Cranberry-Hibiscus Babka


This braided sweet bread looks as festive as it tastes thanks to a ripple of a vibrant stove-top cranberry-hibiscus jam.

Cranberry-Hibiscus Babka
Photo: Carson Downing
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 5 mins
1 loaf


  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

  • cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup water

  • 3 tablespoon orange juice

  • ¼ cup dried hibiscus flowers, (flor de jamaica), rinsed (optional)

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup warm whole milk

  • ¼ cup plus 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces

  • 3 tablespoon water

  • 1 - 2 tablespoon turbinado or pearl sugar


  1. For the jam: In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the orange juice, hibiscus flowers (if using), and 1/4 cup water. Bring to simmering, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat. Gently simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Let cool 15 minutes; transfer mixture to a blender and blend to a smooth puree. Cool completely. You should have 2/3 cup jam (it thickens as it cools; stir before using).

  2. For the babka: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook* combine flour, milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the eggs, yeast, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Mix on low until combined. Increase speed to medium and knead 8 minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, beating until combined after each.

  3. Coat a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to the bowl. (Dough will be very sticky; use floured hands or a rubber spatula.) Cover; let rise in a warm place 2 to 3 hours or until doubled in size.

  4. Turn out dough onto a generously floured work surface. Sprinkle with more flour; pat dough into a 12×9-inch rectangle. Spread jam in an even layer over rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all the way around. Starting from a long side, roll dough into as tight a log as you can without the jam squeezing out. Pinch edges of dough to seal.

  5. Cut the log in half lengthwise, exposing the jam. Lay the two pieces, jam side up, side by side. Twist the two pieces around each other. Pinch ends together and fold them under the loaf.

  6. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Lay the babka in the pan. Cover; let rise in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it has risen slightly above the edge of the pan.

  7. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake babka about 35 minutes or until golden brown, firm to the touch, and the internal temperature reaches 190°F.

  8. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine the remaining 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar and 3 Tbsp. water. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat; let syrup cool slightly.

  9. Remove babka from oven and brush generously with syrup while still warm. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove babka from pan; cool at least 15 minutes more. Store, covered, at room temperature, 1 to 2 days. Serves 12.


If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the eggs, yeast, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt with a wooden spoon. Stir in butter pieces, one at a time, until mixed in (it should take 5 to 6 minutes). Stir in the remaining flour until satiny and elastic (about 3 minutes). Continue as directed in Step 3.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

190 Calories
5g Fat
32g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 190
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 42mg 14%
Sodium 65mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 3.2mg 16%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 1.2mg 7%
Potassium 67mg 1%
Folate, total 51.7mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.1mcg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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