, the dough took 50 minutes to rise.
Meanwhile, prepare the pesto sauce and keep it handy. For pesto sauce, in a mixer jar take basil leaves, soaked cashew, garlic cloves, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Grind it and your vegan pesto sauce is ready.
Once dough doubles, punch it to release the air. Take the dough out on the lightly floured surface.
Savory pesto babka bread filling
Using a rolling pin roll it into a rectangular sheet of 8 x 12 inches and thickness should be ¼ inch. If the dough is shrinking too much while rolling, let the dough rest for a few minutes. This will help to relax the gluten. Now spread an even layer of prepared homemade pesto sauce all over the rolled sheet.
Roll the dough sheet tightly starting from the short end just like a roulade. Using a sharp knife slice the shaped log into two lengthwise. Turn the sliced sides keeping the filling side up.
Then twist the two lengths together and seal both the ends properly as shown in the pictures.
Place the shaped babka into a 6x3x3 inches greased loaf tin and cover it with cling wrap. Keep the tin in the refrigerator for 8-9 hours. Let the bread dough rise in the refrigerator. The slow process of rising in the refrigerator will enhance the flavor of the bread. I prefer to leave my dough over-night in the refrigerator.
Baking the Vegan Babka Bread
After 10 hr of resting take the bread tin out from the refrigerator and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, keep the oven for preheating at 200 °C. Because it’s a vegan bread so I haven’t used milk for brushing. Just spray some water on the bread and keep it for baking at 200 °C for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take the baked pesto babka bread out from the oven. Immediately demould it else the bread will be soggy. Let the bread rest on a cooling rack for 2 hr minimum. While baking in case you feel your bread is browning fast, then cover it with aluminum foil and continue to bake.
Our Vegan Pesto Babka bread is ready to serve. This tastes best with a bowl of hot soup or coffee. Try this recipe to impress your friends and family and share your feedback with me in the comment section below.
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#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month the #BreadBakers, hosted by Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories, are baking breads that can be made ahead and rested, either in the refrigerator or at room temperature, before baking. It’s a great way to develop flavor.
Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls by All That’s Left are the Crumbs
Finnish Pulla by A Messy Kitchen
Homemade Hot Dog Rolls by Sneha’s Recipe
Make Ahead Sourdough Rolls by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Pesto Babka by Anybody Can Bake
Soft Potato Buns by Food Lust People Love
White Rye Sandwich Buns by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- 300 gm Semolina superfine, unroasted
- 1/2 tsp Dry Yeast
- 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 190 ml Water
- In a bowl take ½ tsp brown sugar and ½ tsp yeast. Add lukewarm water, stir it and let the solution rest until it froths.
- In a kneading bowl, take semolina, salt and add activated yeast solution to it. Start binding the dough by adding water little by little.
- Once you bind the dough, take it out on the counter for further kneading. Add 1 tbs olive oil in-between. Knead it until it becomes smooth and soft.
- Keep the dough in a bowl and let it rest until it becomes double in volume.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pesto sauce.
- For pesto sauce, in a mixer jar take basil leaves, soaked cashew, garlic cloves, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Grind it and your vegan pesto sauce is ready.
- Once dough doubles, punch it to release the air. Take the dough out on the lightly floured surface.
- Using a rolling pin roll it into a rectangular sheet of 8 x 12 inches and thickness should be ¼ inch.
- Spread an even layer of prepared homemade pesto sauce all over the rolled sheet.
- Roll the dough sheet tightly starting from the short end just like a roulade.
- Using a sharp knife slice the shaped log into two lengthwise.
- Then twist the two lengths together and seal both the ends properly.
- Place the shaped babka into a 6x3x3 inches greased loaf tin and cover it with cling wrap. Keep the tin in the refrigerator for 8-9 hours.
- After 10 hr of resting take the bread tin out from the refrigerator and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, keep the oven for preheating at 200 °C.
- Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 200 °C for 30 minutes.
- Once baked, take the bread out from the oven and demould it. Let it cool down before slicing.
- This is a tried and tested recipe. In case you want to change any ingredient, then the final outcome will also change.
- 10 hr refrigeration helps to enhance the flavor.
- Use fine unroasted semolina only. In case you don’t have fine semolina, you can pulse regular semolina to make it super fine.
- It’s a vegan recipe that is why I haven’t used butter, milk, etc. However, if you want you can replace olive oil with butter.
- Every oven behaves differently and you are the best judge for your oven. So baking time can vary depending upon your oven size and model.
I’ve tried this recipe twice now…really lovely flavor and I love the idea of using semolina instead of apf. Thank you for sharing!
Both times I tried (once in the refrigerator and once on the countertop) the dough did not rise the second time (after putting pesto in and shaping it). I used an aluminum pan and a glass pan and had the same result both times. Anything that I am missing here?
Recipe sounds interesting. Can you suggest alternative for Basil as not available nearby.
well you can try same with pizza sauce.
it looks so yummy ma’am i have tried many of your recipe
Loved the recipe. Thanks for sharing.
Is the fine semolina the same as chiroti rava?
Yes, it is the same.
Lovely recipe. What will be the quantity in case of instant dry yeast.
Thank you! Use same amount as mentioned in the recipe.
Hi if I am using active yeast how much I have to use..?
Use the same amount as mentioned in the recipe.
What if fresh basil leaves are not available. May we use dried ones n in what quantity?
Dried ones will not give the flavor.
Thank you so much. Can I use Nutella???
Amazing recipe mam…. 😋
Is the refrigeration completely necessary? I don’t want to wait to eat this deliciousness!!
Refrigeration will help to enhance the taste. However its not mandatory. So you can leave it on room temperature after shaping and bake it once its double in volume.
Amazing recipe! Love pesto!
Thank you Usha.
Wow! What a gorgeous crumb and a gorgeous swirl of tasty pesto! Beautiful loaf!
Thank you Karen.
That ribbon of pesto through the loaf is fabulous, Sonia. I can almost smell it baking now!
Thank you so much. There is no comparison to homemade fresh pesto sauce 🙂
Gorgeous color and I love putting pesto in bread. I bet this would make fantastic sandwiches for grills or paninis.
My family gobbled this bread with dollop of garlic butter and fresh homemade pasta. It was immediate hit at my place.
Oh my, I love the swirl of pesto in that gorgeous loaf of bread!!
Thank You Wendy 🙂