Green Onion/Scallion

Savory Babka with Gruyère, Mozzarella, and Black Sesame

February 15, 2018
6 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Makes 1 loaf
Author Notes

This cheesy bread is easy to pull apart and share, and beautiful to serve at a brunch. It's great for toasting too: two types of cheese make gooey ribbons through each slice and crispy, crunchy edges. I add scallions, Dijon mustard, and black sesame seeds for extra flavor which makes the bread much more interesting. If you want to up the savory factor, add some crumbled bacon to the filling. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in the article Babka Takes a Savory, Scallion-y Turn —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 7 ounces milk (2% or whole)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Vermont cheddar cheese powder (optional, for more flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional, for more flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing the dough
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted black or white sesame seeds
  1. To make the dough, heat the milk until just lukewarm. Stir in the yeast and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or by hand in a large bowl, mix together the milk/yeast mixture, flour, butter, sugar, egg yolk, salt, and cheese and garlic powders (if using). Mix until the dough comes together, and then knead until the dough is very smooth and elastic—don't skimp on this step. It should take about 10 minutes in a stand mixer. If the dough is still pretty sticky, carry on kneading until it feels quite smooth.
  3. Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until puffy and almost doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Gently press down the dough to deflate it, and turn it out onto a counter. The dough is buttery enough that you shouldn't need extra flour—it shouldn't stick.
  6. Press/roll/stretch the dough out into a large rectangle, about 12" x 18" in size.
  7. Brush a thin layer of melted butter evenly over the dough, leaving a little space around all the edges (about 1/2"). Spread the mustard thinly over the butter.
  8. Sprinkle the cheeses, scallions, and sesame seeds in an even layer over the dough.
  9. Starting with the long side closest to you, roll the dough into a long log and pinch the seam firmly closed.
  10. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log in half lengthwise. You’ll end up with two strips of dough. Take those two pieces and pinch two ends together. Twist the logs around each other two or three times; pinch together the other two ends. Place the braid, cut side up, in a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes, then tent the top with foil if the cheese is browning too quickly, and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out to cool on a wire rack.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • home_cook_mark
  • Kate Phillips
    Kate Phillips
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • Rosemary

12 Reviews

home_cook_mark October 16, 2023
Made this several times and it's definitely a keeper!
sfilmeyer November 21, 2021
This turned out super well! I made some slight modifications to the filling quantities but mostly followed the recipe. The dough itself was lovely and it finished right about on time for me.
RocketScience April 24, 2020
I made this using a slightly different recipe for an enriched dough using my sourdough starter, so my review really only applies to the concept and the filling. I thought the flavors were good, well-balanced, and the black sesame seeds added a little unexpected crunchy edge that was most welcome.
My kitchen was very warm and as a result some of the cheese started to melt and shed oil into the dough during the final rise, a problem compounded by the butter spread over the dough before adding the cheese. So I ended up with big air holes around the filling in the loaf. If your kitchen is very warm like mine, I would advise reducing the butter and/or doing the final rise more slowly in the fridge. Because of the big air holes, I can't speak to how this bread would be toasted, but I can definitely say it would be great for brunch.
caroline May 2, 2018
do you have pairing suggestions for this as an hors d'oeuvre?
Posie (. May 3, 2018
It’s got a lot of flavor on its own so really it could easily stand alone but if you wanted to slice and slightly toast it, you could top it with a tomato compote or savory tomato jam...smashed or chopped avocado with some herbs would be nice too.
caroline May 3, 2018
thank you!
Andi C. March 23, 2018
I’m a new baker without any experience. When the recipe calls for kneading, if I’m using a mixer, do I knead by hand or in the mixer? I’m a bit confused.
Posie (. March 23, 2018
You can do either! You can knead it in your mixer with a dough hook or by hand. It’ll just take longer by hand to get the dough smooth and elastic.
nancyg March 23, 2018
Can bread flour be used in part ? Nancyg
Posie (. March 23, 2018
Kate P. March 13, 2018
I made this last night and turned out great! My apartment is a bit cold so I often have trouble getting yeasted doughs to rise perfectly but this did just fine. This recipe is very easy to put together and turns out delicious and so beautiful. A great recipe to start with if you're a little nervous about baking yeasted doughs. I will probably replace my old go-to sweet yeast dough recipe with the sweet version of this one since it came out so great!
Rosemary December 27, 2018
A great trick I learned what turning your oven on to 400 degrees for exactly one minute then turning it off. That makes it the perfect proofing temperature. Your bread will rise perfectly every time.