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Jun 14, 2022

Cinnamon Blueberry Babka

Cinnamon blueberry babka, a sweet fruit-swirled bread you will fall in love with. 


This babka is made with a butter and egg enriched dough beautifully swirled with a homemade blueberry cinnamon jam, brushed with syrup, and topped with a vanilla glaze. 

You'll love pulling apart the buttery layers and enjoying every bite of this babka, especially when it is freshly baked. 

Babka is a bread with Jewish roots and has evolved quite a bit to become a much sweeter and egg enriched bread. Evidently, it evolved from when bakers would take leftover challah dough and roll it up with seeds, nuts, cinnamon, or jam. 

Babka has been enjoying a huge revival, especially since Breads Bakery in New York City began selling its legendary chocolate babka, which consists of laminated dough (like pastry dough) filled with Nutella and chocolate chips and twisted. 

One of these days I plan on trying the laminated version. Luckily, Uri Scheft, the baker who splits his time between Breads Bakery and Lehamin Bakery (in Israel) has published the legendary recipe in his book, Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking. While I haven't yet made his babka, I've tried several other of his amazing recipes, including the spinach and olive focaccia

These days, babka has evolved a lot, and includes all kinds of fillings, including both sweet and savory. It can be elaborately twisted and swirled, brushed with syrup, and topped with streusel and/or glaze. While the original dough might include oil or margarine to keep it dairy free, in its current iteration, it is typically enriched with butter, similar to a brioche. 

Of course, many folks credit the current interest in babka to a Seinfeld episode, but that was in 1994. 

Ingredients in this babka:

The dough includes milk, yeast, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, salt, and butter - almost a full stick per loaf. 

For the filling, make a cinnamon blueberry jam by simmering the blueberries and brown sugar and adding some cinnamon, a bit of lemon juice, some butter, and a pinch of salt. 

For the glaze, use a mixture of confectioner's sugar, cream, and vanilla. 

You can also brush the the loaf when you pull it from the oven with a simple syrup. I had some vanilla flavored syrup that I used. 

How to Make this Cinnamon Blueberry Babka:

First, mix warm milk, yeast, and some sugar to activate the yeast, and then beat in the rest of the sugar, the egg, and the vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. 

Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the rest of the sugar, egg, and vanilla. 

Next, add the flour and the salt and mix on low for two to three minutes. Once you have a rough dough, add the butter, one piece at a time, until it is incorporated. 

After that, raise the speed to medium  and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and bouncy. 

At this point, let the dough rise for an hour at room temperature and then overnight in the refrigerator to develop flavor before rolling it out. When you are ready, spread it with the blueberry jam, and shape it. 

Finally, let the shaped dough rise until it just crests to the edge of a loaf pan and bake it for 40 to 50 minutes. Immediately brush it with the syrup, let it cool, and then top it with the glaze. 

Recipe Notes and Tips:

You can substitute store bought blueberry jam if you prefer, although making the fresh jam is super easy. Plus, you still end up with a few whole blueberries. 

Although this bread is best the first day or two, it can be kept at room temperature for about 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze it once it has cooled from the oven to serve later. 

When this babka begins to stale, don't despair. Keep in mind that it also makes amazing French toast!

Another note: as you are baking this loaf, if you notice that it is over browning, you can tent it with foil to prevent burning until the loaf reaches about 190 degrees F. on an instant read thermometer. 

To make your own vanilla simple syrup: bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil until the sugar has dissolved. Cool the mixture and stir in a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. You can keep this mixture in the refrigerator for up to a month. It's great for sweetening a cup of coffee or a cocktail. 

More Babka Recipes on Karen's Kitchen Stories:

Peanut Butter Babka. This one is based on an oil-based dough. 

Chocolate Walntut Babka. This one has an amazing streusel.

Apple Babka. Another one that has lots of cinnamon flavor. 

Chocolate Babka. This one is shaped more traditionally with a long rope folded over itself and not braided or split open. It is also made with oil rather than butter. It is a more traditional Jewish recipe that a wonderful eastern European bread baking friend (who now lives in Australia) shared with me. 

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Be sure to follow our Pinterest board

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Thank you to Kelly from Passion Kneaded for hosting! 

If you're ready to try your hand at babka, you can't go wrong with this dough. Just fill it with whatever sweet or savory ingredients that suit your fancy!

Cinnamon Blueberry Babka

Cinnamon Blueberry Babka
Yield: 16 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 1 HourInactive time: 10 HourTotal time: 12 Hour
Cinnamon blueberry babka, a sweet fruit-swirled bread you will fall in love with.


For the Dough
  • 1/2 cup milk, 110 degrees F.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces (2 1/4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into 12 pieces
For the Blueberry Jam
  • 6 1/2 ounces blueberries
  • 75 grams dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pinch of salt
For the Syrup Soak and Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla simple syrup (optional)
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cream or milk, plus more if needed to thin the glaze
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


To Make the Dough and the Babka
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Stir and let get foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Beat in the rest of the sugar, the egg, and the vanilla.
  3. Add the flour and the salt and mix with the dough hook for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a rough dough.
  4. Change the speed to medium/low and add the butter, one piece at a time, and mix each piece in until incorporated.
  5. When all of the butter is incorporated, change the speed to medium and mix for ten minutes. The dough should be smooth and bouyant.
  6. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for one hour at room temperature. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to continue to rise overnight.
  7. The next day, spray a 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch standard bread loaf pan with spray oil. Deflate the dough and roll the dough out to a 9 inch by 18 inch rectangle. Spread the dough evenly with the blueberry jam.
  8. Rolls the dough up, lengthwise and seal the seam. Using a serrated knife or bench knife, cut the dough in half, lengthwise. Cross the two pieces of dough, cut side up, over each other in the middle and then twist the dough in a spiral while keeping the cut side face up. Next, bend the spiral in half widthwise and wrap the spiral once again over itself. It will be messy. Don't worry. Tuck the ends under and place the dough into the prepared pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough just crests to the top of the pan.
  9. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the loaf pan in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the loaf reaches 190 degrees F in the interior (with an instant read thermometer).
  10. When you remove the loaf from the oven, brush it immediately with optional 2 tablespoons of the vanilla syrup.
  11. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Depan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. Drizzle with the glaze.
To Make the Blueberry Jam
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the blueberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, butter, and salt over medium low until everything has thickened.
  2. Let cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
To Make the Glaze
  1. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar, cream (or milk), and vanilla.
  2. Add more cream or sugar as needed to achieve a consistency that is easy to drizzle over the loaf.

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babka, blueberries
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Would you like to comment?

  1. This is like the perfect breakfast in my opinion.

  2. I am loving this bread Karen. This will be so good for Breakfast.

  3. Woah. That is one totally gorgeous babka. I would be all over that. Yes, please.

  4. That glaze just takes it over the top. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous.

  5. I love the addition of cinnamon to the blueberry jam. Bet it smells heavenly baking!

  6. The Babka looks so delicious, love the cinnamon & blueberry flavor in it!

  7. A stunning bake as usual! I love the blueberry filling and the babka is wonderful!

  8. I made this the week after you published it! It didn't look as nice as yours but it was SO GOOD! I had it for breakfast every day


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