Babka is one of my favourite sweet breads. Its a popular Eastern European staple – and I can’t love them more for creating such deliciously intricate folds of chocolate. Baking bread is in essence a process of good work, care, and patience – the key ingredients to any successful creation. So as spring is upon us, bear your sweetest masterpiece.
*I made my bread without the syrup so its lower sugar, but please add it if you love!
*Adapted from Uri Scheft of Breads Bakery
For the syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
For the dough:
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 packets (10g) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp.
For the chocolate filling:
1 jar of Nutella or chocolate spread
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- If using the sugar syrup to top, you can make this in advance and store in the fridge. Bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the sugar dissolves – about 2 mins. Remove from heat and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Dough: In a small pot, heat 1/4 cup of the milk on low heat until it reaches 120F but no more. Add the milk to a stand-mixer, and add the yeast and 1 Tblsp of sugar. Let stand for about 10mins until the yeast gets frothy and doubles in size.
- Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to the yeast mixture. Fit a dough hook to the standmixer and begin to mix on low. Then add in this order: flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and half of the butter. Mix for about 3-4mins on low and then turn the speed up to medium.
- Slowly add the remaining butter in small chunks until well combined. Knead the dough for another 2mins approx.
- Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until the dough starts to feel flexible (2 mins). Shape dough into a medium square, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8-12hours. The dough will rise in the fridge.
- Babka: Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 10″ x 25″ inch rectangle. Spread chocolate spread or Nutella over the dough and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. (see image)
- Take hold of the longer side (25″) of the dough, and roll tightly along this vertical like a jelly roll. If making regular sized babka, cut into 3 equal parts. (If making mini babka, cut into 6 equal parts.)
- Cut each third (or sixth) in half lengthwise (see image).
- Place dough halves on top of each other like an X and tuck the ends together and under.
- Place the babka in 8″ loaf pan (or mini loaf pans.) Cover with a cloth and allow to rise for an hour (its best you leave it in a warm place).
- Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the loaves for approx. 25mins.
- Drizzle with sugar syrup or enjoy without!
I present: the mini.