Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Baking Primer - Back to Basics

For a long time now I have been considering running a series of posts that deal with all the basic ingredients and issues involved in baking. With recipes that would be examples of the topic being discussed. The point of this would be to make available recipes, advice and tips for baker's still just getting their feet wet, so to speak, in the baking world.

So without any further ado, here goes.
The most basic ingredient in all baking is, of course, flour. And by far, the most common kind of flour used in the world is wheat flour. It is used everywhere and is truly the most commonly used grain anywhere, bar none. The reason for this is the presence of gluten in wheat. Gluten, a protein that is built of web-like strands, is what gives breads its structure and shape. Gluten is found in other grains too, but none come close to the gluten content of wheat. This is, of course, a huge problem for people suffering from gluten-sensitivities and more serious conditions like celiac disease. For those people, the fact that wheat flour is literally everywhere (not just breads wheat flour is used as a thickener in most processed foods) the booming 'gluten-free' industry is a real boon. Up until recently, it was very difficult indeed to find gluten-free food.

The 'hardness' or 'softness' of wheat is a function of the protein or gluten content. "Hard' wheat is high in gluten, and therefore prized for bread baking. Typically it can have around 12% protein content. If you are baking a cake, however, you would want a much lower protein content, say around 8% to10%. We want chewy bread with crunchy crusts, but crumbly cakes after all. There are also ingredients we can add to a recipe to 'artificially' soften the recipe and produce a softer product. For instance, fat or oil, as in a cake will shorten the gluten strands.

Another way to go would be to use whole wheat flour. As the name suggests, whole wheat flour is made of wheat that has been milled but left whole. The bran, and the wheat germ are not sifted out to make 'white' flour. While the resulting product is much healthier for you, it is also much heavier in weight. This means using relatively more yeast (or longer rising times). Also, the bran, which is still in the flour tends to 'cut' the strands of gluten and holds back the rising. Usually it is better to extend the rising times and avoid the 'yeasty' flavor you get from too much yeast in a recipe. Also, since the gluten has trouble developing in whole wheat bread, typical recipes use a combination of white and whole wheat flours. Otherwise the bread is heavy or just too crumbly.

Other grains have various amounts of gluten but none like wheat. Rye flour has minimal gluten. Other flours, like rice or corn flour, have none whatsoever. Future posts will bring recipes using these flours either by themselves or in combination. I will also talk a bit about baking in a gluten-free environment. Not impossible, by any means but challenging, for sure.

Here is a recipe for a good, versatile rye bread good for sandwiches or just general purposes. it is a typical American deli-type rye bread. It uses a combination of rye and white wheat flours and extra gluten to compensate for the low protein content in the rye flour. Yum!!

Here's what you'll need:
2 Tbs butter melted
2 cups light rye flour
3 cups bread flour
2 Tbs wheat gluten
1/4oz (7g) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbs caraway seed (optional but gives a more traditional taste)
1 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs melted butter

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Melt butter and set it aside to cool. In the meantime grease a large bowl for the dough to rise. Then grease two large loaf pans. If you are making an 'artisan' style loaf, grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with some cornmeal.
2. Place the measured flours (not packed into the measuring cups) into a large bowl and whisk then together. Add the extra gluten and stir them together.
3.Using a stand mixer, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, then add the flour and mix with the dough hook to make a 'soupy' kind of mixture. Finally add the rest of the flour, the yeast, the salt, molasses, the melted butter and the warm water. Add the caraway seeds now if you are using them. Mix it together to form a, elastic dough. This will take about 3 minutes at medium speed. The dough will be soft and tacky but not sticky.
4. Place the kneaded dough in the prepared bowl and let it rise until doubled in volume. This will take a while because the rye flour has only a minimal amounts of gluten.
5. Deflate the dough, gently, then form it into two free form loaves (for the baking sheet) or two loaves for the prepared loaf pans. Cover and let them rise again until doubled. The dough will now be soft and fluffy!
6. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and bake the loaves for about 35 minutes. The loaves will sound hollow if you tap them on the bottom. Cool them on a wire rack.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Indian Fry Bread - Curried Naan

