Pizza babka (Photo/Micah Siva)
Pizza babka (Photo/Micah Siva)

You love pizza. You love babka. How about some savory pizza babka?

Babka is big again. While chocolate babka is the best-known iteration these days, the Eastern European Jewish sweet yeasted bread comes in lots of varieties, from traditional cinnamon to daring loaves of sweet potato or goat cheese.

While it’s usually sweet, it doesn’t have to be, so after a lot of experimentation, I’ve finally come up with my perfect savory babka — pizza babka!

Pizza babka is a multi-layered delight, swirled with pizza sauce, parmesan and mozzarella. Tomato sauce is baked into the bread dough, giving it a beautiful color and subtle pizza flavor. Drizzle it with oil for a delicious snack, and if you have any leftovers — it’s so tasty that it might disappear — you can slice them to make the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.


Pizza Babka

Dough:

  • 1 package (7 grams) instant yeast (2¼ tsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup pizza sauce
  • 2 tsp. dried garlic granules
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Filling:

  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1½ cup mozzarella, grated
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

Combine yeast, sugar and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the yeast starts to foam or “bloom” (if the yeast doesn’t bloom, you may need to get fresher yeast).

Add the oil, pizza sauce, garlic and basil, mixing on low to combine. Replace the paddle with the dough hook.

Add wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt, one cup at a time. Mix on low using the dough hook. Knead until smooth and no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed. (The dough should be tacky but should not stick to the bowl.)

Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, damp towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the paper.

Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 10-by-16 inches wide and ¼-inch thick.

Spread the pizza sauce over the dough in an even layer. Sprinkle it with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Tightly roll the dough up into a log, then slice it down the center so you have two long pieces (don’t worry if it gets messy).

Twist the two halves together and tuck the ends underneath to fit in the loaf pan.

Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet (to prevent spillage when cooking). Let rise for an additional 15 minutes. Brush with olive oil.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread dough is fully cooked.

Let cool. Slice and enjoy.

Micah Siva
Micah Siva

Micah Siva is a registered dietitian and trained chef in San Francisco. She develops modern Jewish recipes inspired by her grandmother, with a plant-forward twist. See her recipes and photography at Nosh with Micah.