We take on the traditional Chocolate Babka, brushed with Simple Syrup for sweet shine. When your nostalgic heart calls for babka, this is the recipe to turn to.
Makes 1 (8½×4½-inch) loaf
- 2½ cups (313 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) kosher salt
- ¼ cup (60 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water, divided
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (60 grams) whole milk
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature and divided
- Chocolate Filling (recipe follows)
- ½ cup (50 grams) finely chopped 66% cacao dark chocolate
- Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 1 cup (125 grams) flour, sugar, yeast, and salt by hand.
- In a small saucepan, heat ¼ cup (60 grams) water, butter, milk, and vanilla over medium-low heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm butter mixture to flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, beat at medium-low speed until combined. Add 1 egg (50 grams), and beat until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining 2 tablespoons (16 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a very lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Turn out dough onto a very lightly floured surface, and gently press into an 8×6-inch rectangle. Loosely wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Spray an 8½×4½-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13×10-inch rectangle (about ¼ inch thick). Using a small offset spatula, spread Chocolate Filling on dough, leaving a ½-inch border on both short sides and one long side. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate. Starting with long side opposite border, roll up dough, jelly roll style, and pinch seam to seal. Gently lift log at each end, and stretch to 14 inches long. Place seam side down, making sure seam is off to one side instead of in center. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut in half lengthwise. Turn halves cut side up, and place in an “X.” Twist top half of “X” two times; pinch ends, and tuck under. Repeat with bottom half of “X.” Using your hands. place in prepared pan, making sure to keep cut sides up and ends tucked. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (See Note.) Test dough for fermentation using the finger dent test.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 egg (50 grams) and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash on top of dough.
- Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 45 to 50 minutes, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Brush with Simple Syrup. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Note: Final rise time will depend on how long dough is chilled. The longer the dough is chilled, the longer it will take to rise.
Makes ½ cup
- ⅓ cup (64 grams) chopped 66% cacao dark chocolate
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (30 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons (15 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- In the top of a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and combined. Remove from heat. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth. Let cool to room temperature before using.
Makes 1½ tablespoons
- 1½ tablespoons (18 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together sugar and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Heat on high in 15-second intervals, stirring between each, until sugar is completely melted. Let cool to room temperature before using.