Strawberry Jam Babka – Better Than Chocolate (video)

A babka dough, from a classic Mediterranean brioche dough recipe, with a delicious filling of strawberry jam, is simply better than chocolate babka, more traditional too!

Strawberry Jam Babka
Strawberry Jam Babka

What Is Babka?

Part bread, part cake, this rich brioche type bread, which originated in Jewish communities of Poland, also thought to have derived from a poplar Easter cake made in Eastern Europe, is as rich in flavor as it is in tradition. 

While here in America there are a lot of babka recipes, often thought to be made only with a spread of chocolate, a fruit filling was actually the traditional babka recipe, and in my opinion – better than chocolate. 

Babka Showstopper Sweet Treat For Afternoon Tea

Throughout my collection of bread recipes you will find everything from enriched dough (yeasted dough with lots of eggs and milk), as well as rich bread recipes loaded with veggies or fruit with nuts

So why did I need to experiment with yet another delicious buttery brioche dough recipe? 

Truth be known, since I’ve tossed my hat into the ring and tried out for The Great American Baking Show, same producers as The Great British Bake Off, I’ve been teaching myself numerous baking techniques I’ve never before needed. 

The best way I know to prepare for anything new, is to practice practice practice! 

Lotta dough going on in my kitchen right now, though being married to a Brit, he sure has had his afternoon tea time elevated! 

What Better Place To Share Baked Goods Than On The Great Baking Show!
What Better Place To Share Baked Goods Than On The Great Baking Show!

Fear Not – Sweet Bread Doughs Are Not That Difficult To Work With

Often we think of homemade bread is too difficult, taking a long time to prepare. 

And while a dense grain bread can take more time to rise, an enriched bread dough is not only a delicious recipe but because of the sweet addition to the dough, it does rise faster and is a beautiful dough to work with. 

Sure, you can make the job even faster dough hook attachment on your mixer, but honestly, I made this dough by hand and it kneads easily. 

Added Tips To Think About Before Making Your Babka

– The dough. For this enriched dough you will need whole milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt, flour and yeast. The spices may vary according to your taste but for this recipe I’ve used a pinch of cardamom and ginger, since the strawberry filling has a gentle flavor. Since I use whole eggs in this dough instead of just the egg yolks (many other recipes use), the dough rises faster and has a lighter texture. 

Strawberry Jam Filling
Strawberry Jam Filling
  • Rise time. As mentioned, rise time is faster in this dough because of the use of whole eggs, though it does take a little longer to rise the first time then a yeast dough that is not enriched. I found 1.5 hours to produce a beautiful double in size rise. The second rise, now working with a filled brioche bread dough, does require at least 30-45 minutes before baking. 
  • Fruit fillings. Certainly a good quality store bought fruit jam can be used, though a homemade fruit filling is quick and easy and can be made while the dough is rising. For this beautiful spring strawberry jam babka, the jam comes together in under 30 minutes. Other fruits can also be used. 
  • Shaping the unbaked babka bread. Babka is traditionally baked in a loaf pan, forcing as much dough to rise above the pan when it bakes as remains in the pan. For this reason the size of the filled and twisted dough can’t be too large otherwise the center will not cook thoroughly. The bread recipe here makes 2 loaves of babka and produces the perfect size to fit into the pans. Once the dough has been rolled out to a 12×16-inch rectangle, filling spread to within an inch of the edges, the dough is rolled as tight as possible before shaping. I have found that by rolling out the dough, popping it in the fridge for 30 minutes before filling and rolling, it rolls tighter. Once rolled, cut the dough lengthwise exposing the beautiful filling, then twist these two sides together keeping the exposed filling visibly on the top. 
  • Baking. Once the babka dough rises a second time, it gets baked in a 350 degrees oven. Not 400 as are most of my other bread dough recipes, simply because we need the internal dough to cook (like a cake), without burning the outside of the dough. Remember, with sugar in the dough and in the filling, it will be easy to burn the exterior of the dough. Keeping the temperature at 350 helps with this. Also a loosely tented piece of aluminum foil can be placed over the bread towards the end of its bake time if it is browning too quickly. 
  • Finishing touches. A simple syrup glaze made from boiling a small amount of the strawberry jam and water, can be brushed onto the bread when it comes out of the oven. Since this babka is filled with strawberry jam, I used a sprinkle of crushed freeze dried strawberries dusted across the top as well. This is optional. 
Strawberry Jam Filling Twisted Into The Dough For Classic Babka Bread
Strawberry Jam Filling Twisted Into The Dough For Classic Babka Bread

Better Than Chocolate Babka

This strawberry jammy sweet babka features a quick homemade strawberry jam filling twisted inside a rich brioche style yeast dough.