Truth be told, if you're going to make real naan bread, I mean like they make it in India, then you should bake it in a tandoor. You know, that outdoor stone oven so common all over Asia and the Middle East. Probably most of you don't have one. I'd put money on it. So I give you this recipe but adapted for stovetop cooking in a modern kitchen. Naan is so popular in India it is almost like a national food. When it puffs up and gets golden, like it will with this recipe it is perfect with a nice eggplant or lentil dip spiced with Indian spices, i.e., cumin, curry and colored with turmeric. Like many 'peasant' breads, naan is not difficult to make and uses common ingredients. Just that alone makes it appealing. Add to that its great taste and texture and you have a winner!

Here's what you'll need:
500g (1lb 2oz) bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1Tbs olive oil (plus more for frying)
30-50g curry powder depending on taste preference
15g (1/2 Tbs) yeast
about 300ml (1/2 cup) water to mix
100g (3 1/2oz) raisins
3Tbs mango chutney

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Put the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl adding just enough water to make a soft, but not overly sticky, dough. 
3. Let it rest for about 30 minutes.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl incorporate the raisins and the chutney. You may need to add flour as the raisins and chutney add liquid. I needed to add about 50g (almost 2oz). 

5. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, then leave them, covered, to rise on the prepared baking sheet for about an hour.

6. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a circle about 25cm (10in) in diameter. After rolling it out, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

5. Heat a heavy frying pan to medium heat, then, adding a splash of oil to coat the pan, fry each bread until golden brown on both sides. 

5. Set aside to cool a bit before serving.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Traditional English Round Bread - Farl

A few posts ago I talked about a 'peasant' bread called Crusty Cob. One of the features of this bread was the fact it is baked on the floor of the great stone ovens used in village bakeries. This bread, called Farl, is similar but instead of forming it into loaves, or a boule (a round ball of dough) it is always baked as a round. Also, the Farl is slashed, just before placing it in the oven which gives it its typical appearance of being striped. This is accomplished by dusting the bread and then slashing. The rising dough stretches, and produces the stripes.

The Farl is another village bread from England that is very old and traditional. Like the Cob, it too, is a bottom bread. Enjoy!!

Here is what you'll need:
500g (1lb 2oz) bread flour
1 Tbs (15g) salt
30g (1oz) yeast
60g (2 1/2oz) butter, at room temperature
300ml (1/2 pint) water

Here is what you'll need to do:
1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix vigorously for about 4 minutes until you get a smooth, elastic dough. 
2. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead again for about 5 minutes more. Then let the dough rest, covered in a warm place for about an hour.
3.After rising, dump the dough out onto the floured surface again, shape into a ball and then place on parchment paper on a baking tray. Gently flatten the dough into a disc about 5cm (2in) thick. Let the dough rise for about an hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Dust the dough ball with flour, then starting at one side of the dough make a series of slashes radiating from a single point. 
5. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes and cool on a rack.
6. Yum!!

* If you want to more closely approximate the look of the traditional bread, use a baking stone placed on the bottom of the oven. Bake the bread directly on the stone either right on the stone, or by placing the bread with the tray on it. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Something for the Upper Crust (pun intended) - Batch Bread

In my last post I talked about the 'peasant bread' called Crusty Cob. This was a 'bottom bread', baked on the bottom of the oven, a place reserved for the poorest of the poor. In Georgian England (most of the 18th century), the leading elements of society, the 'upper crust' so to speak, ate a sweet white bread. Sugar, produced in the colonies, was a luxury and reserved for the upper classes. In colonial times, in Nova Scotia, this bread would have been eaten in Halifax in the governor's mansion on Citadel Hill. In England, this bread would have been eaten by the nobles and royals. Today, we know to praise the added nutrition of a whole wheat bread but white bread was highly praised then, and usually reserved for the 'upper crust'. This bread is a little sweet and delicious. It is especially appropriate for breakfast or brunch, eaten with jam.

