Sweet Tahini Babka
Serves: 6 servings
  • 120ml warm (not hot) plant-based or dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
  • 50g coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 250g spelt or plain flour, plus extra ?for dusting
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 70g butter, softened, or 70ml olive oil
Orange tahini chocolate spread:
  • 130g coconut sugar
  • 50ml tahini
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 60g butter, softened, or 70ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoons grated orange zest
Sweet glaze:
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Whisk together the warm milk, yeast and a pinch of the coconut sugar in a small bowl. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate – you’ll see it becoming foamy on the surface.
  2. Mix together the remainder of the coconut sugar, the salt and flour in a mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to the flour while mixing constantly with your hands or with the mixer on low speed until incorporated. Then add the yeast mixture and keep kneading while you gradually add the butter or olive oil, switching to the dough hook if using a mixer. Continue kneading on a floured work surface, if kneading by hand, until the dough is smooth. Grease a bowl with butter or olive oil, add the dough and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise in the kitchen for 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, line a 1.5 litre loaf tin with baking paper. Mix together all the ingredients for the orange tahini chocolate spread in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Roll the dough out on a work surface lightly dusted with flour into a large rectangle, 3–5mm thick. Spread with an even layer of the orange tahini chocolate spread. Starting from one longer side, roll up the dough into a ?long roll. Slice the roll in half lengthways. Keeping the cut sides facing upwards, wind the two long pieces of dough around each other to form a twisted rope, then place in the greased loaf tin. Tuck in the ends of the dough to neaten. Cover with the tea towel and leave the babka to rise in the kitchen for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Put the honey or agave syrup and water for the glaze in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes, then set aside.
  6. Bake the babka for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from ?the oven and brush with the glaze. Leave to cool in the tin before slicing ?and serving.
Babka is Polish for grandmother and also the name of a classic Jewish sweet yeast bread. My first encounter with babka was in a Jewish café in Amsterdam, and it was instant love because it was so delicious and reminiscent of the cinnamon rolls of my childhood in Sweden. Popular fillings for babka are chocolate and cinnamon, but for this version I’ve added tahini for a sesame twist, which gives the sweet spread a slightly savoury, nutty edge. Traditional babka recipes call for butter, making for a lovely rich taste, but you can use olive oil instead with excellent results and egg replacer for a vegan babka.
Recipe by Honest Cooking at https://honestcooking.com/174867-2/