Lemon Babka

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This zesty cake has lovely flavor and is light and fluffy. Babka is a traditional Polish cake.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 C. bread flour
  • 2 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 10 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 1 C. Half & Half (heated to about 110 degrees)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

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Directions

Thoroughly combine the flours and yeast in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and then set aside.

To mix the dough in a heavy-duty mixer, place the sugar, salt, butter, lemon and vanilla extracts and grated zest in the mixer bowl, attach the paddle and mix on low speed for 1 minute to blend the ingredients. Add the eggs, one by one, until they are absorbed, then add the half and half and mix briefly.

Now slowly add all of the flour until the dough forms a mass around the paddle. Turn the machine off, remove the paddle and replace with the dough hook. Knead the dough on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

If the dough is excessively soft and sticky, add 1-2 Tbs. more flour, one at a time, and knead a little longer. Place the dough into a large bowl, then cover the bowl tightly with

plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours or overnight. (This chilling time is imperative so that the butter doesn't seep out of the dough.)

After a couple of hours or overnight, turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and gently punch it down. Using floured hands, roll the dough into a fat cigar shape about 12-14 in. long. Now form the dough into a small tire, and pin together the open ends.

Place the dough in an unbuttered nonstick bundt pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise slowly in a warm place until doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and when the babka is risen, bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven, and carefully remove the babka to a cooling rack. When completely cool, heavily dust with powdered sugar.

Yield: 16 servings

From: "The New Polish Cuisine" by Chef Michael J. Baruch

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