Chocolate Babka Loaf

chocolate babka bread recipe
Yields: 12 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 4 Hr Cook Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 4 Hr 35 Mins

Chocolate Babka Loaf

This delicious twisted chocolate babka bread is filled with a rich chocolate filling and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Because this is an enriched dough, it takes a bit longer for the initial rise (about 2 hours). Adapted from The Perfect Loaf and The Great British Bake-Off. This recipe uses rapid-rise yeast which doesn’t need to be bloomed in advance. If your yeast needs to be bloomed, mix it with the milk and let it sit for 10 minutes until foamy.

Ingredients

0/14 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the Filling
  • For the Dough
  • To finish

Instructions

0/17 Instructions
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, whole milk, large eggs, salt, and half of the sugar. Set the mixer to low and mix until everything is incorporated. Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • After the 10 minute rest, turn the mixer up to medium and mix for 5 minutes until the dough starts to pull from the sides of the mixing bowl. At this point, slowly stream in the remaining sugar while the mixer is running. Mix for another 1-2 minutes until the dough comes back together.
  • With the mixer still set to medium, add the room temperature butter, one pat at a time, waiting to add the next until the previous is absorbed into the dough. It might take around 5 minutes to mix all the butter into the dough. After all of the butter is added, continue mixing for another few minutes until the dough smooths out and once again begins to cling to the dough hook.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Cover and let rise somewhere warm (ideally 24-25 C) until doubled in size, about 2 hours. You can rise the dough in the oven with the light on if it is cold in your house.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Place the hazelnuts into a baking tray and roast in the bottom of the oven for 4–5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly golden. Tip them onto a chopping board, leave to cool, then roughly chop half the hazelnuts and finely chop the remainder. Set aside.
  • Place the butter, sugar, and chocolate in a pan and melt very slowly over low heat, stirring until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool and thicken slightly.
  • Once the dough has doubled, place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour before rolling out (you can skip this step, but it does make it easier to roll).
  • Place dough on a floured counter and flour the top of the dough as well. Roll to an approximate 10 x 12 inch/25 x 20 cm rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough leaving about 1″ clean on the short side farthest from you. Starting at the side closest to you, roll up the dough into a tight cylinder. It’s important for the dough to be rolled up rather tight, so pull the dough at each revolution of the cylinder. Place the rolled dough log on a baking sheet and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting.
  • Prepare your baking pan by inserting a piece of parchment so two “handles” stick up at the long sides of the pan. The parchment will drape down one long side, over the bottom, and up the other side. Once it fits, take it out and place it on the counter next to your pan.
  • After the 15-minute freezer rest, take the baking sheet out of the freezer and return the dough log to the counter. Using a sharp knife, cut the log to split open the log from one side to the other. Pinch the two top halves together and braid the dough one strand over the other. At the bottom, pinch the two halves together again.
  • After the dough is braided, pick up the braid and place it on the parchment right in the middle, then pick up the sides of the parchment and lift the dough up and drop it into the pan.
  • Cover and let rise until the dough fills the pan, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/180 C.
  • When the oven is preheated and the babka dough is fully proofed, place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to catch any sugar spilling over). In a small bowl, whisk together one whole egg and 1 Tbsp water and brush a thin layer of the egg wash on the top of the dough. Then, slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until the center of the babka reaches 200°F (93°C). Keep an eye on the babka in the last 10 minutes of the bake, if it’s coloring too quickly, loosely cover the top of the loaf with some aluminum foil.
  • While the babka is baking, make the simple syrup. In a small saucepan granulated sugar with water. Heat until the mixture bubbles a bit and stir occasionally until the sugar fully dissolves in the water. Transfer this simple syrup to a container to cool. If covered, it will keep indefinitely in the fridge
  • When the babka is fully baked, remove the pan to a cooling rack. Using a plastic spatula, free the short sides of the babka (the sides without parchment) from the sides and bottom of the pan by pressing the spatula down from top to bottom. Using a pastry brush, brush on a thin layer of the simple syrup. The amount you put on is up to you: the more you add the sweeter the crust will become. Let the babka rest for 10 minutes in the pan. Do not let the babka rest for longer than 10 minutes or it’ll be hard to remove from the pan.
  • After the rest, lift the babka out of the pan using the parchment paper sticking up as a set of handles. You might have to use a spatula and pry it out a bit, but be gentle. Remove from the parchment paper and let it rest on a wire rack until cool to the touch. It’s even better if it sits for an hour or so to let the crust fully harden. (Don't forget to remove the parchment or the hardened sugar will make it hard to remove later!)

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