I’m taking a little break from my new found pumpkin obsession, but I’m still really into baking with yeast right now. I think it may have something to do with fall, although it is going to be 80° today! This weekend I tried my hands again at chocolate babka. I thought it would be the perfect bread to easing-back-into-bread-baking project. This recipe is like three mini challenges all in one. Making the dough, making the filling, and trying to shape filled dough. I totally freaked out the first time. I wondered if it was going to happen again.
Nope! Ok, well yes maybe a little. I’ve stopped worrying about the dough itself. It’s like roulette for me. You put your money on red or black and wait for what seems like forever for the wheel to stop and hopefully fall on your number or color. This time, I won! I was pretty happy with this bread. I even liked it better than the first recipe. I was getting a little worried when I started slicing because the top layer kept falling apart when I cut it, but I decided to just roll with it. Pun intended 🙂
for the dough
- ½ cup whole milk , warmed
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast , or one packet
- ¼ cup granulated sugar , plus more
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for surface
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter , room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for bowl
for the filling and assembly
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, divided, plus more room temperature for pan
- 3 ounces dark chocolate , finely chopped (chopping up chocolate chips is fine too!)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar , divided
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon , divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt , divided
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
make the dough
Pour milk into a measuring glass or small bowl; sprinkle yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over milk. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk egg, egg yolk, and remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in yeast mixture.
Combine salt and 2 cups flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add egg mixture and beat on low speed until nearly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Switch to dough hook and add 7 tablespoons. butter; beat on medium-low until butter is completely incorporated and dough is smooth and just slightly sticky, 8–10 minutes.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until very smooth (dough will still be wet and a little sticky). Transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½–2 hours, then chill 45 minutes.
make the filling and assemble
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9 x 5" loaf pan. Heat chocolate, cocoa, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, microwave on medium power 1 minute, stirring halfway through.)
Turn out chilled dough onto a clean lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 22x12 inch rectangle and orient so a long side is facing you. Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate filling over dough to extend to the edges. Roll up dough away from you like a jelly roll, pulling lightly on it as you roll to maintain thickness. (Use a metal bench scraper if needed to help dough release from surface. Mine was in the dish washer and I was too lazy to clean it, so I used a spatula.)
Cut log in half crosswise. Set halves so they are side by side and touching. A long side should still be facing you. Place one half over the other to make an X, then twist the two ends on one side twice. Repeat on opposite side. (You should have a total of 4 twists.) Transfer bread to pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the streusel. Whisk brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon, and ⅛ tsp. salt in medium bowl to blend. Mix in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add flour and toss with a fork until moist clumps form (streusel will look slightly wet). Whisk egg and cream in a small bowl and brush egg wash over loaf. Scatter streusel over top.
Bake babka, rotating pan halfway through, until golden brown, 50–60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let babka cool in pan 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack, running a paring knife around edges to help loosen if needed. Let cool completely before slicing.
Adapted from Bon Apetit