Remember the babka phase of the pandemic, where every restaurant seemed to be doing home babka kits and food blogs were full of choco-cinnamon-peanut butter-cardamom-ginger babka recipes?
I decided to athletically straddle Insta trends and created this Wild Garlic Babka. I found it was best straight out of the oven or sliced, toasted and buttered (with salt). As with Rosie Birkett’s scones, wild garlic and soft doughs really do make things of beauty.
Makes one loaf
For the dough:
500g strong white flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
80g unsalted butter, cubed
For the filling:
100g wild garlic
2 minced garlic cloves
25g butter, melted
Flaky sea salt
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Warm the milk with the yeast, but don’t boil it.
Mix the warm milk and yeast into the flour with a wooden spoon.
Begin to knead, and knead the butter into the dough, one cube at a time, until you have an elastic, glossy dough.
Return to the bowl and cover until it has doubled in size – usually about 1.5 hours.
Meanwhile, mix the butter, wild garlic, garlic and plenty of salt until you have a paste.
Grease a loaf tin.
When the dough has risen, roll it into a roughly 30 x 40cm rectangle on a lightly floured worktop.
Spread the paste over the rectangle, leaving a 1cm edge.
Roll the dough up tightly in a cylinder from one of the longer edges and cut in half down the middle, lengthways, so you have two long babka snakes with the paste showing.
Put the two pieces next to each other with the filling facing upwards.
Pinch two of the ends together and then twist the lengths together into a plait. Make sure the paste is always exposed.
When it is all twisted, push both ends together at the centre underneath it.
Squeeze it into the loaf tin, loosely cover it with oiled parchment paper and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
When the babka has puffed up, bake it for 50 minutes or until it is golden brown.
Brush melted butter over the top when it is done, and scatter over some flaky sea salt.