Easy to make Chocolate Babka is a buttery and melt in your mouth tender bread swirled with rich chocolate. A wonderful addition to your Sunday brunch and perfect for a sweet treat any time of day.
If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you may already know about the wonderful world of Babka which consists of cinnamon and chocolate…..and really nothing more. Sometime you can get a plain Babka but why….why would you do something like that. Why would you NOT want a buttery loaf of bread swirled with sweet chocolate melted into the dough like a match made in bakery heaven.
Babka is an Easter tradition in my large Polish family. Somehow we end up with about 5 loaves of it on the dessert table…along with trays of bread pudding, pies, cakes and mountains of homemade candy. The Babka is always the last to be touched…which leaves me with mixed emotions because 1) Babka is totally underrated as a dessert and 2) Leftovers make excellent snacking after the holiday is over. I love it lightly toasted and slathered with butter, the melted chocolate just slightly smears around with the butter. It’s lovely. You should try it sometime.
This Chocolate Babka is surprisingly easy to make. It’s a little time consuming in that you do have to wait for the dough to rise twice but it’s pretty hands off. You can go watch reruns of Seinfeld or fold laundry or run to the store. It’s very low maintenance and there’s something therapeutic (to me, anyway) about making breads with yeast dough…like this white bread or even my easy pizza dough. The whole act of mixing the dough and watching it rise, then punching it down and turning into something stunning like a swirled chocolate brioche like loaf…..it’s like running a marathon but you’re not tired or hungry or sore. And at the end of the day…you have this beautiful loaf of Chocolate Babka just begging to be devoured. It’s a good thing. For more recipe ideas, become a fan on Facebook!
- For dough
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
- 2 whole large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons salted butter cut into pieces and softened
- For egg wash
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- For chocolate filling
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but not melted
- 1 cup finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- Whisk together the milk and 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl of stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
- Add 1/2 cup of flour to yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until combined. Add the whole eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium, then add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough becomes stringy and stretchy. (The dough will be sticky)
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free place at room temperature until doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.
- Coat two loaf pans with cooking spray.
- Punch down dough and then divide the dough in half. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 18- by 10-inch rectangle. Turn so the long side is nearest you.
- Whisk together yolk and milk. Spread half the softened butter on dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Brush some of the egg wash on the long end nearest you.
- Sprinkle half of the chocolate evenly over the buttered dough, then sprinkle with half of the granulated sugar . Starting with the long side farthest from you, roll dough into a snug log, pinching firmly along egg-washed seam to seal. Bring the ends of log together to form a ring, pinching to seal. Twist the entire ring twice to form a double figure 8 and fit into one of the loaf pans.
- Make another babka with remaining dough. Chill remaining egg wash, to use later. Let babkas rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of pans, 1 to 2 hours. Or let the dough rise in pans in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours. Be sure to bring the dough to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.
- Place oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brush the tops of dough with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake until the tops are deep golden brown, approximately 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack and cool to room temperature.