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Best of Babka?

My friend recently tried Babka for the first time from Panera and thought it was tasty if a bit dry. I have never even ate it myself but we both agreed that there should hopefully be a place that does a better version of babka (or anything for that matter) than Panera. I told her I would look but nothing came up in the searches recently. Any recs I can pass on to my friend?

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  1. I buy my Babka each year from Green's bakery in NYC. They make it for Zabar's as well (where I used to get it), but it's the same exact thing and cheaper, if you order directly from Green's. I have not tried a better babka (and I've had it from Clear Flour, and other places. Here's the link.

    11 Replies
    1. re: kimfair1

      Definitely second this. Green's chocolate babka is the best.

      1. re: kimfair1

        Thanks for the tip. I LUV chocolate babka.

        1. re: StriperGuy

          The Greens brand is a VERY moist, VERY chocolatety babka. If you like the dry type, Green's may not be for you, but everyone I've introduced it to, loves it.

          1. re: kimfair1

            I like dry, I like moist, if it's a good babka (after all what am I chopped liver) I'll eat it.

        2. re: kimfair1

          Thanks for the link. One of the very first breads I ever made was babka - which was a great gift to my dad back then. He grew up eating his mom's (came from Poland & she baked everything under the sun - I think I got my love of baking from that side). But it's been years since he passed away (1989) and I haven't baked it in years. I know I could, but the kind I made requires a lot of arm strength - back in my teenage days I stirred the batter for AGES by hand... or a mixer. Since I don't have either now (lol), and i don't trust my willpower if I bought a mixer, I like having a good source for some babka.

          That said, if I ever get back to baking my own, I'll have to have a chow feast & invite some chowhound friends!! Never made chocolate, but the cinnamon one I used to made was to die for (and with all those eggs & butter... well, never mind).

          1. re: threedogs

            I love Green's Cinnamon Babka as much (or maybe a smidge more) than the chocolate. I buy a bunch for my co-workers around the holidays each year, and folks start coming up to me around Halloween asking me when "babka day" is coming. They all know it's not until near Christmas, yet everyone starts getting psyched for it months early.

          2. re: kimfair1

            kim, i've never tasted babka. It looks like the yeast based cinnamon swirl breads i see at produce stands.Very similar or a world of difference? Love the story of how you know it's Halloween time at work...!

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Oh, it is really delish, op-c!! I used to make it on holidays way back, in my younger days. Only cinnamon in our half Polish house, though - never even heard of chocolate until Seinfeld.

              The babka I made had lots of eggs, egg yolks, butter & milk in it - it is a wet dough, mixed with a mixer (or in my case, forever with a wooden spoon - seriously!) I put raisins in mine, and the cinnamon sugar on top... I was trying to replicate what my grandma I never knew used to make. Of course, you know there must be a million ways to make it - key is the airy, light dough (shouldn't be icky sweet - only slightly sweet). Cinnamon swirl breads wouldn't be as light, IMO.

              1. re: threedogs

                Yes, it is really more like a brioche! Most recipes will have you cream butter into the yeast dough

              2. re: opinionatedchef

                There are many different babkas. Some are light on the fillings, cinnamon or chocolate, with a drier base. The ones I love (and which are such a big treat at work) are from Green's Bakery in New York. Their babka is very moist, with thin layers of dough, layered with cinnamon or chocolate. Both are delicious, but the cinnamon is my favorite.Here's a picture of the Green's

                1. re: kimfair1

                  Yup. Just received a chocolate and cinnamon along with our Russ & Daughters Xmas order.

            2. You could give a call to the Baltic European Deli in So. Boston: http://www.balticeuropeandeli.com/ or check to see if Berezka or Bazaar in Allston have it.

              1. I haven't tried it (can anyone who has comment?) but I believe Rosenfeld's in Newton Center has babka, and I love their bagels and challah.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kip McSkipster

                  FINALLY tried Rosenfeld's chocolate babka today. I don't have many other examples to compare it to, but in typical Rosenfeld's fashion, it was excellent. Bread part has a challah-like consistency (i.e. sufficiently moist, sweet but not too sweet). Also not overly sweet chocolate is folded in. The whole thing is topped with some kind of fine crumble, then drizzled with chocolate and icing. A real treat.

                2. This thread is near and dear to my heart. I love baking babka and am happy to hear of these alternative options.

                  1. Hi-Rise Bread Co. does a tremendous Babka, but I would call for which day. I think Sunday, but not sure.

                    Hi-Rise Bread Co
                    208 Concord Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tatsu

                      I love this babka, too (they only have cinnamon, at least that I've seen). I think Sundays is right.

                    2. Cheryl Ann's in Brookline is pretty tasty.

                      Cheryl Anns
                      1010 W Roxbury Pkwy, Chestnut Hill, MA

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: 11earl

                        agreed. Cheryl Ann's is the best around. I personally prefer it to Green's.

                          1. re: kimfair1

                            It's a pretty moist babka. I'm a sucker for their chocolate and, in a related noted, a big fan of their challah.

                      2. Katz's in Chelsea makes it on weekends only. Rest of the week, it's bagels only.

                        It can be very good. They make cinnamon too.

                        1. My Polish husband was joking that babka as per his family traditions should be dry. I don't like it, he said, but I must have it for Easter and it must be dry so it can soak up all the ham juices.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: l0b0SKI

                            That's so funny to me, b/c I think of babka as a Jewish sweet bread to serve for dessert.....so the thought of using it to serve as a main course bread to soak up ham juices is mind-bending on many fronts! I never stopped to think that it could well be a general Eastern European bready-thing! :0

                            1. re: Science Chick

                              It helps explain the vast variety in babka from the very bready, somewhat dry and nearly cinnamon or chocolate free, to more fillings, to loaded with them like a Green's. The prior for dinner, the latter, dessert. Like most of the time, I choose dessert.

                          2. Newmans in Swampscott has great cinnamon raisin babka.

                            1. according to my polish husband it should be tasty but dry as his family uses it to soak up ham dripping and the like. Now if we could find something other than chocolate Babka.

                              1. Mamadou's Bakery in Winchester makes an excellent Babka on the weekends. If you aren't in the neighborhood, I'd call to make sure they have it (it can go quickly).

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: mgp

                                  Are babkes always in loaf form now? I seem to remember them being round with a hole in the middle. am I remembering wrong?

                                  1. re: chompie

                                    The entirety of my babka experience is within the past 10 years, and almost exclusively Greens. However, I've seen it at several bakeries and never seen a round loaf with a hole, always a loaf. The famous Seinfeld episode showed a rounder loaf, I believe, but it didn't have a hole.

                                    1. re: kimfair1

                                      I've seen round loaves in the Polish markets in South Boston and the Russian markets in Allston. No hole, though.

                                      1. re: kimfair1

                                        I know from Babka, loaves, round, with a whole, without... Sweet, or dryer.

                                        My own preference is for sweeter, richer, buttery chocolate or cinnamon variety. I have to try Mamadou's but don't currently have a babka that I think is truly delish.

                                  2. Karls Sausage Kitchen in Peabody has several flavors of Babka, can't speak to it's quality.