You may have tried tried classic chocolate babka, but this blueberry babka is the perfect balance of sweet, soft, fluffy, fruity, and tart. Rich brioche dough is swirled with a layer of homemade sticky blueberry jam. When baked, the center remains soft while the crust becomes golden and crisp. Top with simple syrup, vanilla icing, or leave it as is. It’s the perfect treat to make for brunch that everyone will love!
What is babka?
Babka is a Jewish dish made of a sweet braided enriched bread that is traditionally filled with chocolate. The dough itself is a rich and soft brioche that’s sweeter and softer than traditional bread dough. And although it’s known more so as a bread, it’s actually treated as a dessert as it’s coated in simple syrup and swirled with a sweet filling.
How to make blueberry babka
Blueberry babka is comprised of two main components: brioche dough and blueberry jam. Although they’re both easy to make using simple ingredients, it’s important to ensure both are made using quality products to ensure your babka turns out rich and flavorful.
That’s why I prefer to use Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour in all of my dough-based recipes. Not only does it produce quality desserts, but the lack of pesticides and chemicals also just makes desserts taste better. Since dough relies heavily on flour, the flavor of the flour plays a major role in the final result.
When making the dough, the process does require patience as the dough must chill overnight. This allows the butter to fully solidify, making this rich sticky dough much easier to roll out and form into a babka loaf. Luckily you can make both the dough and jam a day ahead and then form and bake your babka the next day.
To shape the babka, roll the chilled dough into a 10×12 rectangle. To get the perfect shape, first press the dough down using your fingers, forming it into a rough rectangle. If it starts out in the shape you’re trying to roll it into, you’ll likely be left with a perfect rectangle in the end.
Once rolled, spread a thin layer of the chilled blueberry filling. Working on the 10 inch end, roll the dough into a log. Then, turn the log perpendicular to yourself and slice it right down the center. This should expose multiple layers of dough and filling.
Cross the two sliced logs to form an X, then work on one end at a time to twist it into the traditional babka shape. Twist each end about 2 1/2 times, tucking under the ends. Transfer the twisted loaf into a prepared 1 lb loaf pan and allow the babka to sit for 1 1/2 hours. This will help thaw and puff up the dough, ensuring it bakes all the way through in the oven.
Once baked, top with simple syrup and allow it to cool. Then slice and dig in!
Tips for making a successful blueberry babka loaf
Both the dough and filling are easy to make, but here are a few tips to ensure they turn out just right:
The Blueberry Filling
- I recommend using fresh blueberries as they will give you a much chunkier filling. You can use frozen, just make sure you thaw them beforehand. The filling will also have to cook a bit longer to steam off any excess water.
- Cook the filling until it is reduced by half. It should thicken and become very sticky. If you don’t cook it long enough, the jam will be a bit too thin. If it’s too thin, that excess moisture will make it hard for the babka to bake all the way through.
- Depending on how much you were able to cook down, spread a very thin layer of the blueberry filling onto the rolled dough. Again, if you spread a thick layer the babka will also turn out a bit underdone within each swirl.
The Brioche Dough
- Use good quality flour to ensure a sturdy structure. That’s why I always so Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour when it comes to doughs that rely heavily on flour. This flour is not artificially processed or sprayed with pesticides, so you know you’ll be left with a quality brioche dough in the end.
- Weigh the flour to ensure accuracy. If you don’t have a food scale, make sure you spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off. Don’t shake it down or pack it into the cup, and never scoop directly into the bag or container of flour. This compacts the flour down into your cup and leaves you with way too much excess flour.
- Keep an eye on the final mixing process. If the dough still looks to sticky and moist after 10 minutes of mixing, and 1-2 tablespoons of extra flour. It’s best to have a dough that as a bit too much flour than a bit too little, so err on the side of caution.
- Use room temperature butter, otherwise you’ll be left with a dry dough and pockets of butter scattered throughout. This is create for pie dough, but not for an enriched dough.
- Also use room temperature eggs and milk. This will prevent the dough from seizing up when mixing.
- Have patience and let the dough chill for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. This is essential for the forming and baking process, as a chilled dough is easy to roll out into a thin sheet.
How long does babka keep?
The babka will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can also store it in the refrigerator for a couple extra days. When you want a slice, wrap it in a damp paper towel and microwave for 10-15 seconds to bring back that warm and soft texture. You can also freeze the loaf. Slice the loaf and wrap it in plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. When you want a slice, let it thaw at room temp for about 1 hour. Then you can eat it as is or microwave as instructed previously.
Can I use store-bought jam?
I haven’t tested it, but I would assume store-bought would be OK. As long as you remember to spread a THIN layer. I also recommend working with chilled jam, so let it chill overnight with the dough beforehand.
Can I use instant yeast?
I don’t recommend this as the dough must chill for a long period of time in order to solidify the butter. Instant yeast works much faster than active dry, so it will cause the babka to puff up rapidly which can cause it to collapse in the oven.
For more blueberry recipes, check out my:
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make this Blueberry Babka. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print