Babka Alert!!!

chocolate-raisin babkaWe tested and then tested again and in some cases many times more. The Chocolate-Raisin Babka (p. 221) was one such recipe. Because the traditional method was so labor intensive I wanted to come up with a recipe that had the same divine taste without all the fuss. Well I think we came very close indeed. BUT there is a big mistake in the list of ingredients.

There should be 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (not 6) and

that bit of rum we mention should be brushed onto the loaf once it is out of the oven and slightly cooled (or it can be left off all together if you want a kid friendly version).

The good news for those of you that have a very wet dough in your refrigerator. It can be fixed! All you have to do is add another 1 1/2 cups of flour and your soupy batter will turn into a glossy dough. It will require a bit of muscle but not too much because the babka dough is still quite soft.

Now mark the change in your book so that when you pass it down to your favorite niece, son or neighbor they will be in the know!

The results in the end are truly fantastic!!!

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16 thoughts to “Babka Alert!!!”

  1. I saw the NYTimes artcile- made the bread, Boule, last night. It was incredible!

    I just bought “Artisan Bread..” and i was wondering, when you call for nonstick loaf pans- can I use bread pans with parchment paper instead?

    I have been a big fan of the “Tassajara Bread Book” for many years, but if i were to recommend one book or the other to a new baker, I would recommend yours hands down!

    This book is a mind blower for those who made bread “the old fashioned way”, for so long..

  2. Hi Larry,
    Thank you, I’m so glad you are enjoying the book!
    Because our dough is so wet it tends to stick to everything, which is why we recommend non-stick pans. If you have parchment paper you can certainly use that to line the bottom of your loaf pan. You’ll still want to grease the paper and the sides of the pan very well.
    Enjoy! Zoë

  3. Hi Zoe– Just got the book and love it! Do you think it’s possible to make a dairy-free version of this babka for the lactose intolerant? Perhaps substitute something for the milk and butter?



  4. Hi Kirsten,

    I think it will work to substitute water for the milk and either margarine or the like for the butter. I’m planning a test batch of it to see if it is satisfying.

    Thanks for trying the bread and I’ll let you know what I come up with. If you try it let me know what you think!

    Thanks, Zoe

  5. Before I go out and buy the book to have it shipped to me, I just would like to know whether it calls for a lot of hard-to-find-outside-the-US ingredients, since I am living in China. This sounds like it should be a real life-changer for me if it doesn’t!

  6. Hi James,

    You can make several loaves using just water, salt, yeast and all-purpose flour. Add to the shopping list things like: whole wheat flour, eggs, butter, chocolate and oats and you can get through most of the book. I suppose rye is out of the question? If not, then you are pretty well set! In other words there really isn’t much in the book that can’t be found in an average grocery store. Having said that I’ve never been to China, let alone a grocery store there. Good luck!

    Will you be using a baking stone? I read your note about the peel but wasn’t sure if you would have access to a stone?

    I look forward to hearing more about your bread! It will be the first loaf of our bread baked in Asia. Thanks for trying it.


  7. Hello,

    I just recently ordered your book and now have to wait for its delivery (it looks like it is on backorder). In the meantime, I’ve glanced at some of the specialty breads that you have shown on your website (Panettone, Babka). My question is whether your method would work for Stollen, which is a bit more dense than Panettone. This XMAS, I baked a whole bunch of stollen and gave them as gifts. A simpler recipe would be great if it is possible (as making them was quite time consuming this year).


  8. Hi Dan,

    I have heard from the publisher that the books have been shipped from the printer to Amazon and will be there any day now. So hopefully you will not wait as long as you’ve been told?

    I have had lots of requests for a Stollen recipe. Living in Minnesota it was a huge oversight not to put one in the book!!! I’ve also had people tell me that they adapted the panettone from the book to fit their Stollen recipes.

    If you have a particular Stollen recipe you’d like to adapt let me know and I can help you work on that!

    Thanks, Zoë

  9. Hello Zoe,

    I’ll have to dig up the recipe and look. It would be great if your method can simplify my current recipe. My guess is that the dough is a variation of brioche (maybe not as moist). At some point, I’ll give it a try when I get the book. If I have any trouble, I’ll email you. Thanks.


  10. Hi,

    I’ve been working with “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” for about a month now, and I still have the problem I’ve had from the start. I’ve been in touch with Jeff about this, and I’ve done what he suggested, but to no avail. My breads are delicious, but very tiny!! They just don’t seem to rise much. Jeff had suggested I spend a little more time in the “cloaking” step, which I’ve done–no difference. Last night I made the crusty sandwich bread from the Master recipe, and it’s about 2″ high in the middle (at the “slash”) and about 1″ along the outside edges. HELP! What am I doing wrong?? The breads seem correct in every other way. The crust is crunchy and crackly, the inside is moist and light. I’m stumped. (I’d hoped to take your class at Cooks on Crocus, but it’s full.)

    Thank you so much.

    Michele Potts

  11. Hi Michelle,

    What kind of flour are you using?

    Is your kitchen on the cool side? Are you allowing the dough to rise long enough?

    have you tried the refrigerated rise?

    Give me some more details and we can go from there. I’m sorry you weren’t able to get into the class at Cooks. Is your name on the waiting list? Sometimes spots open up.

    We’ll figure this out!


  12. Hi Zoe,

    First, I’ll join the chorus of those telling you how your book “changed my life!!” Ever since I got it, I’ve only bought one loaf of bread and that was because I was sick. This post was about an error on a page in your book; I’ve gone and corrected the error and my question is: do you have a list of errors that you can point us to so that we can fix all of them? (Assuming there are more than one because there ALWAYS are…grin).
    Thanks again for a great book. I’ve really been having a lot of fun making these wonderful breads.

    Alice Scherer, Oregon City, Oregon

  13. Hi Alice,

    Thanks for writing. I’m so thrilled that you have only had to buy one loaf of bread.

    If you go to the top of the page you will see a red bar that says home, events, errata, etc, if you go to the errata page you will find all of the sneaky mistakes that got past all of the editing that we did.

    Enjoy the bread!


  14. Hi Zoe,

    You wrote “if you go to the errata page you will find all of the sneaky mistakes that got past all of the editing that we did.” Problem is there is no such link that says errata. Where can I find a list of errors?

  15. Bonjour, Zoe:

    I noticed the little “pi” symbol following step 1 of the master recipe. At the risk of looking dumb, I am too curious– what does that mean? Also like to say that this book is a God-send for those of us trying to get back to real food in a run-on-the-hanmster-wheel-til-you-drop world. I know it must have entailed a great deal of work– thank you to both you and Jeff. I read about your bread revolution in Mother Earth News, by the way.
    Best wishes, sandra

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