- 1/2 cup (113g) water, lukewarm
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons (43g) butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia, optional; for enhanced flavor
- 2 1/4 cups (269g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (14g) Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup (57g) orange juice
- 1/3 cup (71g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup (99g) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup (57g) dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon (14g) butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon orange oil or 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon Yuletide Cheer Spice or cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (43g) Orange Jammy Bits, optional
- To make the dough: Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead to make a smooth, supple dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise until it has just about doubled, 60 to 90 minutes.
- To make the filling: While the dough is rising, combine the orange juice, brown sugar, and both types of cranberries in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat.
- Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken to a jam-like consistency, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the melted butter, orange oil or grated rind, and spice.
- Transfer the cranberry mixture to a heat-safe bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- To shape the loaf: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 12" x 14" rectangle.
- Spread the cranberry filling over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2" border along the edge of one of the short sides. Sprinkle Orange Jammy Bits evenly over the filling.
- Starting with the filling-covered short edge, roll the dough up jelly-roll style, sealing the edge.
- Cut the log in half lengthwise to expose the filling. Place each half side by side, filled sides up.
- Keeping the filled sides up, twist or braid the two logs together, working from the center to each end.
- Pinch the ends together, and place the twisted log in a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.
- Cover the loaf and allow it to rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until it's crowned 1/2" to 1" over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake the babka for 45 to 50 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil about halfway through baking to prevent over-browning. The top of the finished loaf will be golden brown, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf will read 190°F or above.
- Remove the loaf from the oven. For a softer crust, brush the top of the loaf with melted butter, if desired. After 10 minutes, remove the babka from the pan and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.
Formulation courtesy of King Arthur Baking Company