Chocolate Babka is made of a rich, buttery brioche dough and a gooey Nutella filling,with a crunchy topping.
I came to know of the existence of Babka a while ago, while i was browsing online and i saw this wonderful braid, with chocolate on the surface and a sinuous geometry to enchant immediately. Enough, I said to myself, I want to make Babka too!
This recipe has ancient origins, is part of the Polish tradition and never fails on the Easter menu and other holidays. It soon spread to Europe, giving way to numerous variations and becoming the ideal leavened product to be presented on a special occasion between family and friends.
Some like babka because of the dough, while for others, it’s all about the filling. The secret for having plenty of filling in every single bite is to roll the dough very thin, resulting in more layers of filling with less dough between. This recipe has the perfect ratio in my opinion, but if you don’t like sweet babka and prefer one with more dough, just reduce the amount of filling.
It’s possible to leave the dough at room temperature for the first rise, it’s recommended to place it in the fridge for at least 6 hours so that it sets properly and is easy to work with. However, if you don’t have the time, you can place it on the counter, the rise will be slow.
The sugar syrup is optional, though I like to add it because not only does it make the Babka shiny and beautiful but it also keeps the babka fresh for longer.
RECIPE’S TIPS AND NOTES
- it’s recommended to place the dough in the fridge for at least 8 hours so it sets properly and is easy to work with for the first rise. Mine rolled out so smoothly and beautifully after refrigeration!
- Sometimes, to make things simple, I will use a chocolate spread such as Nutella instead of making the filling myself. You can do the same if you prefer.
- Instead of water, you can use milk or a combination of water and milk.
- If the chocolate filling becomes firm, warm it up a bit in the microwave or over low heat. Don’t use it hot, though, since it can warm the dough and cause it to melt.
For The Dough
- 280 g all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 90 g unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- 100 ml milk, warmed
For The Filling
- 50 g Nutella
- 100 g Hazelnuts, chopped
For The Sugar Syrup
- 100 ml water
- 1 tbsp honey
- 50 g granulated sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the yeast with milk and sugar and 40g of the flour. Let rest until small bubbles appear and break the surface, about 10 to 15 minutes. With the mixer fitted with the dough hook, on low speed, mix in the butter and then the egg and salt. Gradually add the flour until it’s incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and refrigerate the dough for 6 hours, or overnight.
- Butter a loaf pan and line the bottom and up the sides with a piece of parchment paper overhanging the two long sides, which will help you remove the baked Babka later.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a rectangle . Spread the Using an offset spatula, spread half of the Nutella spread over the rectangle, leaving a ½-inch/1cm border all around. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top. over the surface of the rectangle all the way to the edges. Starting at one of the long ends of the rectangle, roll up the dough tightly so you have a log. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough completely in half lengthwise. With the cut sides facing up, overlap the end of one cut half over the other, then take the other cut half and fold it over the other, making sure the cut sides are always facing up. Continue making a rope-like formation overlapping and twisting the two halves of the dough together until the dough into one big twist. Lift the twisted loaf and squidge it into the prepared loaf pan by pushing in on the two ends.. Put the loaf pan in a very warm place, and let rise for about two hours, until it’s puffy and almost doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, make the syrup by bringing the water, sugar, and honey to a boil in a small saucepan. Let boil for 4 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface with a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Bake the Babka on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre , comes out clean of dough.
- Remove the Babka from the oven and spoon or brush the room temperature syrup over the Babka and let cool completely before lifting the Babka out. Do not try to remove it or slice it while it’s warm, or it will break. Serve the Babka sliced.