Savory Babka with Gruyère, Mozzarella, and Black Sesame

February 15, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Food52 Review: Featured in the article Babka Takes a Savory, Scallion-y TurnThe Editors

Makes: 1 loaf


  • 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
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|Green Onion/Scallion|Milk/Cream|Mustard|Sesame

Reviews (9) Questions (0)

9 Reviews

caroline May 2, 2018
do you have pairing suggestions for this as an hors d'oeuvre?
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
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
Author Comment
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.