Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka, recipe credit to King Arthur Flour

 

Ingredients

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

DOUGH

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast, SAF Red or SAF Gold instant yeast preferred
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • *Reduce the salt to 2 1/4 teaspoons if you use salted butter.

FILLING

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, Triple Cocoa Blend, or the cocoa powder of your choice, Dutch-process or natural
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips, mini chips preferred
  • 1 cup diced pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired

GLAZE

  • 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt until well-combined

TOPPING

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients (starting with the lesser amount of water), mixing until everything is moistened. Add additional water if necessary to enable the dough to come together. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then mix/knead it until it’s soft and smooth.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover the bowl. The dough is going to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s quite puffy.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it in half. Set the pieces aside, covered, while you make the filling.
  4. To make the filling: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and espresso. Stir in the melted butter. The mixture will look grainy and slick; that’s OK.
  5. Shape each half of the dough into a 9″ x 18″, 1/4″-thick rectangle. If the dough “fights back,” let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten, then stretch it some more. Don’t be fussy about this; 19″ or 20″ is as good as 18″.
  6. Smear each piece of the dough with half the filling, coming to within an inch of the edges.
  7. Scatter half the nuts, and half the chopped chocolate/chips over each piece. If using standard-size chips, process them in a food processor first, to create smaller bits of chocolate and a less chunky filling.
  8. Starting with a short end, roll each piece gently into a log, sealing the seam and ends. Working with one log at a time, use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise (not crosswise) to make two pieces of dough about 10″ long each; cut carefully, to prevent too much filling from spilling out. With the exposed filling side up, twist the two pieces into a braid, tucking the ends underneath. Repeat with the other log. Place each log into a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  9. Brush each loaf with the egg glaze. Mix together the topping ingredients until crumbly, and sprinkle half the topping over each loaf.
  10. Tent each pan with plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until they’re very puffy and have crowned a good inch over the rim of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 300°F.
  11. Bake the bread for 35 minutes. Tent lightly with foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes (for a total of 50 to 60 minutes); the loaves should be a deep-golden brown.
  12. To ensure the loaves are baked through, insert a digital thermometer into the center of one loaf. It should register at least 190°F.
  13. Remove the loaves from the oven, and immediately loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the pans onto a rack to cool completely.
  14. Slice the babka and serve it at room temperature; or rewarm individual slices briefly in a toaster, if desired. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

 

Or make it Gluten Free! It’s really delicious.

 

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Babka, recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

DOUGH

  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FILLING

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for enhanced chocolate flavor
  • 2 tablespoons Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup diced pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired

GLAZE

  • 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt until well-combined

TOPPING

  • 1/3 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Combine all the dry ingredients in your mixer bowl. Add the soft butter, blending on low speed until you have coarse crumbs.
  2. Add the oil, milk, egg, and vanilla, beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes; scrape the bowl down again. Cover the dough and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until visibly puffy.
  3. When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly greased piece of parchment paper (or waxed paper) and press it gently into an 8″ x 16″ rectangle.
  4. To make the chocolate filling: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, espresso powder, and cocoa. Stir in the melted butter. The mixture will look grainy and slick; that’s OK.
  5. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ to 1″ border of filling-free dough around the edges. Scatter the chips and nuts atop the filling. If desired, process the chips in a food processor first, to create smaller bits of chocolate and a less chunky filling.
  6. You may choose two ways to shape the babka. Either way, use the greased parchment (or waxed paper) to help you; don’t try to shape the dough by removing it from the paper. The easiest way to shape is to start with a short end, and simply roll the filled dough into a log, as though you were making cinnamon swirl bread. The dough should release from the paper as you roll. Alternatively (and if you’re feeling a bit more adventuresome!), start with a long edge of dough, roll the dough forward into a log, then cut the log in half crosswise.
  7. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. If desired, line the pan with a parchment paper sling, which will help you remove the loaf once it’s baked. Gently place the dough log into the lined pan. If you’ve rolled the long way and cut the log in half, snuggle both halves, side by side, into the pan. This will give you a somewhat more intricate swirl.
  8. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it’s puffy and risen about 1″ over the rim of the pan, about 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325°F.
  9. To make the topping: Combine all of the ingredients to form coarse crumbs. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg glaze, then sprinkle with the topping.
  10. Bake the bread for 40 minutes. Tent lightly with foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 35 minutes (for a total of 60 to 75 minutes); it should be nicely browned, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center should read 205°F to 210°F.
  11. Remove the bread from the oven, and if you haven’t used a parchment sling, immediately loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.
  12. Store the babka for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, well wrapped; freeze for longer storage. For best texture, reheat individual slices briefly before serving; the toaster works fine for this.