Poppy Seed Vegan Babka

This delicious vegan leavened dough is perfect for most sweet sourdough-ish recipes. I was skeptical at the beginning of how this dough will behave and how it will taste when baked. No milk, no butter, no eggs.


I always thought that butter is simply irreplaceable when it comes to sourdough pastries. Taste-wise and property-wise. As I found out, it is definitely true when it comes to croissants and viennoiseries but not necessarily when it comes to leavened doughs.

Even though the taste of the dough is less rich, it is compensated by a much more airy and fluffy structure of the crumb.  It tastes much lighter letting a filling to stand out. This makes sense as yeasts are now rising a lighter, less fatty dough. Babka and cinnamon rolls were fluffy even on the second/third day without being hard or dried out (when stored properly in an airtight container). When reheated they taste just like the day I made them. Taste of this vegan dough is unrecognizable from a non-vegan dough and I felt much less “heavy” after eating a good portion of my babka. I really loved it.


Just filled & shapen babka is going to rest at a room temperature for about an hour


This time I used 100% AP (all-purpose) unbleached flour even though the original recipe calls for fine flour. Because I could not get fine flour at the moment, I used what I had and the result was really great. The ingredient I want to experiment with next time will be oil. I used 100% canola oil and it worked out very well but I prefer using different kinds of oils when baking. Nut oils might work very well. The original recipe I got inspired by is from one of my most favorite blogs maskrtnica.cz (in the Czech language) where I look for inspiration for great sourdough recipes.

This dough is very universal and you can make with it:

  • Babkas
  • Cinnamon Buns
  • Sweet Knots/ Buns (Kanelbullar style)
  • Top it with any sweet filling/ fruit and bake in a round cake pan


Babka & Cinnamon Buns are proofing and slowly rising


A few words to your filling as that is as important as the dough itself. Whatever filling you going to use, my rule is to always use as much filling as the dough. Babka must be filled generously.

I filled my babka with one of my most favorite fillings – poppy seeds and plum butter. Where I come from, this is a very traditional filling and I absolutely love it. It’s kind of sour-y and sweet at the same time. Poppy seeds are a great source of calcium, phosphorus, fatty acids & linoleic acid. Poppy seeds must be ground for them to be able to soak liquids and for your body to be able to absorb all minerals (same as with chia or flaxseeds). My source of ground poppy seeds in New York City is this small Czechoslovak mom-and-pop store.


Babka ready to go to the oven (after one hour of proofing in a pan)



250g Flour, unbleached (I used 100% AP flour)

125g Almond Milk

60g Sugar

35g Oil (I used Canola Oil)

8g Fresh Yeasts (or 3g Dry Yeasts)

2g Salt

Lemon Zest 


  1. In a small bowl mix together 8g fresh yeasts, 20g sugar, 70g lukewarm milk, and 50g flour until well incorporated. Cover with a cling foil and let it rest for 30 minutes on a warm place in your kitchen (working desk/ top of the fridge). Your yeasts need some extra time to activate as we do not leave this dough to ferment overnight.  Once you’ll see that mixture starts to create small bubbles on the top and has a mild sourish smell (and perhaps rise a bit), you can proceed to step 2.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer combine together proofed yeast mixture with all rest ingredients (rest of milk, rest of sugar, oil, rest of flour, salt and lemon zest). I usually pour liquid ingredients first and stir them to combine and after that, I add flour and salt.
  3. With a dough hook attached to your mixer, knead your dough first on low speed for about 2 minutes and then one speed faster for about 3 minutes. The dough must be well incorporated, stretchy and sides of the bowl clean.
  4. Rest the dough covered with a cling foil for approx. 2 hours – or until double in size.
  5. Flour your working desk gently and roll the dough until you get a nice rectangle that’s thick approximately 0,5 cm.
  6. Spread your filling on the top of your dough leaving edges plain and roll it up. Shape or cut your dough based on what are you preparing – babka, cinnamon rolls, buns…
  7. Place your now filled pastry into the baking tray/pan and let it rest for another approx. 1 hour or until well risen.
  8. Turn your oven on 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit and while it is warming up, give your babka nice sugar water wash. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Hot babka can be washed again with sugar water for a nice shiny finish.



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