This recipe for chocolate babka is rich, buttery, moist, and loaded with chocolate. Made with rich brioche dough and melted chocolate. Then, brushed with simple syrup to keep it moist. The recipe is simple and easy to make with easy-to-find ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with hook attachment, combine warm milk (110F), yeast, sugar, and eggs. Followed by the flour. Pro tip - Use a whisk to ensure everything is well combined. Especially, if you are using fresh baker's yeast like me.
Knead - By hand - start in a bowl then transfer to a well-dusted worktop and knead for 5 to 6 minutes.- Stand mixer - once all the flour is well incorporated, knead on medium for 4 to 5 minutes.
Next, add the soft room temperature butter, one cube at a time. Once all the butter is in, knead for 3 minutes more.Pro tip - A brioche dough is soft, elastic, smooth, and still slightly sticky. So do not be tempted to add extra flour.
Rise Room temperature - Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour. It will rise slightly but not too much. Punch the dough down and shape it into a ball again.Fridge - Cover and rest in the fridge for 6 to 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Room temperature - Thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours before.Pro tip - A brioche is an enriched dough with lots of butter, sugar, and eggs, it does take longer for the yeast to mature. So overnight in the fridge does add tons of flavor.
In a microwave-safe bowl or double-boiler, melt the chocolate, butter, and cream. Then, add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Combine until smooth. Pro tip - The combination of powdered sugar and cocoa powder with chocolate prevents the chocolate from burning in the bread.
Rolling and shaping
Place into a greased 13 x 4-inch loaf pan.Pro tip - A babka is traditionally baked in a tall loaf pan. But you can also use an 8-inch round pan to make a round babka.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Roll the dough to about ⅛ inch thick. About 16 x 12-inches or 40 x 30 cms long. Pro tip - I am using a 13-inch loaf pan hence the 12-inch wide dough.
Using an off-set spatula, spread the chocolate mixture onto the surface of the dough making sure to get the edges too.
Starting from the short side, roll like a roulade or jelly roll. Pinch the seams to prevent opening. Pro tip - You can place the roll in the fridge for just 10 minutes. This helps the chocolate set and makes less mess when cutting and twisting.
Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut the roll in the middle dividing it into two lengthways. Turn the cut side facing upwards. Twist the two parts onto each other as shown in the video.Pro tip - Starting from the middle twist one end then twist the other end.
Pick the twisted dough up carefully and place it into the prepared loaf pan making sure the twisted part is up and seams are under.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for about 60 to 90 minutes.Pro tip - You can even place the dough in the fridge for 6 to 9 hours (or overnight). Thaw an hour before baking. Perfect for weekend or festive breakfast.
While the bread is proofing (or baking), combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven at 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5.
Beat an egg with 2 tablespoon of water and brush the proofed babka. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
Remove from the oven and brush with sugar syrup. Then, continue baking for another 10 minutes more. About 30 to 40 minutes of total baking time. Pro tip - The sugar syrup helps keep the babka moist long after it has been baked.
Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then, invert onto a cooling rack or platter to cool further. Pro tip - Once the chocolate cools, it might be difficult to get it out of the pan. So it is best to do that when the chocolate is still warm.
Babka uses an enriched yeast dough, which can be made quickly. And yet, if you want to enhance the flavor of yeast doughs, let it rise overnight in the fridge rather than on the countertop. The cool slow rise really adds a nice depth of flavor just like you get in a bakery.
Babka is traditionally made in a loaf pan, but, don't be afraid to try something new - like I have used a round baking pan.
Keep all your equipment on hand before you spread the chocolate. This keeps the mess to a minimum.
To make cutting and twisting easier, chill the rolled dough for 15 minutes after you spread the chocolate. The butter in the dough will chill and make it easier to divide and twist.
This is an enriched dough, so if you find that the top is getting too dark before it fully baked, tent it loosely with a foil.
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you