Right now I’m front-row seat at the best kind of concert: ogling at the twisted cacophony of an enriched naturally leavened dough with sharp cinnamon and warm brown sugar (Update! I’ve also added a chocolate filling option), all topped with a luxurious simple syrup — a sourdough babka is just sitting there cooling on a wire rack, but I swear I hear it singing. If there ever was such a thing as too much anticipation, right now surely qualifies; it’s as palpable as any musical instrument in an empty music hall. And I’d pay a hefty sum to cut in, take a bite, and end the concert a little early.
I’ve stepped up my baking research and development for this babka in an attempt to get this recipe out after the enthusiasm displayed on my recent Instagram post. This dough is straightforward, playing at not quite the enrichment level of brioche (or my cinnamon rolls), but not exactly lean, either. I feel it’s just right: not cloying, not overly rich, and certainly not dry or under-flavored. And while it unquestionably looks drenched, the interior is not — the interplay between the crust and crumb is wonderfully balanced.
But let’s be clear: this is a sticky, gooey, sinfully delicious treat that makes the taste buds merrily move and pop.