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Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka


Babka is a sweet bread of Eastern European or Jewish origin that is made during Easter. Its name means “grandmother” since the folds of dough in the babka are reminiscent of the long skirts grandmothers used to wear. Babka also contains a filling made of fruit and cinnamon. The chocolate was added to the sweet when it made its way across the Atlantic along with the European settlers.

  • Place the flour in a bowl and put it in the freezer for 45 minutes. The flour needs to be cold.
  • Beat the butter in a mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment until it is soft and fluffy. Transfer to a bowl lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until needed. This is done because you want the butter to be fluffy and cold.
  • Clean the mixer’s bowl and dry thoroughly. Add the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar and water. Beat with the hook attachment on high speed for 2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the sugar along with the eggs, yogurt, salt and the flour from the freezer. Beat for 3-4 minutes on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined.
  • Every so often, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Turn up the mixer’s speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. The dough should be soft, wet and sticky but very elastic and should pull back from the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the fluffy, cold butter from the refrigerator (cut into pieces) and beat for 3-5 minutes, until the dough absorbs the butter and starts to form elastic strings. If the butter sticks to the sides of the bowl, scrape down with a spatula.
  • Once the butter is incorporated, transfer dough to a bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours, until it doubles in size.

For the filling

  • In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, cocoa powder, instant coffee, cinnamon and salt.
  • Add the water and mix with a spoon until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set the filling aside until needed.
  • Grease a 25 cm spring form cake pan with a hole in the middle. Set aside.
  • Lightly dust your working surface with flour and place the dough over it. Roll out to a 50x60 cm rectangle.  
  • Position the longer side of the dough directly in front of you.
  • Spread the filling over the dough, making sure to leave a 1 cm border along the longer side that is across from you.
  • Finely chop the couverture and sprinkle the pieces over the filling. Brush the border with some water.
  • Start rolling the dough from the side closest to you, creating a tight roll. Press down on the border so that the dough sticks together properly.
  • Cut the roll into 3 cm slices. You should have 20 slices total.
  • Transfer slices to cake pan, placing them one over the other instead of next to one another so that you can create the “folds” within the babka. Make sure the surface is even and level.
  • Cover pan with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise for 1-2 hours, until it doubles in size.
  • Preheat oven to 180* C (350* F) Fan.
  • Brush the surface of the babka with the egg wash and bake for 45 minutes.
  • When ready, remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
  • Turn out of pan, dust with icing sugar and serve.
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