These Einkorn Champagne Babas are festive, melt-in-your-mouth morsels made with einkon flour, baked in panneton papers, and soaked in champagne.
A traditional baba is an open-textured, yeast-leavened cake, occasionally including raisins, and moistened with rum and sugar syrup, and sometimes filled with whipped cream or pastry cream.
A search on baba provided some interesting history on the origins of this treat, which is also known as Baba Au Rhum Cake, Baba Au Savarin, and Savar, for short.
According to the site What’s Cooking America, Baba is based off of a version of kugelhopf which is typically baked in a cylindrical bundt pan.
Apparently, it originated in France when exiled Polish King Stanislas Leszczynska decided the customary kouglhopf was too dry for his liking so he dipped the bread in rum. Legend has it he liked it so much, he named it after one of the heroes of his favorite book, Ali Baba from A Thousand and One Nights.
All I know is I’m so glad Lien of Lien of Notitie van Lien, our host kitchen this month, chose Baba as the bread of the month for the Bread Baking Babes. It is really easy to prepare and makes a fabulous treat for the Holidays.
I baked my babas in 2 3/4-inch x 2-inch panneton papers. I used eight papers and filled them about halfway as the recipe suggests; however, they didn’t rise as high as I expected. This could be due to the fact that I incorporated some whole grain einkorn flour, and used a bit less yeast. Even though they didn’t rise as high as ones made with regular bread flour, I really liked the texture of these cakes.
- If I make these babas again, which I probably will, I will remember to grease the papers. I lost some of the outside of the cakes when removing the papers so they aren’t spectacularly pretty, but once you taste a bite, it doesn’t matter.
- Filling the papers was the trickiest part of this whole process. The dough is batter-like, but because it has gluten development, it doesn’t just pour into the pans. I used a spoon and my fingers to fill the papers, but using two spoons is an option as well.
- 100 grams water
- ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 100 grams all-purpose einkorn flour
- 120 grams all-purpose einkorn flour
- 60 grams whole grain einkorn flour, home-milled
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt (reduced from ½ tsp)
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 90 grams / 6 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled
- 150 grams sugar
- 150 grams water
- 120 grams champagne (or Asti Spumante or fruit juice)
- 200 grams apricot jam (or use sugar glaze), optional
- Mix all the ingredients for the sponge together in a large bowl (the one you’ll be kneading the dough in). Now sprinkle 180 g bread flour over the sponge, so it is covered and leave to rest for about 1 hour.
- Now add the salt, ¼ tsp dry yeast, vanilla sugar and eggs. Start to mix this. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. When it comes together after a few minutes, add the melted (and slightly cooled) butter and keep working it. The dough is a bit batter-like, but be sure to get some gluten developed.
- Place it in the moulds. You can use a loaf tin or a round baking form, filled about half way up. Cover with plastic and leave to rise until 2-3 cm under the rim of the mould.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350-360ºF).
- Bake for about 45-55 minutes, until golden brown on top. If the bread gets too dark too soon, protect the top with a sheet of tin foil. Check the temperature in the bread with a thermometer, it should be about 93ºC. Take out of the oven and the tin and place on a deep dish. Poke the bread with a long wooden skewer from top to bottom. Brush the syrup all over it, and get as much as possible inside the bread, so take your time. Collect the syrup from the plate and keep pouring and brushing it, until all in absorbed in the bread.
- Grease a tray with small or mini moulds and divide the dough in them. The dough shouldn’t be filling more than half of the shapes. Cover with plastic and let rise until almost to the rim.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350-360ºF).
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 18 minutes, The baba’s should be golden on top. Check the temperature in the bread with a thermometer, it should be about 93ºC or a wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
- Take them out of the oven and out of the mould. Place them in a wide shallow dish in one layer. Pour the champagne syrup over the baba’s. Keep turning the baba’s one by one on all sides, including top and bottom, until all the syrup is absorbed.
- Now heat the apricot jam in a small pan and let it boil, add a little water if it is too thick. Brush or pour it over the top. You can also opt for a simple sugar glaze. This topping keeps the moisture in. If you eat the baba’s on the baking day, you can also skip the topping
The baba is best eaten on the day that it’s baked. If you have any leftovers, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. Enjoy warm or cold.
Inspired by Beth Hensperger recipe
These babas were so good! Like eating a slice of cake dripping in moisture. I had intended to add a glaze with apricot jam on top, but after trying one without the glaze, I decided they were really good just drenched in the champagne soaking syrup and didn’t need anything else. I used all of the syrup so they were pretty soaked.
Oh and although the recipe instructions say they are best eaten on the day they are made, I tried one for breakfast the next day and even cold out of the refrigerator, it tasted great and wasn’t too dry.
Would you like to bake along with us?
Lien is the host kitchen this month and we’re making festive Babas soaked in champagne. Look for the details on her blog Lien of Notitie van Lien.
Be sure to visit all of the Bread Baking Babes and check out their version of this month’s recipe:
- Blog from OUR Kitchen – Elizabeth
- A Messy Kitchen – Kelly
- Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen
- Notitie Van Lien – Lien
- Bread Experience – Cathy
- Feeding My Enthusiasms – Elle
- Thyme for Cooking – Katie
- My Kitchen in Half Cups – Tanna
- My Diverse Kitchen – Aparna