Updated: Mar 26, 2020
This Eastern European yeast-risen chocolate bread takes time to make, but the results are worth every sugarcoated second, a deep flavored brioche-like cake wrapped around a dark fudge filling, then topped with cocoa streusel crumbs.
The first time I saw a chocolate babka on my instagram feed I knew I had to try and make it myself!
It looked so rich and delicious that I started looking for recipes and ended up finding a great recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. So here’s my interpretation of their famous recipe.
Babka combines one of my two favorite things in a dessert: Bread and Chocolate. Babka is sweet, buttery and fluffy and its flavor is complex thanks to the dark swirls of chocolate and orange peel in the dough.
The process to make babka is not difficult although Babka is a bread that you will have to make ahead of time because it is time consuming. Most of the waiting time is spent on giving the dough time to rise. Remember: Patience is key.
Makes 1 Babka Wreath
Time 90 min prep, 8-12 hours rising, 30 min baking
100 g (½ cup) Granulated Sugar
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
500 g (4 ¼ ) Bread Flour
11 g 2 (2 tsp) Instant yeast
115 g (¾ cup) water
3 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
180 g (1 cup) of unsalted butter at room temperature
120 g (½ cup) unsalted butter
145 g (1 cup) of dark chocolate
30 g (⅓ cup) cocoa powder
60 g (½ cup) confectioners sugar
75 g (⅓ cup) water
140 g (⅔ cup) granulated sugar
In the bowl of your stand mixer rub together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers until all of the sugar is moistened.
Add the flour and yeast to the bowl and start mixing, using the paddle attachment on low speed to combine, about 1 minute.
Add the eggs, water, and salt, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds then increase the speed to medium and mix for another 5 minutes until the dough comes together.
Switch to the dough hook and start adding the butter a few cubes at a time, kneading until each cube is completely incorporated into the dough. Continue kneading on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and shiny. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Let it sit overnight for at least 8 hours.
To make the filling which you can prepare in advance, place the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a double boiler and stir until all the ingredients are melted. Turn off the heat and add the confectioners sugar, stirring until well incorporated. Let it come to room temperature before using. The texture of the filling should be like a soft ganache.
The next morning, take the dough out of the fridge, place it on a pastry mat and divide it in half. Place one half back in the bowl and place it back into the fridge. Roll the other dough half into a 12 by 9 rectangle.
Spread half of the chocolate mix over the whole area of your dough with a spatula, leaving a border of ½ an inch around the edges. Roll the dough into a log, starting from the long side closest to you. Use a bench scraper to help you in the process. Press to seal the ends together, then use both hands to even out the roll. Rest the log on its seam and then cut it in half lengthwise using a bench scraper.
Gently alternate crossing the pieces over each other to create a two-strand braid. Transfer the braid to a pan prepared with a baking mat or parchment paper.
Repeat this process with the second piece of dough and remaining chocolate filling. Transfer the second braid to the pan and shape them into one large circle, braiding the ends together. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
To make the glaze, combine the water and sugar in a small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the sugar is fully dissolved, remove it from the heat and set it aside.
Remove the plastic wrap from the babka and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes, at 375 F.
Take it out of the oven and brush all of the glaze over the babka. To finish sprinkle some confectioners sugar over the top and let it cool completely before serving!
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