Babka=sweet yeast cake


Who doesn’t like a chocolate babka? It’s chocolaty, it’s swirly, it’s delicious. It’s definitely the superior babka, not like cinnamon babka, which is clearly the lesser babka [in the words of Seinfeld]. How can one eat babka without thinking about Seinfeld?

I haven’t had babka in years. Grew up in New York, but have long since moved away. Finding a quality babka outside of the Big Apple is a difficult feat. Next best option, bake one yourself. It’s a rather simple bread to make. In fact, I melted the chocolate in the microwave, no double boiler method required. The dough, 10 minutes of kneading and about an hour to 90 minute rise, and you’re ready to go.

In my opinion, this bread is best when loaded up with chocolate. In my book, the more chocolate filling the better, and the darker the chocolate, double the goodness. So, I slathered the dough with lots of dark chocolate (8 ounces per loaf of 70-80% cacao), in addition to cocoa powder.

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Once you roll up the dough into two long logs, you intertwine them to create one braided loaf (should have snapped a photo of this, but my hands were covered in chocolate and couldn’t get to my camera). Next, pop the babka into a loaf pan, brush with egg wash, top with a liberal amount of crumb topping, place in the oven, and wait patiently…is it done yet? how about now? or now??

When golden brown, take the babka out of the oven and walk away, for at least 20 minutes. I know, how cruel, but babka is best when cooled just a bit, and also much easier to slice. Now that it’s cooled, time to dig in.

Looking forward to a slice with my morning coffee.

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Chocolate Babka

Adapted from Leah’s Famous Chocolate Babka
makes 1 large loaf (8-inch pan)
Yeasted sweet dough (recipe below)
Chocolate filling (recipe below)
Crumb topping (recipe below)
Egg wash (1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon milk)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8-inch loaf pan.

Roll the dough out until about 8 inches wide and 20 inches long (do not flour your work surface). Spread the chocolate filling over the surface of the stretched dough. Lift and roll the dough length wise, so that you have one long roll. Cut the dough into two equal halves. Place the two rolls side by side and intertwine them into one braided loaf.  Place the loaf in the greased pan.

Brush the loaf with egg wash and liberally sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.

Yeasted Sweet Dough

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup (4 ounces) butter
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Let rest and bubble for a while.

Add the milk, sugar, salt, egg, butter, and half of the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon or beat with a hand mixer.

Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, to form a soft dough (not too sticky and not too stiff). Knead the dough by hook or hand until very smooth about 10 minutes.

Grease a large bowl, add the dough and turn to the oiled side up. Cover with a towel until doubled in bulk (about 60 to 90 minutes).

Chocolate Filling

8 ounces dark (70-80% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
2-4 tablespoons sugar, depending on desired sweetness
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all chocolate filling ingredients in a microwavable safe bowl. Microwave for ~ 1 minute and then whisk to combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Crumb Topping

1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour

Mash butter, sugar, and flour with a fork, until small crumbs form.

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