Nutella Babka Buns
These soft and fluffy Nutella Babka Buns are simply delicious with Nutella spread and crunchy hazelnuts in each bite.
I am actually not a bread lover, but I learned to love it after I had great success with my previous Pesto Babka Buns. You should try making these at home and I believe you will understand why I begin to love them.
What makes these buns different than other types of bread? As you can see, each bun is layered with fillings, then the dough is braided and twisted. The process not only makes the buns beautiful in appearance but also makes the fillings distributed evenly throughout the buns.
Babka is a sweet braided bread or cake of Jewish origin. To start, it is a dense bread that is swirled with fillings, usually with chocolate spread or cinnamon sugar. Babka, which means “little grandmother” in Eastern European word, was made by grandmothers on Shabbat during the old days. They would twist leftover scraps of challah with seeds and nuts, forming something delicious but far less sweet than the babkas we see today.
It was not until Eastern European Jews arrived in New York that the chocolate version was added to the mix. After the filling was spread onto a layer of dough, which was tightly rolled and folded, and baked into the rich loaves we know and love today.
How to Shape Nutella Babka Buns
I believe that many people are intimidated by the process of shaping these babka buns. But believe me that as long as you follow the instructions, it is not as hard as you think.
There are many ways to shape babka buns and this is just one of them. I shape them the same just like I shape the Pesto Babka Buns. Therefore, if you need a video reference for shaping babka buns, you can watch it from my previous post or Youtube channel.
1. Roll the dough into a rectangle
After you made the dough and let it rise until roughly doubled in size, punch and divide it into 12. Mine is about 75-76 grams each.
Roll each to a rectangle about 5-inch/13cm wide and 8-inch/20cm long. If the dough is shrinking back a lot when you roll it out, let the dough rest for a few minutes, then try again. Then, spread the Nutella filling and roughly chopped hazelnuts on top, getting within 1/4-inch of the edge.
It is better if you can roll it larger and thinner because it will make more layers, which means the fillings will distribute more evenly inside the buns.
2. Roll and braid the dough
Roll up the bread tightly from the long end, then pinch all the seams and ends to seal. Slice the log of dough in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, not all the way to the top. You will notice the layers inside while you cut the dough. That is why I say the thinner you roll the dough, the more layers you get. Then, twist the two lengths together, keeping the filling side up as you twist.
3. Stretch and knot the dough
Stretch the braid into 10-inch/25cm length, more or less. The stretching will make the dough longer and easier to knot. Bring both ends together, overlapping them and creating a hole in the middle. Bring one end into the hole and pinch it together with the other end at the bottom.
4. Rest and egg wash the buns
After you are done with shaping all the buns, rest the dough for 1 hour or until they doubled. Then, brush each bun with egg wash. For the egg wash, I use egg white and milk so that the buns turn shiny on the outside. Then, sprinkle the buns with more hazelnuts on top. Now your Nutella Babka Buns are ready to bake.
Nutella Babka Buns
- 4 cups bread flour (500 gr)
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (11 gr)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter cubed
- 1 cup warm milk (240 ml)
- 1 cup Nutella (300 gr)
- 1 cup hazelnuts (150 gr) roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp milk for brushing
- 1 egg white for brushing
Add bread flour, instant yeast, salt, sugar, egg, egg yolk, butter, and warm milk in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Then, knead the dough with your hands until smooth. It takes about 10-12 minutes by hand or 8-10 minutes in a stand mixer. Form dough into a ball. Place into a large greased clean bowl.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 60 minutes at a warm temperature.
While the dough is resting, pour the pesto into a mesh sieve and push out as much as you can with the back of a spoon. You should have 1 cup of drained and squeezed pesto. Set aside.
After the dough has doubled, punch down the dough. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough to release the gas.
Divide the dough into 12 small balls (76 gr each).
Roll each to a rectangle 5-inch/13cm wide and 8-inch/20cm long. If the dough is shrinking back a lot when you roll it out, let the dough rest for a few minutes, then try again.
Spread a tablespoon of Nutella evenly over the bread, getting within 1/4-inch of the edge. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on the spread.
Roll up the bread tightly from the long end, then pinch all the seams and ends to seal. Slice the log of dough in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, not all the way to the top. Then, twist the two lengths together, keeping the filling side up as you twist.
Stretch the braid into 10-inch/25cm length, more or less. Bring both ends together, overlapping them and creating a hole in the middle. Bring one end into the hole and pinch it together with the other end at the bottom.
Place on a baking tray with a baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the balls. Rest the dough for 1 hour or until they doubled.
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. In a small bowl, mix together egg white and milk. This is your egg wash. Gently brush the tops of the buns with egg wash and sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on top. Transfer to the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack.