I live my life by a few adages. More garlic, everything’s better with bacon, and chocolate is a good addition to almost any dish. To honor the last adage, I made a cinnamon chocolate babka. A babka is a sweet yeast cake from (mainly Jewish) Russia/Poland. The name itself, baba, means “grandmother” and one could see a grandmother making this as a treat for her grandchildren. It can be rolled with raisins, cinnamon, chocolate, and even soaked in rum. The completed bread has pockets of (in this case) cinnamon chocolate-y goodness throughout the cake-like bread.
I was looking for something chocolate-y to make this weekend (partly because it was too freaking cold to do anything else), so I went ahead and tried this recipe out of Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday. It’s not too difficult and has a few spots where you can stop and let things refrigerate until you have more time (i.e,. overnight). It’s an easy dough to work with – it’s quite soft and springy. There are a few different ways to form the finished product. In a loaf pan (as I did), in a bunt type pan, and even as a braided dough. I could even see a way to take and turn this into a monkey-type bread without too much difficulty.
I liked how it came out, but the dough could use some more sugar/sweetening. Next time, I may alter the baking temps as it browned a little too much for my liking. Perhaps playing with the filling will be called for next time as well.
- 19 g instant yeast
- 170 g lukewarm milk
- 85 g sugar
- 7 g vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 425 g unbleached all purpose flour
- 7 g salt
- Whisk the yeast into the milk and set aside
- Add the vanilla to the egg yolks, mix and set aside
- Cream the sugar and butter together until smooth
- Add the yolks and vanilla to the butter and beat until mixture is fluffy (~2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Add the flour and milk, mix on low until incorporated (~2 minutes).
- Knead by hand (it’s a soft dough that’s easy to work with) for 2 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough pliable. The dough should be soft and yellow in color.
- Place dough into a greased container, cover, and let rise at room temp for 2.5 hours – it won’t double in bulk. You can refrigerate it overnight after the rise, if needed.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll to a 15″x15″ square. Be sure to lift the dough from time-to-time to make sure that it’s not sticking to the surface.
- Sprinkle the filling (recipe below) onto the dough, leaving 1/4″ on all sides.
- Roll the dough up and pinch the seams closed.
- Gently twist each end of the dough – be careful to not rip the dough.
- Roll the dough up into a ball (see photo) and place it into a greased 5×9 bread pan. Push down on the dough to make it more a loaf shape.
- Cover and let rise for 2-3 hours at room temp. It should fill out the loaf pan when done and rise an inch or more above the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and assemble to streusel (recipe below) while the oven is heating. Brush the dough with an egg wash and sprinkle the streusel mixture on top before baking.
- Bake for 20 minutes, turn the pan, and bake for another 30-35 minutes. The bread will be a dark golden brown and will sound hollow when thumped.
- Remove from oven and pan. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 90 minutes, but it’s better to let it come to room temp as the chocolate will be completely solid by that time.
- 255 g frozen semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
- 7 g ground cinnamon
- 56.5 g cold unsalted butter
- Put the chocolate in a food processor and pulse until it’s powdered – then add the cinnamon and pulse to mix.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the chocolate. Pulse until the butter is well incorporated.
- 56.5 g cold unsalted butter
- 64 g all purpose flour
- 113 g brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- cinnamon to taste
This post was Yeast Spotted!