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Vegan Pesto Babka #BreadBaker

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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.

Vegan Pesto Babka Bread Slices

Babka 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

Quick Notes

Tin Size 6x3x3
Oven Temp 200 C
Baking Time 30 min
MW Convection Temp 180 C
Baking Time 30 min
Demold Instructions Immediately
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.

Pesto Babka Dough

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.

Pesto Babka Dough First Rise

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.

Rolled Pesto Babka with Pesto Sauce

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.

Shaping of Pesto Babka

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.

Shaping Pesto Babka Bread

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.

Pesto Babka Second Rise

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.

Baked Vegan Pesto Babka Bread

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.

Pesto Babka Bread

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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

Pesto Babka Bread
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Passive Time: 10 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Jewish
Servings: 1 Loaf

Ingredients

For Dough

  • 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

For Pesto Sauce

  • 250 gm Basil leaves
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 6-7 pcs Soaked Cashew
  • 4-5 pcs Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  1. This is a tried and tested recipe. In case you want to change any ingredient, then the final outcome will also change.
  2. 10 hr refrigeration helps to enhance the flavor.
  3. Use fine unroasted semolina only. In case you don’t have fine semolina, you can pulse regular semolina to make it super fine.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


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Sonia Gupta

Baking Instructor & Food Blogger

I’m Sonia Gupta, and I am on my mission to transform home-makers into home-bakers. Baking is an essential skill that every mother must know so to avoid their children eating unhealthy market baked items. My goal is to help you learn a skill that will keep your children happy and healthy.

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