Chocolate Babka Recipe

Most babka recipes, I’ve noticed, are not only complicated they make enough for 2-4 loaves. This one, thanks to he addition if instant yeast, is quite simple. It makes a single loaf but can be scaled up to your heart’s content (remember, baking recipes — especially yeast-based recipes — can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, quintupled, whatever) with no ill effects).

For the Dough

9.5 ounces (1 3/4 cups) bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup) whole milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle, combine all the dry ingredients and stir on low speed to combine. Meanwhile combine the wet ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk them together. With the machine running on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry. When everything is moistened switch to the dough hook and turn the machine up to medium. Knead until a dough comes together, then add the butter and continue kneading until it’s incorporated and the dough is smooth and sticky, about 5 minutes. Remove the dough to a lightly greased bowl and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours until it has about doubled in size.

For the Filling

1 egg, beaten thoroughly in a small bowl
about 1 ounce (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
about 2.5 ounces (1/3 cup) sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
cinnamon

For the Topping

1/2 recipe streusel (Variation 2, scroll all the way down!)

Shaping and Baking

When the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a square, about 1/8 inch in thickness. Paint egg wash on three of the edges. Sift on the cocoa powder and sprinkle sugar over all of it save for a roughly 1-inch strip along the egg-painted sides. Sprinkle the chocolate over then dust the whole thing lightly with cinnamon.

Roll the dough sheet up starting from the edge that has no egg wash. Give it a half dozen twists, then fold the roll in half. Give it two or three twists and lay it gently into a well-greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Paint it with egg wash and let it rise in a warm place until the dough comes up to the lip of the loaf pan, about another hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Paint it once again with egg wash and sprinkle it all over with streusel. Bake 35-40 until it’s nut brown and springs back when tapped. remove the pan from the oven, loosen it all around and allow it to cool for an hour before unmolding it and cooling it the rest of the way.

For a delicious-looking chock-full-o-nuts version, check out jenreviews.com.

18 thoughts on “Chocolate Babka Recipe”

  1. This sounds delicious! I’m glad it just uses a normal loaf pan. I can try this one (but will wait for your awesome pictures first).
    Yum!
    Eva

  2. Maybe it’s a regional thing, or maybe I’m missing a clue here, but are Babka’s and Rugelach the same thing?

    1. Hey Kirsten!

      It may be a regional thing, but in my experience rugelach are small, cookie-like rolls (usually made with a cream cheese dough) and babkas are large sweet breads. Are they more similar in your neck of the woods?

      – Joe

  3. I’ve noticed a bit of disagreement between recipes regarding the ideal filling-to-bread ratio. Some claim that the bread exists solely to give the barest structural support to the chocolate, while others have a ratio more like that found in a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread. I’m looking forward to your photos!

    I’ve heard of some babkas being soaked with sugar syrup to make the crust all crunchy, and to make the loaf stay fresh longer. Is that just gilding the lily, or is it something worth trying out?

    Thanks! And I hope your little one is feeling better!

    1. Hey Elizabeth!

      Little Joan Pastry is doing much better today, thank you very much! On the filling front, I’m a firm believer in not pushing a goos thing too far. I too have seen babkas that are mostly chocolate. That’s too much for me. I hope to make one that’s indulgent but not over the top. Regarding sugar syrup, that’s an interesting idea. I don’t think I’d go as far as “soaking”, but painting some on might be interesting. I’ll mull that over. Thanks, Elizabeth!

      – Joe

  4. Looking forward to trying your recipe out. I’ve been meaning to try a baking a babka since I enjoy getting them whenever I come across them at Jewish delis.

    1. Trying to get some made today, Robert. I hope to show you soon!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

  5. Made the Babka today, added toasted pecans. Did t have lemons, so used orange zest. Totally fantastic. I can’t believe I haven made this before!!!
    Thanks is so much for the recipe….BTW, it was beautiful as well as delicious.

    1. Great news, Carla!

      I finished off the last slice this morning and it was a perfect swirl on the inside. I should have used that slice for another photo but I got too hungry. Pity!

      Cheers and thanks for the report!

      – Joe

  6. I was just putting this dough together and noticed that the flour weight to the cup measure amount is probably off. I used the weighed amount of flour since that seemed to make more sense but just wanted to point that out in case anyone is trying to use the cup measures for flour.

    1. Hey Miche!

      Thanks for checking on this. Looks pretty right-on to me though…

      Flour weighs 5.5 ounces per cup in my universe. One and three quarter cups is 5.5 + 4.1 which equals 9.6. So it’s a hair off, but close enough for pastry. Or did I miss something?

      – Joe

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