- Make the dough: in a large bowl or in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, place flour, sugar and instant yeast, stir. Add milk, eggs, salt and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add butter, one cube at the time, while mixing until incorporated. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in the fridge, overnight.
- Make the filling: In a large heatproof bowl place chopped chocolate, butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (double boiler), melt, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool slightly.
- Grease two 9x4 inch (23x10 cm) loaf pans with oil and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Divide dough in half, while working with one portion, keep the second, covered in the fridge.
- Place the dough onto silicone mat or a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 15x10 inches (38x25 cm). Spread half of the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a ¾ inch (1/2 cm) border all around. Roll up tightly from one of the longer sides into a sausage shape. If at this point the dough is too soft, refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise, so you have two long pieces with the inside exposed. Turn each piece so filling faces upwards. Starting from one end, lift one piece across the other, twisting together but keeping the filling exposed, to make one long twisted braid. Push ends of the twist together to make the length shorter, then squeeze the dough into the prepared loaf pan.
- Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours, puffy. Repeat with the second part of dough.
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
- While babka is baking make the syrup: in a small sauce pan heat sugar and water. Cook until sugar is dissolves.
- Remove the cakes from oven and immediately brush with the syrup. Allow to cool before serving.
What is chocolate babka?
A babka is a sweet braided bread or cake which originated in the eastern European Jewish communities. Babka developed in the early 19th century. Extra challah dough was rolled up with fruit jam or cinnamon and baked as a loaf. Chocolate was not originally used, as it was not generally available; the chocolate babka was likely a mid-20th century American development. Its name may be related to a type of Easter cake popular in Poland and western Ukraine known as baba or the diminutive babka, which means "grandmother" in Polish. Beginning in the 2010s the popularity of babka increased across the United States, especially in New York, where a handful of traditionally Jewish-owned bakeries began to sell their own versions of babka, filled with traditional fillings such as cinnamon, alongside non-traditional fillings such, chocolate, Nutella and apples, as well as savory variations. They became well known for their chocolate babka.
What can we use instead of dark chocolate?
You can fill your chocolate babka with almost every filling that you like; you can use milk chocolate, you can use Nutella (in this case leave the butter, cocoa and sugar out), you also can add cinnamon, crushed nuts or chocolate chips to the filling.
How to store chocolate babka?
Store chocolate babka in an airtight container or a plastic bag, in room temperature for up to 4 days. Heat in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.
Is it mandatory to rise the dough overnight?
Rising the dough overnight helps the dough to get the better texture and more convenient to work with. If you do not have the time and patience you can rise the dough for an hour or two at room temperature or until it doubles in volume.
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