Here's what you'll need:
500g (1lb 2oz) bread flour
1 1/2 tsp (7g) salt
30g (1oz) yeast
60g (2 1/2oz) butter at room temperature
75g (3oz) powdered sugar
300ml (1/2 pint) water

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Place all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix them together vigorously for a few minutes until they come together and form a shaggy dough, and the flour is fully hydrated.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Afterwards, place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let it rest for about an hour.
3. Punch down the dough and knead for a minute or two. Then, shape into a ball and place on parchment paper on a baking tray. Gently flatten the ball of dough until it is about 20cm (8in) in diameter. Let the dough rise, covered for about an hour, or until doubled in volume. This could be two hours also.
4. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Bake the loaf for about 15 to 20 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool.
5. Delicious and soft, you will love this bread.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something New, Something Old - Crusty Cob

Lately I've been getting a bit nostalgic about 'the old days', back in Nova Scotia where I lived as a child. There is a great ethnic diversity there, something that is a bit surprising to some. There is a long history of different groups struggling to survive in a climate which can be downright wicked. The winters are sometimes very cold (-20 F), and frequently very rainy or snowy in the winter. One year we had about 20 ft. (yes 20 feet) of snow over the winter season. I remember going to school in June with snow still on the ground. My mother remembers the Canada Day (July 1) parade being cancelled for snow!

All this means that Nova Scotians work hard to make a living, and the agriculture is typical of areas with harsh climates. That said, Nova Scotia is famous for its apples, and there is even Nova Scotian wine. Most crops, however are root-type vegetables since they can grow in the ground protected from the elements. Since the province consists of a peninsula and an island, fish and seafood dishes predominate.

The three largest ethnic groups are the Scots, the English and the French, in that order. Each has its own linguistic and culinary traditions. But all are heavily influenced by the harsh environment they live in.

Crusty Cob, is a simple (but delicious) bead that is typical of English homemade breads both in England and in Nova Scotia. The recipe is ancient. Food historians trace it back, in England, to the Middle Ages. It is a 'bottom bread', meaning it was baked on the bottom of the great stone ovens. Although this was where the poorest citizens got to bake their bread, the thick crust and soft crumb (perfect for sopping up thicks soups and gravies) make for a wonderful 'peasant' bread.

Here's what you'll need:
500g (1 lb 2 oz) bread flour
1 Tbs (15g) salt
30g (1oz) yeast
40g ( 1 1/2oz) butter, at room temperature
300ml (1/2 pint) water

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and butter in a large bowl. 
2. Add most of the water, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Gradually add the rest of the water and continue mixing for a few minutes until the flour is completely hydrated and the dough starts to become smoother.

3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead, vigorously for about 5 minutes. Finally, place the dough back in the bowl, and let it rest for about 2 hours.
4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Punch down  the dough then place it on the tray, shape into a ball and let it rise for an additional 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F). Just before placing in the oven, slash the dough with a sharp knife and dust with a bit of flour.

6. Bake for 30 minutes until a deep golden brown. Cool on a rack.
7. Yum!!!

* If you want to more closely approximate the look of the traditional bread, use a baking stone placed on the bottom of the oven. Bake the bread directly on the stone either right on the stone, or by placing the bread with the tray on it. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dessert Rolls - Cardamom Buns

Sometimes the simplest recipes are also the tastiest. These rolls, flavored with cardamom, are soft and fluffy. Perfect for a breakfast roll or brunch. The addition of the cardamom makes them a little exotic and gives a gentle reminder of their Indian origin. Spread some butter on them, or, if you're feeling a little adventurous, serve them with grilled veggies or meat, topped with a sharp mango chutney.

Here's what you'll need:
1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
1/2 Tbs. (about 7 g) active dry yeast
1 tsp (5 g) sugar
2 3/4 cup (about 385 g) all purpose flour 
1/4 cup (60 g) butter or margarine at room temperature
1 tsp (5 g) salt
1 tsp (5 g) ground cardamom
1 egg, beaten
1/3 to 1/2 cup (45 to 60 ml) milk or substitute
1 egg white, beaten for glaze
1 Tbs (15 g) sugar
1 Tbs (15 g) ground almonds

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl to dissolve. Let them sit about 5 minutes until nice and bubbly.

