Goat Cheese and Herb Babka
Parisians typically live in small apartments with no outdoor space, so the first sign of fine weather sends them running outside in search for a little patch of green to claim as their own. Throughout the spring and summer, a favorite way to get together with friends is to organize picnics along the city's canals, or in its many parks.
I like to bring items that will be easy to share and easy to eat, without much cutlery or dinnerware, and this goat cheese and herb babka has been a popular contribution this summer.
Inspired by the sweet Jewish loaf, it’s a yeasted bread that I make without breaking a sweat using the KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Stand Mixer, which kneads the dough much better than I could, and takes up minimal space in the tiny kitchen that goes with my own small apartment.
I garnished my babka with goat cheese and mixed fresh herbs, and twist it into an easy braid for an extra pleasing presentation. Cut into thick slices, it's moist and flavorful enough to devour on its own, but it's also the perfect bread to mop up the juices from a salad of ripe tomatoes.
- 1 tsp Instant Yeast
- 150 milliliters Warm Water
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 3 tbsps Olive OIl
- 7 ozs Fresh Goat Cheese
- 1 cups Mixed Fresh Herbs, rough chopped
In a bowl, combine the yeast with the water and stir to dissolve. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, until a thin foamy layer forms at the surface. If it doesn't, start again with a fresh packet of yeast.
Put the flour, salt, and olive oil in the bowl of the KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Stand Mixer fitted with the dough hook.
Add in the yeast and water, and knead at medium speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
In a bowl, mash the herbs and the goat cheese together with a fork.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Stretch it with your hands to form a rough 40-cm (16-inch) square. Spread the goat cheese mixture onto the square, leaving a 5-cm (2-inch) margin on the left-hand side.
Roll up the dough snugly starting from the right-hand side. Place the roll on a cookie sheet or a tray, and place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up.
Slice the roll in two lengthwise to get two long "ropes”. Pinch the ropes together on one end, then braid the two ropes together, keeping their cut sides up.
Transfer the braided dough to a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Bake the babka for 35 to 40 minutes, until risen and golden brown.