Chocolate and cinnamon Babka
Babka is one of the most iconic Jewish sweets which is a cross between a bread and a cake. According to culinary historians, the Babka was developed in the 19th century in Eastern Europe. Many historians credit Polish cooks with the creation. Babka in the last years has become very trendy with creative fillings from sweet potatoes to goat cheese. The most common fillings are chocolate, cinnamon -sugar or apple raisin. Whatever the filling choice this bread-cake is delicious. It is however a bit of work and time as the dough needs to rise twice and is left overnight in the refrigerator to develop flavour. Although it may take some time to make the results are differently worth it. We were inspired by a recipe we found on New York Times Cooking by Melissa Clark.
Makes 2 loaves
100 ml whole milk
7 g active dry yeast
70 g of sugar
530 grams all-purpose flour, more as needed
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
150 grams butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
Butter for greasing bowl and pans
CHOCOLATE FILLING: For 2 loaves
100 g brown sugar
200 ml heavy cream
50 g ground hazelnuts
Pinch of salt
190 g of dark chocolate around 70 finely chopped
125 g room temperature butter cut into cubes
CINNAMON FILLING: For 2 loaves
200 g brown sugar
30 g flour
3 tablespoons of cinnamon
30 g melted butter
pinch of salt
1 egg white
CHOCOLATE STREUSEL: for 2 loaves
60 g flour
45 g brown sugar
15 g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
65 g melted butter
60 g of semisweet chocolate cut into small chunks
50 g finely chopped hazelnuts
CINNAMON STREUSEL: For 2 loaves
30 g flour
50 g brown sugar
30 g melted butter
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
In a small bowl add lukewarm milk, yeast and a teaspoon of the sugar and let sit until foamy around 5-10 minutes.
In the bowl of a standard mixer using the dough hook, add flour, sugar, salt and yeast mixture. Beat until combined before adding eggs. Mix until the dough comes together. If the dough is too sticky and is sticking to the sides of the bowl add more flour one spoonful at a time.
Once the dough has come together on medium-low speed and the butter a little at a time making sure the butter is incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter has been incorporated turn the speed up to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and stretchy, around 10 minutes, if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl add additional flour 1 spoonful at a time.
In a medium bowl, lightly grease with butter. Form a ball with the dough and place it in the bowl rolling the dough around so all sides are buttered. Cover with a clean towel and leave it in a warm draft free place to rise until nearly double. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen it can take between 1 to 2 hours.
Once the dough has nearly doubled, turn the dough out on a clean surface and knock the air out. Return to the bowl and cover with film and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, take the dough out and as it comes to room temperature make the filling. For the chocolate filling add sugar, salt and cream to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved stirring occasionally Poor the mixture into a bowl and stir in butter, chocolate and ground hazelnuts. Stir until butter and chocolate is melted and all is combined. Cover and set aside, it needs to cool to room temperature before using.
To prepare the cinnamon filling add all the ingredients to a bowl and combine. Cover and set aside.
To prepare the streusel the chocolate streusel add flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder to a bowl, stir together. Add the melted butter and stir until large crumbs form. Add in chocolate piece and chopped hazelnuts. Cover and set aside.
For the cinnamon streusel combine all the ingredient in a bowl until crumbly, Cover and set aside.
Prepare tow loaf pans lightly greasing with butter and line Butter two 9-inch loaf with parchment paper leaving paper hanging over on the sides to aid in taking the bread out later.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface and divide in half. Roll the first piece into a rectangle of around 9-by-17-inch. Using a spatula spread half the filling of your choice over the top, no need to leave a border. Roll the dough into a tight coil starting with a long side. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a bowl or foil and place in the freezer for 5 -10 minute. Repeat with the second piece of dough . Cooling the dough down will firm up the filling and makes it easier for it to cut the dough.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise exposing the filling. Tightly twist the cut halves together like a bread and pinch the ends together, then fold the braid in half. Place into one of the prepared pans. If it is too long let it curl around itself . Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a draft free warm place until nearly doubled, around 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Once risen, preheat the oven to 175 c. Using your fingers clump the streusel and crumble on the top of the dough. Bake until dough reaches 90 c, around 45 minutes.
Once they come out of the oven a simple syrup can be added to the bread. We choose not to add the simple syrup as we do not like it so sweet. If you choose to make a simple syrup add equal parts water and sugar, around 140 g, and heat up until the sugar dissolves. Once the bread is out if the oven, using a skewer pierce holes all around the bread. Poor the syrup and let cool .