Vegan Cinnamon Babka, a fluffy buttery brioche-like dough with swirls of caramelised cinnamon. Easy to make and step-by-step pictures!
This babka is an amazing comforting baked bread which will impress your friends, family and guests!
Secret: This buttery twist bread is basically is a vegan cinnamon roll but shaped in a loaf. Or it's like a vegan brioche but a sweet cinnamon filling! If you can make either of them, you can make this!
Ingredients for the vegan cinnamon babka
First, we need some pretty simple ingredients including:
- Plain or all-purpose flour
- Vegan butter or margarine
- Plant-based milk
- Cane sugar (for the dough)
- Brown or coconut sugar (for the filling)
- Instant quick yeast
Do I need to activate instant quick yeast before using it?
I keep my yeast in my fridge all year long and this prolongs its shelf life... I've used refrigerated yeast up to 1 year past its use by date and it's worked perfectly ;).
If you use another type of yeast, I'd strongly recommend googling the conversion as most other types cannot be used as a 1:1 substitution!
First rise for the vegan cinnamon babka dough
After you've kneaded all the dough ingredients, pop it in a floured or greased bowl and allow it to double in size.
Depending on the climate of your home (temperature and humidity), it can take 1 hour up to a few hours for the dough to double. If it's taking longer than expected, reposition the dough in a warmer spot.
The vegan cinnamon babka dough is 'enriched' with butter and this inhibits the dough from rising as quickly as other bread doughs. If you make sure the dough is in a WARM spot, the butter will be soft and the dough is encouraged to rise!
You can place the dough in an airtight container in the fridge and allow it to rise overnight. It might not double in size this way but if you let it come back to room temperature afterwards, it'll eventually get there.
Making the filling for the vegan cinnamon babka
Unlike some vegan cinnamon rolls, we need to combine melted butter with the sugar and cinnamon to make a paste for the filling. Having too much butter (or too much filling) will drown the babka. As much as I looove cinnamon, we don't really want this!
In the recipe card at the bottom of the post, you'll find my 'tried and tested' cinnamon babka filling ratio.
Assembling the vegan babka
Now for the fun and messy part! Similar to cinnamon rolls, we need to roll out the dough on a floured surface and spread the cinnamon filling on it.
From the long size, roll up the dough to make a log! Try to use two hands to roll the dough up as tightly as possible.
Once you have a 'log' of dough, slice it lengthways using the sharpest knife you have. You'll then have two strands of dough with an exposed cinnamon filling
The easiest way to assemble and twist the dough is to make an 'X' shape from the two strands. Twist together the bottom then twist together the top.
I accidentally made my vegan cinnamon babka MUCH longer than my loaf tin. To fit it in, I 'compressed' the length of my babka then squashed it into my 20 cm loaf tin.
Second rise for the babka
All the hard work is done at this stage! Allow your babka to rest for the second time. It should rise just a little, say by 20%.
This step can also be done in the fridge overnight! I'd recommend sprinkling a little water on the babka before you cover it and let it rise. The water will prevent the babka from drying out.
Keeping the vegan babka 'moist'
I'd strongly recommend creating a simple sugar glaze (sugar and water) and pouring it over your babka when it's hot from the oven.
The sugar glaze gives your vegan cinnamon babka a beautiful and shiny exterior and traps in the moisture from baking. The glaze also adds plenty of moisture to your babka and makes it less likely to dry out!
Check out my other vegan babka recipes:
Or see my vegan bread recipes:
- Vegan Brioche
- Sticky Cinnamon Buns
- Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- Jam Donut Cinnamon Rolls
- Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls
Vegan Cinnamon Babka
- 2 ¾ cups (345g) all-purpose plain flour, or bread flour plus more for dusting
- ½ cup (125g) dairy-free milk, warm
- ½ cup (112g) vegan butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (40g) granulated sugar, or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon (10g) instant dry yeast, (note 1)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of any good-quality salt
Babka sugar glaze (optional, note 2)
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30g) water
- Line an 8 inch (20 cm) loaf tin with parchment paper. A longer loaf tin will work well too.
To make the babka dough:
- Combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix until all ingredients come together.
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. The dough is ready when it's soft, stretchy and comes away from the side of the bowl (or kneading surface). If the dough hasn't formed a smooth ball, add a dash of milk and knead again. If the dough sticks to the side of the bowl (or kneading surface), add a little more flour and knead again.
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Rest the dough in a warm place for at least 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size. If the dough doesn't double in size, place it in a WARMER spot and wait until it does.
To make the cinnamon filling:
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until smooth. Allow to cool until it thickens to a spreadable consistency.
Shaping the babka:
- Dust a clean surface with flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape around 10 x 8 inches (25 x 20 inches) large. The long side of the dough should be a little longer than the length of your loaf tin.
- Spread the filling onto the dough leaving a 1 inch (2 cm) border around the edge.
- Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a log (note 3). Use a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthways. This will create two long 'strips' of dough. Carefully twirl the two strips together. Use the pictures in the above blog post for guidance.
- Lift the twirled dough into your loaf tin. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise for at least 1 hour. The babka is ready when it rises by at least 20% and looks soft and puffy. You can also let it rest overnight in the fridge, as long as you bring the babka back to room temperature before baking.
Baking the babka:
- When your babka is ready for baking, preheat your oven to 170°C (340°F).
- Bake the babka for 30-40 minutes. The babka is ready when its surface is be golden brown and if you insert a skewer into the middle and there's no wet dough on the skewer.
- If the top of the babka is browning too quickly (and the middle isn't cooked), reduce the oven to 150°C (300°F) and cover the babka with aluminium foil (or an oven-safe bowl which doesn't touch the top of the babka). Remove the babka from the oven.
Sugar glaze (make this while your babka is baking):
- Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. While the babka is still hot from the oven, pour the sugar glaze on top.
- The babka is best eaten on the day it is baked. Alternatively, store it an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Warm up the leftovers before serving.
- Instant yeast doesn't need to be 'activated' or 'bloomed' beforehand. However, if you use another type of yeast, combine it with warm milk and a pinch of sugar beforehand. Wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe.
- Alternatively, use 50mL of any liquid sweetener instead of the sugar and water. Heat it up and drizzle on the hot babka.
- If your dough is too soft, it will be difficult to shape. If so, place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. This is just for the babka's appearance and won't affect its taste or texture.
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