This sourdough cinnamon babka recipe is so easy that if you have never made anything sourdough before you can totally make this babka! Moist and soft cinnamon bread makes for a perfect breakfast or dessert (or both!) Learn how to make your first sourdough cinnamon babka with these step by step instructions!
Why You Should Make Sourdough Cinnamon Babka
You might be thinking “Sheesh, more than 24 hours and all for just a sweet bread!” I get it, that is what I thought, too. Yet, I decided to make it once and see if it is worth it, and oh was it worth the effort! The crumb is really soft and moist because of the sourdough and long fermentation time, while the filling gives it a taste of freshly homemade cinnamon rolls. Did I convince you yet? Anyway, just try it once and see for yourself!
You Will Need
- Kitchen Scale
- Mixing Bowl
- Rubber Spatula
- Medium size jar (for levain)
- Bread Baking Tin
Ingredients for Sourdough Cinnamon Babka
Levain – you can make levain with mature sourdough starter, flour, and water. Instead of using straight up starter some bakers choose to make levain which allows you to regulate acidity and the sourness of the end product. However, you can use mature starter itself (it will definitely save you some significant amount of time!)
Flour – I used all purpose flour for this recipe. As babka is a sweet bread so you probably don’t want whole wheat or rye flour in it!
Water – this ingredient is only needed for the levain and I used warm tap water. If your water has lots of chemicals in it you can simply use filtered or bottled water. Leaving the water on the counter overnight lets all the chlorine out (if you have chlorine in your local tap water).
Eggs – this ingredient provides strength and extra flavor to your sourdough cinnamon babka!
Milk – moisturizes the dough, plus brings in extra flavor to the end product.
Butter – softens the babka and adds richness to the flavor.
Salt – brings out more sweetness!
- 50 grams of sourdough starter
- 50 grams water
- 50 grams flour
- 320 grams flour
- 110 grams of milk
- 2 large eggs
- 105 grams butter (room temperature)
- 30 grams of powdered sugar
- 8 grams of sea salt
- 1 cup brown sugar (about 200 grams)
- 1/8 cup of flour (about 15 grams)
- 3 tbsp butter (about 43 grams)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
Video Instructions for Sourdough Cinnamon Babka
Step by Step Recipe
STEP 1 – Make the Levain
If you decide to use levain in this recipe, then you will need to first feed your sourdough starter and wait until it matures. For my starter it takes 4-4.5 hours to mature. (Learn how to make a starter here!)
Maturity of a starter is defined by its peak activity – when it is risen to the maximum capacity and is bubbling, but hasn’t started to go back down yet.
After your starter matured you need to take 50 grams of starter and mix with 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water. Now you will leave your mixture for another 3 hours to let it rise and start bubbling.
So, all together this stage will take about 7 hours. If you want to know more about the difference between starter and levain check out this article.
STEP 2 – Mixing the Dough
Mix together the milk, eggs, flour, levain, sugar, and salt. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook if you have one or you can do it like I did and do a little work out with your hands! When you feel that the dough has come together and is not sticking to the sides as much, let the dough rest in the mixing bowls for 10-15 minutes.
After that start adding butter little by little and mixing it into the dough. When the butter is filly incorporated continue mixing for some time (2-3 minutes) to make sure the dough comes together.
STEP 3 – Rising Time
Now leave your dough in the mixing bowl covered with a wet kitchen towel, place into a warm place in your house (but not too hot!), and let the dough rise. You want to cover it with a wet towel so that the moisture doesn’t escape the dough too much during the rising time.
During the rising time you want to do 2 sets of stretch and folds for gluten to strengthen more. Do the first one 45 minutes after the start of the rising time and the second one 45 minutes after that.
You are looking for some rise – definitely not doubling in size! It might take a little bit over 2 hours to start see the rise. As soon as you do though, it is the time for the next step.
STEP 4 – Overnight Fermentation
As your dough started to rise a bit, transfer the mixing bowl covered with a towel into the fridge. You want to let your dough sit in the fridge overnight for about 12-15 hours (depending on when you would like to bake your babka in the morning!)
STEP 5 – Make the Filling for Your Sourdough Cinnamon Babka
Melt the butter, but be careful not to burn it. Then mix all the ingredients together until incorporated and set aside until ready to use.
STEP 6 – Roll the Dough
Take the dough out from the refrigerator and roll into about 22×45 cm rectangle (or about 10×20 inches). Then spread the filling leaving about 2 cm clean from the top and the bottom sides.
Roll the dough up and make sure to get it rolled up as tight as you can. As the dough is soft right now it might be hard to work with, so just place your roll into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
STEP 7 – Split the Babka and Braid
Take the roll out from the freezer and cut into 2 long strands. After that pinch the tops of the strands and braid them like on the picture.
Prepare the bread baking tin lined with parchment paper. Place the braid into the tin and let it sit in a warm place to rise once again. This stage might take anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours depending how quickly your babka starts to rise. It doesn’t have to double in size, but rise to about 10-20% of its original size.
STEP 8 – Bake You Sourdough Cinnamon Babka!
The moment has come! Preheat your oven to 175C/ 350F. While it is preheating prepare the egg wash. You will need 1 egg and 1 tbsp of water mixed together. Brush your sourdough cinnamon babka with the egg wash so that it browns nicely on the top.
Then place the babka into the oven for 40-50 minutes (check with a toothpick for readiness.)
STEP 9 – Sugar Syrup on the Top!
In a small pot heat up ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water and mix until sugar gets dissolved. This will go on top of your cinnamon babka right after it is out of the oven!
When you take out your sourdough cinnamon babka spread the sugar syrup you made on top of it and let the babka rest in the baking tin for about 15 minutes. Then you can take the babka out and let it cool completely before cutting into it. This is one of the hardest parts! But trust me, it is worth the wait.
Do you have some of that sourdough discard sill laying around waiting for the next baking party? No need to go far for ideas!
If you made this Sourdough Cinnamon Babka at home, please share about your experience in the comments below!