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Cheese Babka Bread Recipe

Cheese Babka is a Polish bread traditionally made for Easter. This loaf is filled with cream cheese and brightened with lemon zest.
A slice of Cheese Babka Bread sitting on an antique pie tin with the sliced loaf in the background.

As many of you know, one of my goals is to learn more about baking and cooking. Bread is one of those things that I wanted to learn more about. I love baking bread, but there are some very technical aspects to baking bread that I have yet to master. I was pretty excited to try this Cheese Babka.

With Easter, I wanted to find a bread that would work on my table. I went online and started investigating “holiday breads”. The recipe that I decided to make was called Cheese Babka and it said that it was a Polish bread traditionally made for Easter.

A slice of Cheese Babka Bread sitting on an antique pie tin with the sliced loaf in the background.
An uncut loaf of Cheese Babka bread sitting on a cooling rack.

This recipe exceeded my expectations. It has a sweetened cream cheese filling flavored with lemon zest. The crumb was moist as was the crust. It’s baked in a bundt pan and is so pretty and stands tall when it’s popped from the pan.

I learned a few things when I made this bread. After you spread the filling over the dough, the recipe has you roll the bread into a log and then twist it into a rope.

I was a bit nervous doing this because I didn’t want all of my filling to squish out. I ended up twisting the bottom a bit tighter than the top.

The result was that I didn’t lose the filling but there was a gap where the filling met the dough at the end that was rolled loosely.

A slice of Cheese Babka Bread sitting on an antique pie tin with the sliced loaf in the background.

I made a few changes to the ingredients. The recipe calls for farmers cheese and I substituted cream cheese. It also called for dried lemon peel. I used fresh, and can’t imagine doing it any other way. I will definitely use this technique again. This bread is delicious!

Cheese Babka Bread Recipe

Cheese Babka is a Polish bread traditionally made for Easter. This loaf is filled with cream cheese and brightened with lemon zest.
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs
Servings 12
Author Hostess At Heart

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 .25 ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1/8 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water 110 degrees F
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted

  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup

    milk


    warmed
  • 3 eggs

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour divided

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups farmers cheese or cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup white sugar

  • 1 1/2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp dried lemon peel I used fresh

  • 2 tbsp butter melted

Instructions

  • In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over the warm water and stir to dissolve.  Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Combine the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk,eggs and 1 cup of flour and mix well. Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Gradually add remaining flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a round and place it in a large greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a plastic dough and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled, approximately 1-1/2 hours.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the farmers’ cheese, sugar, sour cream, egg, vanilla extract and lemon peel. Beat together until smooth. Set aside. Lightly oil a bundt pan.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 10-inch by 12-inch rectangle.  Spread the 2 tablespoons over the surface of the dough and then the cheese over the butter.  Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, starting from the long end; twist the dough 6 to 8 times to form a rope.  Pinch the seams and ends closed and arrange the rope of dough in the greased pan.  Cover loosely and let rise, 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake until deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes; invert onto a wire rack and remove the pan.  Allow to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.

Notes

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Nutrition

Serving: 12g | Sodium: 457mg | Calcium: 36mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 408IU | Sugar: 11g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 85mg | Cholesterol: 92mg | Calories: 350kcal | Saturated Fat: 9g | Fat: 15g | Protein: 11g | Carbohydrates: 43g | Iron: 2mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!

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Recipe Rating




Kim

Saturday 30th of November 2019

Hi there! I have been making this recipe for a couple years now and my family loves it. I have a question though, because the dough is always so sticky and hard to work with for me. I always end up adding more flour than is called for. Is that okay or am I doing something wrong? Also the filling is always overflowing, it gets kind of messy so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong there either. Either way it always is delicious in the end but I just wish I knew if I was doing something wrong or if this is just to be expected. Thank you so much, like I said my husband’s family who are Polish, love it!

Julie Menghini

Sunday 1st of December 2019

Hi Kim! You aren't doing anything wrong. This dough is very sticky. Your filling can seep out if you roll you dough tightly. That wouldn't bother me. I didn't roll mine very tightly and you can see that I ended up with a gap. I'm going to redo this one and experiment a bit. My new son-in-law is Polish! I'll have to make this for him. Thank you for stopping by and your lovely comment!

FrugalHausfrau

Friday 17th of April 2015

I thought your last bread looked great, but this one! My mouth is watering!

Julie is Hostess At Heart

Friday 17th of April 2015

Thank you! It was a show stopper. Sometimes the oven god shines on Julie's kitchen. :)

kudoskitchen

Wednesday 15th of April 2015

Your babka looks delicious and I love that you chose cream cheese and fresh lemon zest. I love the way you write too. Lovely post, lovely recipe.

Julie is Hostess At Heart

Sunday 26th of April 2015

I apologize for not responding earlier! Your message went to spam for some reason. I appreciate your commenting on the babka! It was delicious and so fun to put together.

Nancy

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Bravo to you, Julie, for your successful Babka! It looks picture perfect and I imagine it tasted fabulous. Love your substitution of cream cheese for the farmer's cheese!

Julie is Hostess At Heart

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Thank you Nancy! I saw where someone else had done that and I also liked that idea. So happy to hear from you!

stephysweetbakes

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Julie bang up job on this and I just KNOW how amazing it was, I can smell it from here. We both share the love of breads and cakes, yummy lol

Julie is Hostess At Heart

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Thank you! It was fun and did turn out well.