Chocolate Babka

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 preset Processed with VSCO with s3 presetIngredients (From Smitten Kitchen)

Dough

  • 4 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 small lemon’s zest
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • greasing oil

Filling

  • 4 1/2 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup coca powder
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon (if you’re into that)

Syrup

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 tbsp sugar

This was not the simplest of recipes… but it was the tastiest. I’ve never eaten Babka before, but from every food blog imaginable-  this was the classic dessert dish. And it was a twisted bread! How could I not want to make it!? Problems arose almost immediately, given that I don’t have a food processor, but I got to knead by hand, and even though my wrists are still in pain – it made the whole process so much more personal. I would say the taste made up for all of the effort I went through for the bread though, truly. The uncertainty regarding the amount of filling and the serious concern over whether the dough would be strong enough to hold all of that chocolate – yeah, it was worth it. Take your time if you’re planning on making this, and bring an audience that has a craving for chocolate – they’ll need it.

  1. Mix together flour, sugar, yeast, and zest – add eggs and 1/2 cup water – and mix until together. If you don’t have a food processor… as I do not, you will find a fork and any implementation devices insufficient, but you do get to knead with your hands (so plus!)
  2. Add in the butter, and salt until the dough is… well, just about completely smooth
  3. If the dough isn’t doing what dough does (i.e. pull away) – add a little water at a time until it reaches a good consistency
  4. Then coat it in oil, wrap it in plastic wrap and toss it in the fridge for half a day to double (apparently overnight is even better, though I cannot attest to this)
  5. Time to make some filling!
  6. Melt butter and chocolate together (Yum) until smooth – add in the powdered sugar and cocoa, a little at a time until the mixture begins to have a thicker consistency – add the cinnamon if you’d like at this point (or really any other spices or fun ideas you have)
  7. You’re back to dough again, rejoice! It’s been magically half a day or overnight if you’re ambitious.
  8. Take out the dough from the fridge and cut it in half, placing one half on a well-floured counter – roll it out! The other half can stay a bit longer in the fridge… The rolling out should be length wise, because you’re rolling this baby into a tortilla-like shape. Think around a ruler length.
  9. When you’re ready, wet one end of the dough, and begin to spread your chocolate filling over the dough (leaving 1/2 inch border) – then – roll it up and place it in the freezer for a bit of time – time to do it with the other half 🙂
  10. Take the logs out of the freezer, and cut them in half lengthwise-trim the ends off, pinch the tops together, and braid them like it’s summer camp season and you want to make some friendship bracelets!
  11. Prepare some bread pans, and place the braids in each – making sure the insides are either oiled or that you used some serious parchment paper.
  12. Heat your oven to 375 and leave it to preheat for 10 minutes… maybe your dough will rise more? (Why not?) Then put the cakes in for 30 minutes – though mine did admittedly take 25 minutes. Especially with a foil tent on those bread loaves – none of that nasty browning will happen – and the magic begins!
  13. Drizzle the syrup all over the cakes – it can only get better with the more sugar you add!And my personal recommendation – eat it while it’s hot… better yet – melt some chocolate sauce and pour MORE over your piece. Chocolate makes the world go round.

So? Was it everything you thought it would be? Thirteen levels of instruction and a full half-day of waiting for dough to rise certainly gets expectations high. Those expectations are met though, for good reason- because this bread is seriously delicious. The dough rises, despite all of my doubts, and even the bread that I added too-little filling too, it was delicious. Thank sugar glaze, people. There isn’t anything you can pour sugar over and not expect it to have delicious texture and sweet goodness.

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