Chocolate Babka– Sweet Yeasted Bread with Chocolate filling.
Babka, also called Babka Cake and Babka Bread in some places is basically a sweet yeasted bread made with very simple ingredients.
It’s a love child of bread, croissant and cake, if three could produce a child that is.It’s probably best described as a sweet yeasted bread with a decadent filling.
Dark Chocolate inside soft buttery folds of a rich bread with a just brewed cup of my favourite coffee can banish staunchest of demons.I can vouch for it!
Ingredients in Chocolate Babka
- All Purpose Flour or APF or Maida – you can use high gluten flours to get better results.
- Butter- Cold butter, cut into pieces- this will give it flakiness.
For the Filling
- Chocolate- Good Quality Chocolate for the filling
For the Syrup
It’s richer than your average bread because it has eggs, butter and milk.
But the real winner is in the filling.The best filling is chocolate(obviously).That said, there are other equally intriguing non chocolate fillings like-cinnamon,peanut butter,custard which are also quite enticing(if you take chocolate out of picture).
How to make Chocolate Babka
Step 1: Prep
Gather all the ingredients and measure them.Cut the cold butter into cubes.
Either clean up some space on the counter to knead the dough or get your stand mixer in order.
Line the pan with parchment paper or brush it with butter.
Step 2:Make the Dough
You can do this the easy way- in a stand mixer or by hand.Both ways, you will get same result.
Stand Mixer Method
Add the Flour, Yeast, Salt & Sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer.Using the hook attachment, Give it a whizz to mix it up.To this add cold butter and mix it for another 30 seconds.Add Milk and Eggs and
In a large bowl, add flour, yeast, salt and sugar.Mix it up with your hand.
Add cold butter cubes and pinch and rub the flour and butter to get a course clumpy consistency.This should take 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and milk and mix it up together to get the dough.If the dough is too sticky, add flour and if its too tough, add more milk.
Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes, stretching and folding it again and again to develop Gluten.
Step 2:Proofing the Dough or the first rise
Cover the dough with a damp cloth or cling film and keep it on the counter for 1-2 hours, till it rises and doubles in size.
Step 3:Shaping the Bread
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.You can make 2 babka breads with this amount.
Roll the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle(or something resembling a rectangle).
Brush the butter on it and sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate.You can also melt the butter and chocolate toghether in a double boiled and spread on the dough.
Pick a side and Roll the flour into a log.Put the seam side down and using a sharp knife, cut it length wise into 2 portions.
Pinch the ends together and braid it.
Place it in the loaf pan or the cake pan you plan to use.Cover with cling film.
Step 4: Second Rise
After shaping, let the babka rise for the second time.This time it will fill up the loaf pan you have used.
Preheat the oven at the end of one hour to 350 F or 180 Degree C.
Place it in the middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes till the tops are golden brown and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Meanwhile, add the sugar and water in a pan and heat it till the sugar dissolves and the syrup starts bubbling.This will take 10-12 minutes.
Once the babka comes out, brush with the syrup right away.Let it cool on a wire rack before cutting.
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- 3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour Refined White Flour or Maida(read notes)
- 2 tsp Instant Yeast
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Cold Butter
- 2 Eggs
- 12 oz Milk 1.5 cups; Lukewarm
- 4 oz Chopped Chocolate* 1/2 Cup
- 5 tbsp Butter
- 2 oz Water 1/4 cup
- 2 oz of Sugar 1/4 Cup
Kneading Using a Stand Mixer(Option 1)
- Add the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and cold butter in the Stand Mixer/food processor/Aata maker
- Pulse till the butter disintegrates and mixes with the flour.(but you should see the specks)
- Add the eggs one by one.
- Trickle in the 1 cup of milk.The dough should start to come together now.Process for 1 minute.If it seems to dry add 1 tbsp of milk in increments till you get a soft dough.
- Take the dough out.
Kneading with Hand(Option 2)
- Mix in the flour, yeast,sugar and salt in a large sturdy bowl.Add the cold cubed butter.
- Now pinch the butter with your index finger and thumb and mix it with the flour.Rub the butter in the flour till you don’t have any big cubes of butter left but small clumps of it.
- Add the eggs and 1 cup milk.Start by mixing and wetting all the ingredients.Once the dough starts to come together ,add more milk in 1/4 cup increments if the dough is dry or if its too wet add more flour.
- Knead the dough well for about 10 minute. Stretch and fold..and Repeat.This is done to develop Gluten.If this step is omitted the bread will be chewy instead of pillowy.
Proofing the Bread
- Use a large bowl for this step. It should be big enough to fit a triple amount of the dough.
- The quick way is to keep the kneaded bread in a bowl, covered with wet kitchen towel for 2-4 hours.
- The easier way is to keep the dough in a covered bowl(use cling film) in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
Rolling the Dough and last proof
- If in the fridge,Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
- Knead the dough for 2 minutes to make it pliable.Divide it into two halves.
- Make a Ball of the one halve and roll it into a rectangle.About 1/4 inch thick.
- Spread the butter in the rectangle by leaving 1 inch space.Sprinkle the chopped Chocolate.Roll it from the longer side to make a long log.
- Keep it in the fridge for 10 minutes to make it easier to cut.
- Cut the log along it's length and then braid it.Lift this into a prepared loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
- Let it rise for another 30 min-1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 356 F.
- Bake the babka in the oven for about 35-40 minutes.
- Bread is done if the skewer inserted comes in clean.Also when you knock on the back of the bread and it feels hollow.
- Make this ahead of time so that it can be brushed over the bread as soon as its out of the oven.
- Heat the sugar and water in a sauce pan together till the sugar crystals dissolve and the syrup thickens.
- Brush it generously over the babka for the beautiful glossy look.