2. In a food processor, mix the flour, butter or margarine, salt and cardamom, using the steel blade, for about 10 seconds.
3. Now add the yeast mixture and the egg and process for an additional 10 seconds.

4. Leave the motor running, and, through the feed slowly add the milk (or substitute) in a slow but steady stream until a soft dough forms a ball and that cleans the sides of the bowl. Let the dough ball revolve in the bowl about 25 times.

5. Let the dough rest for a few minutes.
6. Turn the motor on again, and add enough of the milk (or substitute) slowly until the dough becomes smooth and satiny. Not sticky.
7. Place the finished dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat, and let it rise, covered, for about 45 minutes or until roughly doubled.
8. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, shape each piece into a perfect sphere by rolling them on an unfloured smooth surface with your hand applying only a little pressure. Place the shaped balls on a greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper) and let them rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

9.Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Paint each roll with the egg white wash. If serving for breakfast or brunch, you can mix together the sugar and ground almonds and sprinkle over the rolls. Omit if serving with grilled meat and/or veggies.
10. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack.

11. Enjoy!! These are yummy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

'Petits Pains au Lait' (Little Milk Breads) from France

If you've ever gone to Europe, or just visited a local bakery with more than standard fare, no doubt you have encountered some variation of 'milk rolls'. These smallish dinner rolls, completely round with a crispy crust and soft interior are perfect for sopping up gravy at dinnertime. They are also ideal for sandwiches since the soft interior helps to showcase the toppings, while the slightly chewy crust holds it all together. From the baker's point of view, one of the biggest advantageous is that they are simple to make. Don't be put off by the long rise - 4 to 5 full hours! Let them rise slowly overnight in your refrigerator or other cool place. The enhanced flavor is well worth the wait. These rolls go by various names, from 'milk rolls' in America, to 'Petits Pains au Lait' in France, which literally means "Little milk breads". It just sounds fancier in French, doesn't it? Either way, these are easy to make and make great sandwich rolls for just snacking or even with dinner.

Here's what you'll need:
4 to 5 cups AP flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk (or substitute)*
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups hot water (120 F or around 50 C)
1 large egg, at room temperature
5 Tbs. unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup cornmeal or semolina for dusting

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Combine the 2 cups of the flour and the other dry ingredients (the dry milk, the yeast, the sugar and the salt) in a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Then add the hot water and the egg and beat vigorously for at least 2 minutes.
2. Cut the butter or margarine into pieces then beat them into the batter. Finally add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured surface and knead (to develop gluten) for 4 or 5 minutes. Only lightly dust the surface to prevent sticking, but be careful not to add too much flour. This will make the dough heavy, and we want light fluffy rolls, remember?
4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn to coat, then cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a cool place, (the refrigerator is ideal) and let it rise for 4 or 5 hours until doubled in bulk. You can leave it overnight if you want it will only improve the flavor. After this first rise, deflate the dough, then set it out to rise again, about 1 1/2 hours. If it was in the refrigerator, doubling will take a little longer, say 2 hours.
5. After the 2nd rise, deflate the dough once more. This time divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Then divide each piece into 5 pieces, 20 pieces in all. 
6. Shape the small pieces into small perfectly round rolls. To do this, lightly cup the pieces in your palm then roll them on an un-floured surface lightly until they form the round shape. Place the rounds onto a greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper to avoid the oil).
7. Arrange the rolls so they just touch in rows but separate the rolls by about 2 in. (5 cm). Let them rest, lightly covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes.
8.About 20 minutes before baking time preheat the oven to 450 F, or 230 C (if using a baking stone), otherwise to 400 F, or 200 C. If you use a baking stone, place the baking sheet directly on the stone, then reduce the heat to 400 F immediately. 
9. Bake the rolls for 12 to 15 minutes until nice and golden brown. They will have a nice crisp crust but, because of the high temperature, be soft on the inside. 
10. Cool on a rack, if your guests are waiting, pile them, still warm, into a basket and serve. Yum!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Comfort Food - Potato (Rosemary and Buttermilk) Bread

