Cheese babka

Yield: 1 babka

Measure Ingredient
1 pack Active dry yeast
pinch Sugar
¼ cup Warm water
½ cup Unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup Sugar
1½ teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Almond extract
¾ cup Warm milk
3 Eggs
4 cups Unbleached all-purpose flour or thereabouts
2 tablespoons Unsalted butter, for brushing dough
3 tablespoons Vanilla powdered sugar or powdered sugar
1½ cup Dry cottage cheese or ricotta
⅓ cup Sugar
1½ tablespoon Sour cream or creme fraiche
1½ tablespoon Flour
1 Egg
1 Lemon, zest only
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Currants, plunged in
2 tablespoons Rum or Cognac for 1/2 hour

FILLING

1. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 mintes.

2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond, milk, eggs, and 1 cup flour. Beat until smooth with a whisk. Add yeast mixture. Beat 3 minutes or until smooth. Add flour, ½ cup at a time with a wooden spoon until a soft dough has formed.

3. Turn dough out onto a lighly floured surface and knead until smooth and silky, about 5 minutes. Be sure dough remains soft. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until until doubled, about 1½ hours.

Meanwhile combine filling ingredients in a bowl, beat until creamy.

4. Gently deflate dough, turn out onto a lightly floured board and roll or pat into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter.

Spread with filling, leaving a ½ inch border all around the dough.

Roll up jelly roll fashion and pinch seams. Holding one end, twist dough about 6 to 8 times to make a rope. Form into a flat coil and place in a well-greased 10 to 12 cup Kugelhupf mold or tube pan.

Pinch ends together and adjust dough to lie evenly in the pan, no more than ⅔ full. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise till even with the top of the pan, about 45 minutes.

5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. There will be a hollow sound when tapped. Let stand for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer from baking pan to a rack to cool completely. Let stand 4 hours or overnight, wrapped in plastic before slicing.

6. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle powdered sugar glaze.

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