Mmmm…. Look at those chocolate swirls.
Chocolate Babka is one of those things that I’ve wanted to try baking for several years. I had printed a copy of the recipe I had seen on Smitten Kitchen and had it with all my other recipes (this was long before Pinterest became popular). Thinking this would be a great recipe for #TwelveLoaves March which is featuring Holiday Breads, I decided to make it.
Babka in Polish means Grandmother and was traditionally made for Easter. It was also a tradition in Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia. Another version of Babka (Chocolate Babka) is associated with Eastern European Jews. The history behind Babka is a little confusing. From what I’ve read on the internet, it’s debated as to who started the Babka tradition but it’s usually made around Easter.
This recipe contains a ton of butter and a ton of chocolate. It is decadent, delicious and smells heavenly. I would highly recommend breaking the Lenten fast with this sweet bread. Although it takes a while to make this recipe, I had great results – my dough rose well and it was easy to roll out. I did have one mishap because I don’t have three of the 9 by 5 loaf pans, so my attempt to put two of the loaves side by side in a half aluminum tray didn’t work out so well. They were very dense and gooey in the middle but that didn’t alter the taste and they were devoured quickly anyway. The only thing I would change for next time it to double the crumb topping recipe – you can never have too many crumbs.
Have you ever had Babka? Which type do you prefer – chocolate filling, cinnamon filling, raisins, etc?
Yield: 3 Loaves Cook Time: 70 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups milk, warmed to 110 degrees
- 2 1/4 ounce packages active dry yeast or 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 3/4 cup sugar plus a another pinch
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 6 cups flour plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature plus additional for bowl and loaf pans (or you can use cooking spray instead of additional butter)
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 1/4 pounds very finely chopped semisweet chocolate (I substituted a combination of Hershey’s and Lindt’s milk chocolate candy)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/3 cups flour
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
Step 1: Warm milk in the microwave to 110 degrees. One minute and 25 seconds works in my glass 2 cup measure. I used my candy thermometer to check the temperature. If you are transferring to a small bowl, warm the bowl so the milk doesn’t cool. Add the pinch of sugar and yeast to the milk and give a quick stir. Set aside for about 5 minutes. The mixture should become foamy.
Step 2: Stir together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs and yolks in a medium bowl. Combine yeast and egg mixtures and mix thoroughly.
Step 3: Add the flour and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer and give a quick stir. Add the wet mixture to the flour and beat on low with the paddle attachment for about 30 seconds to combine. Swap out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Cut 2 sticks of butter into 1 inch pieces and add to the dough. Beat with the dough hook until butter is combined. This will take approximately 10 minutes. The dough will be soft and barely sticky.
Step 4: On a clean work surface, lightly sprinkle some flour. Place the dough on the floured surface. You may need to scrape the bowl and dough hook to get every last bit of the wonderful dough. Knead a minute or two. Prepare a large bowl by buttering it or spraying with cooking spray. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and turn to coat butter/cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm spot for 1 hour to double in size. My house is always cool so, while I prepare the dough, I boil a pot of water and place it in my oven along with the dough. This creates a great environment for the dough to rise.
Step 5: Filling: Mix the chocolate, 1 cup sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut in 1 1/2 sticks of butter using a pastry cutter until you have a homogeneous mixture.
Step 6: Egg wash: In a small bowl, beat egg and heavy cream together.
Step 7: Butter the loaf pans or spray with cooking spray then line with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and wait for 5 minutes before cutting into thirds. Cover resting dough while working with the first piece of dough. Flour the work area. Roll the first piece of dough until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. It should be about 16 by 16 inch square.
Step 8: Using the egg wash, moisten the edges of the rolled dough. Evenly crumble 1/3 (about 2 1/2 cups) of the chocolate mixture minus 2 tablespoons on rolled dough up to about 1/4 inch from the edge of the dough. Beginning at one side of the dough, roll the dough up until you reach the opposite side. Pinch the dough together to seal the edges. The dough needs to be twisted along its length 5 or 6 times. Moisten the top of the rolled dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture on half the roll and press into the dough. Fold the side of the dough roll without the chocolate mixture onto the side with the chocolate mixture. Seal edges by pinching. Twist the roll twice and place in loaf pan. Repeat rolling dough through placing in loaf pan for each of the other doughs.
Step 9: Streusel Topping: Add powdered sugar, flour and butter in a large bowl. Mix to combine and create small to large crumbs.
Step 10: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let doughs rise for 20 to 30 minutes in a warm spot. Moisten the tops of the loaves with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with 1/3 of the streusel.
Step 11: Place loaves in preheated oven and bake 55 minutes until golden, rotating loaves midway during baking. Lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until loaves are darker golden. Cool completely on wire racks. Depan loaves and try not to eat an entire loaf.
Storing: Store loaves in a sealed plastic container or covered with plastic wrap.
- To finely chop the chocolate easily, break it up into inch size pieces initially. In small batches, use a food processor or mini chopper to chop it finely.
- The dough can be frozen for 1 month after preparing up to the point where they are ready to be placed in the oven. Remove the dough from the freezer and wait 5 hours before baking.
- If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven. The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.
Look at what our very talented #TwelveLoaves bakers have created this March!
- Grammy’s Italian Easter Bread by Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
- Hot Cross Buns by Holly at A Baker’s House
- American Irish Soda Bread by Renee at Magnolia Days
- Hot Cross Buns by Lora at Cake Duchess
- Pinca: Croatian Easter Bread by Sherron at Simply Gourmet
- Jamaican Zucchini Spiced Bun by Lyn at The Lovely Pantry
- Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling by Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Greek Easter Bread by Alice at Hip Foodie Mom
We would love to have you join our #TwelveLoaves group; it’s easy!
1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts. Please make sure that your Bread is inspired by the theme!
2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of Lora’s blog (Cake Duchess) or the link below. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this March, 2013 posted on your blog by March 31, 2013.
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