Yield: 1 loaf banana bread babka
Total time: 2 hr. 30 min.
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I’ll be honest, whenever I develop a recipe involving bananas it is 100% the result of forgetting I have bananas and then needing to use them up super quickly. But that’s the best part about them, when they go “bad”, you get to make delicious things, like banana bread babka! Soft and sweet banana yeast dough gets filled with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a whole bunch of walnuts. This recipes makes enough for 1 8″ x 4″ loaf, but can easily be doubled if you would like!
A couple of things to note:
1. Measuring the ingredients. It is important that you weigh the ingredients so that the recipe turns out correctly and you don’t end up with a dry, hard loaf or a messy, wet loaf. Here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
2. Room temperature ingredients. It is important that your butter and egg are at room temperature so that they incorporate properly in the batter. Take out the butter and egg at least 30 minutes but only up to an hour before making the banana bread babka dough.
3. The banana should be *super* ripe. You will want to make sure that the banana is super ripe and brown. Green bananas do not contribute the same sweetness and moisture that ripe bananas do.
4. Temperature of the milk. The temperature of the milk should be around 100°F but does not have to be exact. Make sure the milk is at least 95°F but no hotter than 110°F. Any hotter will kill the yeast and your dough will not rise.
For this banana bread babka, you will need:
All purpose flour: the structural foundation of the babka
Instant yeast: helps the dough rise
Salt: helps prevent the yeast dough from rising too much
Granulated sugar: sweetens the dough and acts as “food” for the yeast
Whole milk: hydrates the dough
Unsalted butter: tenderizes and softens the dough. We will also use it in the filling!
Egg: helps bind the dough together
Banana: you can’t have banana babka without banana!
Light brown sugar: for the cinnamon-sugar filling
Ground cinnamon: for the cinnamon-sugar filling
Walnuts: for a nice crunch in the babka filling
Can I use active-dry yeast instead of instant?
Yes! The dough will just take longer to rise. In the beginning of the recipe, mix together the sugar, yeast, and warmed milk and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. At the first rise, cover the dough and let rise in a warm environment until it has doubled in size, 40-60 minutes. Then, continue on with the recipe as usual.
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes! There are actually two routes you could go with making the banana bread babka ahead of time.
1. Make only the dough. After kneading the dough together, cover it in a large bowl and place in the fridge to rise overnight, up to 12 hours. In the morning, take out the dough, roll it out, and continue with the recipe as usual. The dough may take longer to double in size since it is cold.
2. Make and assemble the babka. After kneading the dough together, let it rise for the time needed based on whether you are using instant or active dry yeast. Roll out the dough, top it with the filling, roll it up, cut and assemble it. Place it into your prepared loaf tin and cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray so that the dough does not stick to it. In the morning, take out the dough 30 minutes before baking and bake as directed!
Banana Bread Babka
Banana Babka Dough
- 250 g all purpose flour
- 4 g instant yeast
- 4 g salt
- 25 g granulated sugar
- 50 mL whole milk
- 70 g unsalted butter room temperature, cut into small chunks
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 banana mashed
- 56 g unsalted butter melted
- 125 g light brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 100 g walnuts crushed
Banana Babka Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add in the flour, yeast*, salt, sugar, butter, egg, and banana.
- In the microwave, heat the milk until it reaches 100°F / 38°C. Add the milk to the rest of the ingredients.
- Start the mixer on low speed and knead for 1 minute to allow the ingredients to come together. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and starts to lift from the bottom of the bowl, approximately 15 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and let rest for 10 minutes**
- While the dough is resting, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Grease an 8" x 4" pan with butter and line it with parchment paper to create a "hammock" for the loaf.
- Roll the dough out into a 10" x 16" rectangle. Spread the melted butter over the rolled out dough, then sprinkle on the sugar mixture. Gently rub the sugar mixture into the butter so that all of the sugar looks wet. Sprinkle the walnuts over the sugar.
- Roll up the dough starting from the 10" side into a tight log. Using a sharp knife, slice down the middle of the dough lengthwise to expose the center of the dough.
- Cross the two pieces of dough over each other to form an "X" shape, and then twist the dough together on the top and bottom. Lightly squish the dough together lengthwise to make it the same size of the pan.
- Transfer the dough to the pan and cover it loosely with a cloth. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Bake the loaf for 40 minutes or until it is golden brown on top and has reached an internal temperature of 190°F / 88°C. If needed, place tinfoil loosely over the bread to keep it from browning too much on the top.
- Wait for the bread to cool before slicing. Serve, and enjoy!
If you make this recipe, I would love to see it and know what you think! Please leave a rating down below and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. Thanks for stopping by!