Lunch Recipe
Sourdough Pumpkin Babka

Sourdough Pumpkin Babka

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Delicious sourdough pumpkin babka made with sourdough starter, pumpkin puree spiced up with pumpkin pie spice and filled with chocolate filling.

Sourdough Pumpkin Babka

What is babka ?

A babka is a sweet, braided bread or cake and originated in the Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine. It is usually  prepared with a yeast-leavened dough that is rolled out and spread with a filling such as chocolate, cinnamon, fruit, or cheese. Then it is rolled up and braided and baked.

As pumpkin babka is made with sourdough it will be nice to add Tangzhong into the dough, as it keeps the breads soft. I like to add Tangzhong to cinnamon buns and other sweet bread. That way bread remains soft  and moist.

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Ingredients to make Pumpkin Babka

This is basically a brioche type  dough with sweet chocolate  filling.  I have used 100% sourdough starter , you can use stiff starter also.

Ingredients for dough
  • Flour :  All-purpose flour is used for both dough and Tangzhong ( 100%).
  • Starter : You need an active sourdough starter to make this bread. I have used white flour starter ( 13.7%).
  • Unsalted butter : if you are using salted butter make sure to cut back on salt. You need butter to use butter both in  the dough and filling (28%).
  • Sugar – I used granulated sugar. Granulated sugar is used in dough as well as in in the filling (8%).
  • Egg – Eggs  act as a binder, add moisture and  richness (15%).
  • Salt: I used sea salt; you can use  your favorite salt (1.6%).
  • Milk : used in Tangzhong (roux) ( 39.21 %)
  • Water :  you need only less amount, as Tangzhong, starter  and pumpkin puree has water (3.6%).
  • Pumpkin puree: I used canned pumpkin; you can use homemade pumpkin puree too (26.6%).
  • Spices: I used cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in the dough.

For filling

Ingredients for filling
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar ( 30.8%).
  • Bitter chocolate : I used 100% cacao bittersweet chocolate you can use lesser cacao around 70% cacao chocolate too(21%).

. Coca powder:  I used cocoa powderto extra chocolatey flavor. (7%)

      For simple syrup

You need to make a simple syrup with equal quantity of sugar and water.

  Egg wash

        1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water to make egg wash.

See recipe card for quantities.


First you need to make leavain.

Then make the dough with all ingredients except butter then finally incorporate the butter into the dough.

Step by step of making dough

Set aside for 2-3 hours then refrigerate overnight.

Next morning make the filling and fill the dough.

Dough filled with chocolate

Make a braid and set aside for second proof. This will be a slow rise. You need to proof until the dough reaches almost less than 1 ½ inch than top rim of the loaf pan.

rolled dough and braid

Do an egg wash and bake the dough  at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Braid before baking

Once it comes out of the oven brush with simple syrup. This adds extra moistness to the bread. Earlier I have tried a mini babka  buns in muffin tin here is the recipe

Tips to  remember while making Sourdough Pumpkin babka

1) You can make Tangzhong with water instead of milk if you want.

2) Make sure to remove maximum water from the pumpkin puree as much possible by wiping with a kitchen tissue or towel .

3) Instead of chocolate filling you can use cinnamon filling .

4) I have used bitter chocolate  so this pumpkin babka is  not overly sweet. If you want to make it sweeter use semi sweet chocolate.

5) Make sure to line the baking pan with parchment paper, this will help easy removal of babka as well as  prevents chocolate filling leaking on the pan.

5) Brushing with simple syrup adds extra moistness and sheen to the babka so, don’t skip this step.

Sourdough pumpkin babka slice


I used Pullman pan 13X5 inch which give tall babka loaf.


This  sourdough pumpkin babka  will remain fresh in airtight container for 4 days.

You can freeze by individually wrapping.   After thawing them, when you are ready to serve reheat them at 300°F  for 10 minutes or until heated through.

If you try this recipe, please tag me @nidhinikhil on Instagram or zestysouthindianktichen on Facebook.

Sourdough pumpkin babka slices

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

Sourdough Pumpkin Babka

Delicious sourdough pumpkin babka made with sourdough starter, pumpkin puree spiced up with pumpkin pie spice and filled with chocolate filling.

Prep Time8 hrs 10 mins

Cook Time45 mins

4 hrs

Total Time12 hrs 55 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Polish

Keyword: #sourdoughbread, #sourdoughpumpkinbread

Servings: 12 servings


  • Leavain
  • 50 g starter all-purpose flour starter
  • 50 g Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 50 g water
  • Tangzhong
  • 28 g bread flour
  • 140 g whole milk
  • The Bread Dough
  • All Tangzhong
  • 357 g Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 49 g Leavain
  • 29 g Sugar
  • 6 g Salt
  • 13 g Water
  • 1 large egg
  • 95 g Pumpkin Puree
  • 100 g Unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Filling
  • 75 g Unsalted butter softened at room temperature
  • 110 g sugar
  • 70 g Bitter Chocolate
  • 25 g Cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Simple syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water


  • Make leavain

  • In a small bowl add all purpose flour, starter and water and set aside for 3-4 hours or until it doubles.

  • The Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux):

  • In a medium saucepan whisk together lightly the flour, milk in a saucepan until smooth and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan on the stove, and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring/ whisking constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.

  • If you have a thermometer, cook the roux/ tangzhong till it reaches 65C (150F) and take it off the heat. If you do not have a thermometer, then watch the roux/ tangzhong until you start seeing “lines” forming in the roux/ tangzhong as you whisk/ stir it. Take the pan off the heat at this point.

  • Let the roux/ tangzhong cool completely and rest for about 2 to 3 hours at least. If not using immediately, transfer the roux to a bowl and cover using plastic wrap. It can be stored in the refrigerator until the color changes . Discard the tangzhong after that.

  • For Dough

  • In a kitchen aid stand mixer add all the ingredients except the butter knead with dough hook to form a cohesive, sticky mass, 2 to 3 minutes on low speed of a stand mixer.

  • Gradually add butter and incorporate about 1 minute on low speed. Once all

  • The butter is incorporated, turn the mixer up one speed and knead the dough

  • until it is smooth and supple though still somewhat soft and tacky, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm (75°F) place for 2-3hours . To develop strength in the dough, stretch and fold it in the bowl three to four times during the rest. This will increase the elasticity of the dough.

  • Refrigerate overnight the dough .

  • For the Filling

  • In a medium bowl add melted butter and bitter chocolate and mxi well to this add sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and mix well and set aside.

  • Remove the dough from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. After 2 hours spread it into rectangle.

  • Spread chocolate filling into the dough and roll it into cylinder.

  • Then make a slit in the middle of cylinder and with two pieces make a braid.

  • Place it in loaf pan lined with parchment paper and set aside for second proof for 5 hours or until dough reaches about the 1 ½ inch of loaf tin.

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F and brush the dough with egg wash

  • Then bake the at 350 F for 45 minutes or until it registers 195F internally.

  • When it is out from the oven brush with simple syrup


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This is not overly sweet bread. If you want sweet bread, go ahead, and use semisweet chocolate.


This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread.  All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.

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