Blueberry & soft cheese babka
Make the jam for this moreish blueberry and soft cheese babka or save time by using a store-bought blueberry jam. It's best eaten the day it’s made
- Serves: 12 persons
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 15 ½tbsp golden caster sugar
- 50g dried blueberries (optional)
- 250ml whole milk
- 2eggs, beaten
- 50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
- 275g soft cheese, at room temperature
- sunflower oil, for the bowl and tin
- 1tbsp honey
- 350g blueberries
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 1lemon, juiced
Step 1To make the dough, put the flour, yeast, 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp fine sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitting with a dough hook. Stir well to combine. Tip in the dried blueberries, if using, the milk and most of the egg, reserving 1-2 tbsp. Knead on medium for 8-10 mins until the dough is elastic and smooth. Add the butter, cube by cube, until no streaks remain, only adding more once the previous addition has been completely incorporated. Add 50g of the soft cheese in the same way, mixing in a little at a time until fully incorporated. Continue kneading until the dough comes away cleanly from the bowl. This whole process will take 8-10 mins, and when ready, the dough will be soft and tacky. Form into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and prove in the fridge overnight (at least 12 hrs).
Step 2Meanwhile, if you’re making the jam, tip the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice into a deep saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally and mashing the blueberries with the spoon until thickened and reduced. Set aside to cool completely. Will keep for a week in a sterilised jar in the fridge.
Step 3Oil a 27x14cm (or 2kg) loaf tin and line with baking parchment. Mix the remaining soft cheese with the rest of the sugar. Beat the jam well to loosen, adding 1 tsp boiling water if it’s very stiff. Tip the proved dough onto a lightly dusted work surface and roll out into a roughly 60 x 30cm rectangle. Spread over the rest of the soft cheese, leaving a 1-2cm border around the edges, then spoon the blueberry jam on top. Roll up into a tight spiral from a long side, tucking the seam underneath. Cut the spiral in half lengthways, so you have two long pieces parallel to each other. Carefully plait the pieces together, cut-sides up, and lay in the tin, gently tucking both ends in. Cover. Leave to prove in a warm place for 30 mins-1 hr until doubled in size.
Step 4Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Brush the babka with the remaining egg and bake for 30 mins until deeply golden. Cover loosely with foil, turn the oven up to 200C/180C fan/gas 5 and bake for a further 30-45 mins until the base sounds hollow when tapped. Brush with the honey and cool in the tin for 30 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice to serve. Best eaten the day it’s made, but it will keep in an airtight container for two days.