Introduction: Triple Chocolate Babka
In this instructable I'm going to show you how to make babka filled with three kinds of chocolate: dark, milk, and white. Babka is a sweet bread with swirls of various fillings. It's a Jewish bread originally from Poland that has spread all over the world and has developed a couple variations. This is going to be the American version which uses a thicker fluffier dough while other versions usually use laminated dough which is folded over and over again with butter until it consists of many separate layers. Chocolate filling is also an American addition, as traditional babka is filled with fruit jams or cinnamon (info from Wikipedia).
This is probably not a very authentic babka recipe but it is definitely delicious. This version is a basic sweet bread filled with swirls of chocolate. I should probably also warn you that this bread is not the most healthy of foods and it's near impossible to only eat one slice without coming back for more.
- A regular sized loaf pan
- Parchment paper
- A sharp knife
- Kitchen scale for weighing chocolate and butter (Optional if your really good at guesstimates)
- Instant read thermometer (Optional if your better than me at knowing when a bread is fully baked)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1/8 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 oz. Dark chocolate
- 2 oz. Milk chocolate
- 2 oz. White chocolate
- 6 oz. Butter (2 oz. per chocolate)
- ~1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar (~1/2 cup per chocolate)
- 1/8 cup Cocoa Powder (Optional: I added some to the milk chocolate mixture because I thought it could be a little bit more chocolatey. Depending on the brand of chocolate you use, yours may or may not need it)
Step 1: Make the Dough
Put the sugar, yeast, and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer or a regular medium sized bowl. Let this mixture sit for about ten minutes until it's nice and poofy. While the yeast is doing its thing, in a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, egg, and vanilla. Then sift the flour and salt into a third bowl.
Once the yeast is ready, pour the mixed wet ingredients into the yeast and whisk it good. Now add about half the flour mixture and mix with either the paddle attachment on a stand mixer or with a wooden spoon until it's mostly combined then add the other half. Knead the dough either in the mixer with a dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured surface for a couple minutes until it forms a nice sticky ball. You should end up with a soft dough that's a little sticky. if it's too sticky or looks too wet you can add a little bit more flour. Just keep in mind that the dough should be moist and a little sticky, be careful not to add too much flour that it becomes too dry. (if you do just add a little water)
Put the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over to lightly cover with grease then cover it with a towel and place it somewhere warm to rise for about an hour.
Step 2: Chocolate!
Now it's time for chocolate.
Chop each chocolate into small pieces and put in separate microwave safe bowls. Next, chop the butter into small cubes and put two ounces in each bowl of chocolate. Now, microwave each bowl of chocolate one at a time. Don't go longer than fifteen seconds at a time before removing the bowl and stirring (be careful because the bowls will probably be hot). About 90% of the time when I try to melt white chocolate it just seizes and gets really thick. Somehow that didn't happen this time but if it happens to you don't worry about, it just means you won't have to thicken it with powdered sugar later.
Once all the chocolate butter mixtures are melted, beat in about a half cup powdered sugar into each chocolate mixture. (I also added an extra 1/8 cup of cocoa to the milk chocolate mixture to make it more chocolatey) They should become a kinda thick, smooth paste. You can add more powdered sugar if they need it because they need to be thick enough to hold their shape and not ooze out while your working with the dough. They should have a frosting like consistency.
(Warning: This melted chocolate, butter, and powdered sugar mixture tastes just as good as it sounds and if you're not careful you might not have any left for the bread by the time the dough is done rising)
Step 3: Chocolate Stripes
Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper and lightly spraying it with cooking spray. I found the best way to do this is to cut two separate pieces of parchment paper, and lay one lengthwise and the other one widthwise in the pan.
Once the dough is finished rising, turn it out on to a floured surface and knead it a little bit. Then using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle a little bit longer than your loaf pan and about 12 or so inches wide. Now take the chocolate (if you have any left) and make a stripe of each kind lengthwise on the dough leaving a little room on one side to seal. If the chocolate has started to harden, just give it a quick zap in the microwave for a few seconds.
Step 4: Forming the Loaf
Once the chocolate stripes are made, roll the dough like you would for cinnamon rolls and make a log, pinching the seam to seal. Now, using a very sharp knife slice the log in half lengthwise. Then pinch the two halves together at one end and twist them like a rope and pinch them together at the other end. Carefully pick up your master piece (a third hand tends to be handy here ;P) and place it in the prepared loaf pan. Cover the pan and place it somewhere warm to rise for another hour.
Forming the loaf is usually very messy but it will look much better after it cooks and remember no matter how it looks it's still going to be delicious when it comes out of the oven.
(Sorry about the blurry pictures for this step. My hands were sticky with chocolate)
Step 5: Bake It!
Set your oven to 350F
Once its done heating, use foil to make a nice little tent for your babka leaving enough room in case it rises a lot. Put the babka in the oven for about 25 minutes and then remove the foil and bake another 11-12 minutes. I find it best to use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness in my breads. It should read around 190F in the middle when this bread is done. If its taking bit longer to reach that temperature and the top is browning too fast, put the foil tent back on top until its done. After the babka is out of the oven, let it cool for about 15-20 minutes then remove it from the pan and let it cool the rest of the way.
Step 6: Slice and Eat
Once cooled, (if you can wait that long) just slice and eat as is. This bread is a bit time consuming and sometimes messy but its definitely worth making if you love chocolate and have some time on your hands.
I hope you liked this recipe/instructable. If you have any questions ask away in the comments below.
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