Finish the decadent early spring fruit loaf with freeze dried strawberries for an indulgence in strawberry flavor. 

Let’s be honest, chocolate is the most sought after flavor in most sweet treats. It’s a dominant flavor, and sometimes we just want that.

However, the enriched dough in babka has beautiful flavors and textures of its own which take a backseat to chocolate when chocolate is rolled inside.

Strawberry, like many other fruit fillings, is a delicate compliment to the babka dough which makes this strawberry jam babka better than chocolate babka!

Homemade Strawberry Jam With Herbs
Homemade Strawberry Jam With Herbs

Equipment Needed

Strawberry Jam Babka Ingredients
Strawberry Jam Babka Ingredients

Ingredients Needed

One Strawberry Jam Babka and Strawberry Jam Filled Donuts With Extra Dough
One Strawberry Jam Babka and Strawberry Jam Filled Donuts With Extra Dough
Strawberry Jam Babka - Better Than Chocolate

Strawberry Jam Babka

A babka dough, from a classic Mediterranean brioche dough recipe, with a delicious filling of strawberry jam.
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: Eastern European
Keyword: Strawberry Jam Babka
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves


  • 2 loaf pans with parchment paper 8×5 inch loaf tin
  • Rolling Pin
  • Sharp knife


  • Bread Recipe
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 tsp Instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup Warm water
  • 3 Eggs
  • 7-8 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Mild oil
  • Strawberry Filling
  • 3 cups Strawberry jam homemade or other fruit preserves
  • Simple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Strawberry jam
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 3 tbsp Freeze dried strawberries, crushed optional


  • In a medium saucepan, warm milk until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, remove from heat. Stir in sugar, butter, salt and spices. Whisk until sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm. 
  • In a small bowl or cup, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. 
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well beaten. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture, followed by the dissolved yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour. Whisk well until lumps of flour are blended. 
  • With a wooden spoon, slowly stir in flour, little at a time adding only enough flour to make a soft dough. Dough will be sticky. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and work flour into the dough until it is no longer sticky. 
  • In an oiled bowl, preferably clay or glass, place the dough turning once so all sides are oiled. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to sit in a warm resting place (not hot), to let dough rise and double in size, about 1.5 hours. 
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into 2 equal sizes and set one aside. 
  • With a rolling pin, roll out one dough ball into a rectangle about 12 x 16 inches. Repeat with the other dough ball. Chill for about 20 minutes, making the dough easier to roll. Press the parchment inside of both loaf pans, taking care to press deeply into the corners. 
  • Spread half of the strawberry jam across the top of one dough rectangle, leave an inch away from the edges free of jam. The jam will spread further as we roll the dough. 
  • Starting from the short end covered in jam, roll the jam covered dough into a tight log. Once fully rolled, make small pinches down the seam of the edge, securing the closure. 
  • With a sharp knife or serrated knife, cut the rolled dough into two pieces, through the length of yeast dough. Position each half parallel to each other with the cut sides facing up. Twist the halves together, keeping the cut sides facing up. Tuck the ends under and gently place dough into the prepared loaf pan. Do the same with the remaining dough and jam. Loosely cover the pans and let rise in a warm place a second time for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the risen loaves for 40 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, and a wooden pick can be inserted into the center and come out clean. 
  • Simmer 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam with 1 tablespoon of water just long enough to dissolve. Brush over the baked babka while warm. Lightly dust the crushed freeze dried strawberries across the tops.
    Lift out from the pans, set on a cooling rack and peel away the parchment paper. Can be garnished with fresh or freeze dried strawberries.



This dough is quite easy to mix and knead by hand. 
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