Babka is a sweet Polish yeast bread, which can left plain or made with a variety of different fillings. For this Masterclass, Andrew Lipiszko of the Polish Rye Crust Bakery in Melbourne shows us how to make it with both sultana and citrus peel and poppy seed fillings.
Andrew Lipiszko found himself in the baking industry after searching for a job to fit in around his university studies. An electrical systems and computer engineer by trade, Andrew was lured back to baking after finishing his degree. He worked at Glicks Cakes and Bagels and a bakery in Poland before officially opening the doors of Polish Rye Crust Bakery in 2009. Since then, Polish Rye Crust has become a firm favourite of Dandenong locals.
WHAT YOU NEED
Yeast babka ingredients:
1kg plain flour
80g fresh or dry yeast
520ml full cream milk
2 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks (leave the egg whites for the poppy seed mixture)
20g citrus peel
50ml orange juice
Poppy seed mixture ingredients:
150g boiled poppy seed
15g melted butter
20g almond meal
2 egg whites
WHAT TO DO
Poppy seed mixture method:
Boil the poppy seeds for about 2 hours, drain and let cool.
Once cooled, add all the ingredients apart from the egg whites and mix it together.
Whip the egg white until the peaks are formed and gently fold it into the poppy mixture.
Set aside for later.
Brake the fresh yeast into small pieces and place into a bowl. Add sugar and half the milk (at room temperature) and set it aside.
Adding cold milk will work, but it will delay the fermentation process. Dry yeast can be used in similar fashion, but refer to manufacturers instructions.
Wait until you see bubbles forming. Once ready add the flour, sugar, oil, eggs and the remaining milk and mix it until nice and smooth.
Mixing time will depend on the mixer type, but remember to mic it on slow as you do not want to over mix the dough.
If no mixer is available the dough can be mixed the traditional way. Mixing it by hand ensures full control of the final result. Keep mixing the ingredients together until the dough appears to stop sticking to the hand. This will happen for a very short period (about 1 minute depending on how vigorously you are mixing). After that, it will start to stick again.
Once ready take about 500g of the ready dough, place it in a separate bowl and cover with cloth (this will be for the babka with poppy seed mixture)
With the remaining dough, add the sultanas, citrus peel and orange juice and mix it together. Place it in a bowl, cover it with a cloth and set it aside.
Wait till the dough doubles in size.
Take it out of the bowl and place it on the table. Roll it to form a tube (long cylinder) join the two ends together and place it into a greased babka tin. Cover and set aside.
*Back to the poppy seed babka* Once the plain dough has doubled in size take the dough and place it on the table. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough.
Place the poppy seed mixture evenly (rolling pin can be used to flatten the mixture). Roll the dough the same as if you were rolling a roulade. Then join the two ends together and place it into a greased babka tin. Cover it and set aside.
Both babkas should double in size before they are ready to be baked. The time for the dough to double will depend on the room temperature and humidity. Typically it should take around 45 – 60 minutes.
Once doubled, place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes at 180’C.
The temperature will depend on the oven used, fan forced or not.
Once baked, leave and let them rest in the tin for about 10 minutes before you take it out. At this stage the babka is very fragile.
However leaving the babka in the tin for too long, will cause the babka to sweat in the tin and stick to it, making it difficult to take out.
Once babkas are cooled they can be decorated to your liking, with melted cooking chocolate or icing mixture. For the icing mixture, take 100g of icing sugar and lemon juice (1 lemon worth) and mix together. A bit of water can be added if necessary.