Babka, the pastry that Jewish communities (and cities with large Eastern European populations) have known and loved for generations, is finally getting a wider audience. The loaf, which is commonly flavored with chocolate, cinnamon, and nuts, has the density of brioche mixed with the sweetness of a swirled coffee cake.

Here in the Denver area, the best example we’ve found is at Grateful Bread Company in Golden. Once a week, during what owners Jeff Cleary and Kathy Mullen call “retail day,” the bakery opens its doors to a line of customers and sells freshly milled flours, loaves of handmade breads, pastries, and babka by the one-and-a-half-inch slice ($2).

Bakers Cleary and John Groundwater started messing around with babka when they realized it was a way to repurpose their buttery but useless croissant scraps. The result is a tender bread that mixes sweet with savory and sharp notes of dark chocolate and almond butter.

Of course, using scraps means Grateful Bread’s babka is a limited commodity. But the pastry has been so popular that Groundwater has begun making a batch of croissant dough specifically for the treat. There’s talk of doing individual-size breads in the bakery’s sticky-bun pans, but that hasn’t taken shape yet. In the meantime, heaven awaits by the single slice. 425 Violet St., Golden

This article was originally published in 5280 June 2016.
Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.