Red Pesto Babka Filled With Mozzarella Cheese

Chocolate babka, cinnamon babka, jam babka – most people know and love babka as a delicious, pillowy sweet treat. But a savory babka? Virtually unheard of... until today because we're going to show you how to make a red pesto babka filled with mozzarella cheese. If that sounds obscene to you or the babka purist in your life, try this recipe and see for yourself! Everything is made from scratch, including the yeast dough and the pesto, so what's not to love?!

You'll Need:

For the dough:

  • ¼ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 0.67 oz fresh yeast (⅓ of a 2 oz cube) or 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4¾ cups flour
  • ¾ stick butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the red pesto:

  • 6 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15-20 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese


  • 12 x 5 inch loaf pan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Here's How:

1. Add the flour, butter, eggs, salt, and milk to a bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the yeast with the water and sugar, and add this mixture to the other ingredients. Mix everything with a hand mixer into a smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 1½ hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare the red pesto. Add all the ingredients to a blender or use a mortar and pestle to combine the ingredients into a cohesive paste.

3. Flour your work surface, form the dough into a ball, and roll it out into a 20 x 16 inch rectangle. Spread 2 tablespoons of the red pesto on top of the dough, making sure to leave about a 2-inch gap between the pesto and the edge on one side. 

4. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the pesto.

5. Roll the dough tightly in the direction of the 2-inch gap on the edge. Cut the roll in half lengthwise and put the two strands alternately on top of each other (the cut surface should point upward). Put the braided babka in a loaf pan and cook for 40 minutes.

Cheesy Red Pesto Babka

Of course, you're free to use whatever type of pesto you like! You could even make a loaf of this babka with traditional green pesto or pistachio pesto – just go nuts with whatever sounds yummy to you!

Get the recipe for the Blueberry Babka featured in the bonus video.


Also hefty