Many different versions of this rich bread, laced with rum syrup and drizzled with icing, are served at Easter in Polish households. It’s such a tradition, and so well-loved, that there are probably as many babka recipes as there are Polish bakers! This particular recipe was inspired by one in our 1990 200th Anniversary Cookbook, which includes a wealth of recipes and information from cultures around the world. You’ll notice that, despite being made with yeast, it’s an easy batter bread; “no-knead” isn’t as new a concept as you might think.
35 to 40 mins
2 hrs 15 mins
1 loaf, 12 to 16 servings
- 1/2 cup (113g) lukewarm milk
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons (57g) butter, softened
- 2 cups (240g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup (43g) currants or raisins (golden raisins preferred)
- 1/4 cup (43g) candied mixed peel, or mixed dried fruit, chopped
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (57g) water*
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (14g to 28g) rum*
- 1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons (28g) milk, or a combination of milk and rum or apple juice
- Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Place everything except the fruit in a mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed until cohesive. Increase your mixer’s speed to high, and beat for 2 minutes.
- Add the fruit, beating gently just to combine.
- Cover the bowl, and let the dough/thick batter rest/rise for 60 minutes; it won’t appear to do too much.
- Scoop the batter into a greased 10-cup Bundt pan. Cover the pan, and let the dough rest/rise for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Bake the babka for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190°F.
- While the babka is baking, prepare the rum syrup. Combine all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil, swirling the liquid in the pan, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
- Remove the babka from the oven. Poke it all over gently with a toothpick or fork, and slowly pour the syrup over the babka’s surface.
- When the syrup is fully absorbed (about 20 minutes or so), carefully loosen the babka’s edges, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.
- If you choose to use the icing: Mix all of the ingredients together, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over completely cool babka.