In researching recipes and techniques used for making this bread, I came across two distinct approaches. It is worthwhile examining both since they each have advantages. The first approach, taken by Peter Reinhard in his fabulous The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, uses a starter, called a biga. This is a combination of flour and water, with a very minimal amount of yeast, that is allowed to ferment at room temperature overnight. Given that the current 'room temperature' in Jerusalem is around 38 C (100 F) and has been for several days, that does not seem like much of an option. The idea is to make the biga today, let it ferment, and then complete the mixing and baking tomorrow. No doubt the slow rise and fermentation will add a dimension of 'sourdoughness' to the finished bread.

However, if you don't have the time, or inclination, to wait until tomorrow, and you absolutely must have the bread today, then the way to go is the method used by Beth Hensperger's equally excellent book, The Bread Bible: 300 Favorite Recipes. In this volume, she uses the more typical active dry yeast mixed with flour to make exceptional bread. Given that it is so hot lately, and also since I really couldn't wait until tomorrow, I opted for the shorter prep time. Whichever way you go, you won't be sorry.

Here's what you'll need:
1 large russet potato (about 3/4 pound or 350 g)
2 Tbs. (30 g) active dry yeast
2 Tbs (30 g) sugar
1 cup (about 250 cc) cold buttermilk
2 Tbs (30 g) unsalted butter or margarine
1 Tbs (15 g) salt 
6 to 7 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
flour for dusting
egg glaze and sesame or poppy seeds for decoration

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Peel the potato and cut into pieces. Cover with water and boil until soft. Drain, reserving the boiling liquid (1 cup - if there isn't enough then add to make up the difference). Mash the potato until smooth. Don't leave lumps or you'll have lumps in your bread!

2.Warm the potato water in a bowl, then add the yeast and a pinch of sugar and stir to dissolve. Let this mixture stand for about 10 minutes until nice and bubbly.

3. Now warm the buttermilk in a pan with the butter until it melts. Then add the remaining sugar, the salt, and the mashed potato. Make sure this mixture is smooth.

4. Combine the yeast mixture with the potato mixture, adding flour about 1/2 cup at a time until a soft, smooth dough is formed.
5. Knead the dough about 5 minutes until the dough is 'springy' and soft. Make sure the dough does not get too dry when you add flour. This will make for dense, heavy bread - not what you want at all. I found that I needed to add all the flour as the potato made the dough too sticky. It felt almost like a gluten-free batter bread at first. I added more flour and, despite my misgivings, the final bread was soft and fluffy.

6. Place the kneaded dough into a greased bowl, turning to coat, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled, about 1 hour. Don't get worried if it takes longer (even 2 hours). Let the dough be your guide.

7. When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl, punch it down to remove the gas, them divide into two equal-sized pieces. Divide the crushed rosemary  and, kneading, work it into the two pieces of dough. Shape each piece into a loaf, placing it seam-side down in a prepared loaf pan. Let it rise an additional 30 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic while it rises. Finally, dust with the flour or coat with an egg glaze and seeds of some sort.

8 About 20 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 375 F (175 C). Place the loaves on a center rack and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. The loaves will have a thick crust and will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack.

9 Oh, BTW, enjoy! Yum!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chocolate (not cinnamon) Babka

I've been thinking about posting this for awhile. It's a subject I approach gingerly. It is not to be taken lightly. Chocolate (not cinnamon)  babka is serious business. It really is. It has been seriously considered by famous and unknown alike. And like those who have gone before me in this weighty debate, I come down squarely on the side of chocolate, not cinnamon babka. Actually, it was hard to decide and so what I am posting is a recipe for chocolate (with a little cinnamon) babka.

To the uninitiated, a babka is a celebration bread originating in Poland. It is served by Poles for Easter. They add a glaze, raisins and other dried fruit, and slather it with butter. As if there isn't enough butter in it already! Some versions use fruit preserves (jam not jelly). It is served by Jews from Poland as a breakfast bread especially for holidays and the Sabbath.

And so I have been searching all over for a perfect babka recipe that would live up to the expectations I have from a good, no great, chocolate babka. It is no simple task, but |I think I have finally found it! So without any further ado here it is. This recipe is an adaptation from one I found on http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/chocolate-babka . I mean, this baby has 2 1/4 pounds of chocolate!!! And 1 3/4 cups of butter!!! And cream!!! It is not for the faint of heart or the timid - so if you are any of those things, this one's not for you.

Here's what you'll need for three loaves:
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 Tbs. yeast
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 whole large eggs
2 large egg yolks
6 cups AP flour
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
2 1/4 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, chopped very finely
2 1/2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. heavy cream
Streusel (crumb) topping for 3 3/4 cups:
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/3 cups AP flour
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature

Here's what you'll need to do:
1. Pour the warm milk into a bowl, add the yeast with a pinch of sugar and stir to dissolve. Let it stand for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
2. In a separate bowl, mix 3/4 cups of the sugar, along with 2 eggs and the egg yolks. Then add this mixture to the yeast mixture and mix the whole thing together.
3.Now get out you electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt, then add the egg mixture and beat on low speed until the flour is nearly incorporated. This will only take about 30 seconds or so. Now, using the dough hook, add 2 sticks of butter, beating it into the flour and egg mixture until a smooth slightly tacky, dough is formed. This could take about 10 minutes.
4. Remove the dough from the mixer, then knead it on a lightly floured surface a few times until the dough is smooth.
Place the dough in a buttered bowl turning to coat, covered with plastic wrap until doubled. This will take about an hour.
5. In the meantime, while you wait for the dough to rise, place the chocolate, the remaining cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine. The, using a knife (or a pastry cutter) combine with the remaining 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Set aside after mixing the filling.
6. Butter 3 loaf pans ( 9 by 5 by 2 3/4 in. or 22.5 by 12.5 by 7 cm.) then line them with parchment paper. Beat the remaining egg with the cream as an egg wash and set aside. 
7. Now take the dough, punch it down to deflate, then let it rest for about 5 minutes. After resting, cut it into 3 equal pieces. Cover 2 pieces with plastic wrap while you work with the remaining piece to prevent them from drying out.
8. On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough into a 16-inch (40 cm) square that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick.

9. Brush the edges with the reserved egg wash, then crumble 1/3 of the filling over the square of dough, leaving a border. You may need to refresh the egg wash. Roll the dough up tightly, like a jelly roll, pinching the ends to seal it. Twist the roll 5 or 6 times (like for wringing out a towel), then sprinkle about 2 Tbs. of the filling over the left half of the roll. 

Now, being careful not to let the filling fall off the roll, take the right half of the roll and fold it over onto the left half of the roll. Fold the two ends under and pinch to seal, then give this new folded roll 2 turns and place it into the prepared loaf pan. 
10. Repeat this procedure with the other 2 pieces of dough. If you prefer, babka can be made in a bundt pan, like a cake, but it's really a bread, not a cake.

11. Start heating the oven to 350 F (180 C) degrees. Meanwhile, brush each loaf with the remaining egg wash, and sprinkle 1/3 of the Streusel topping on each loaf. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and let them stand to rest and rise a little while the oven heats. This will be about 20 to 30 minutes.
12. Bake the loaves for about 55 minutes rotating them halfway through so they brown evenly. Then lower the temperature to 325 F (160 C) and bake for an additional 15 minutes or so until golden brown. 
13. Remove from the oven, letting them cool in the pans on a wire cooling rack. Afterwards, remove them from the pans, and serve. 
14. I defy you to resist these babkas. It can't be done, I swear! Babkas can be frozen for up to a month but generally disappear within days, so why bother! Yum!!