This is truly the best chocolate babka I have ever had! My all time favourite recipe.

This is truly the best chocolate babka I have ever had! My all time favourite recipe.

I have probably said this before, but… THIS IS MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE recipe. Well, one of them at the very least!

I cannot think of anyone who won’t like this (dietary restrictions obviously excluded.)

Time consuming to make. Yes. But I break it down and simplify it to make it as manageable as possible. But trust me when I say it. It will be worth every second that you invest into the preparation.

This babka is phenomenal. If you haven’t had this Jewish staple – you will be blown away. If this is something you grew up eating – you can still give my babka a try as I’m convinced it’s the best babka I have ever had. And I don’t use “The Best” title often!

Yields10 Servings

For the dough:
 8 tbsp butter (1 stick,) room temperature and cut into 8 pieces
 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
 ¼ cup milk, warm around 110°
 2 tbsp sugar
 3 eggs, room temp
 1 tsp salt
 2 cups flour
For the filling:
 7 tbsp butter
  cup sugar
 3 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  cup cocoa powder
 1 tsp cinnamon, heaping
 pinch of salt
 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or 1/3 cup chocolate chips - both work well
 ½ cup additions, optional (such as nuts, cookies, brownie bits, more chocolate chips)
For the syrup:
  cup sugar
  cup water

1

In a bowl of your stand mixer, combine yeast and warmed milk. Add just a teaspoon or so of sugar, just to help with the proofing process. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.

2

Add the rest of the sugar, eggs, flour, salt and knead for a few minutes on low until dough has formed. It will not be smooth at this point. I prefer to do this step for 5 minutes as this is one of your best opportunities to knead the dough well and start gluten development, before all the butter is added that will inhibit that development.

3

On medium speed, begin adding butter one tablespoon at a time, waiting until it's incorporated before adding the next piece. Be sure to once in a while stop your mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is well incorporated. When all the butter is added, continue kneading the dough for about 5-10 minutes until very smooth. The dough will not look very workable at this point. It will seem more like a custard. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap loosely and a damp towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place.

4

After the dough has doubled in size, roughly 90 minutes, transfer it to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and ideally overnight.

5

For the filling:

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and stir in the 3oz chocolate and sugar; allow to sit undisturbed for one minute. Then stir with a spatula until nice thick chocolate sauce is formed. Stir in cocoa, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to cool. It should be almost room temperature but still spreadable before proceeding to the next step.

6

Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle and then roll it out into 18x12" rectangle. Spread the filling across the entire surface, except 1/2" of the long side of the rectangle. Sprinkle 2 ounces of chopped chocolate (or 1/3 cup chocolate chips) and other additions, if using. Roll the dough into a log starting with the long side into 18" log. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes. Without refrigeration the next step will get quite messy.

NOTE: do this step quickly. This dough is very much butter-based so it will start melting and sticking. Have everything ready and work quickly!

Prepare the pan (10x5 loaf pan) by lining it with parchment paper with the sides overhanging, for easier removal later.

7

Slice the log down the middle lengthwise. Prop it so that the sliced sides are facing upwards. Braid it and place into a greased 10x5 loaf pan. Gently press it down to distribute the babka evenly. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and a piece of plastic wrap. Allow to rise until almost doubled in size for about two hours.

Please note, if you left your dough in the fridge longer than 30 minutes in the prior step, your rising time may need to increase (the babka in the pictures was left for 4 hours in the fridge, and I had to let it rise 2.5-3 hours on the counter before baking.)

8

Preheat the oven to 350. When babka finishes rising, bake it in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325, rotate your babka 180 degrees and continue baking another 20 minutes or so until the internal temperature reaches 185-190, closer to 190°F ideally, measured with an instant-read digital thermometer in the middle of the babka. The babka will be golden and sound hollow when tapped.

9

While your babka is baking, make the syrup. Bring water and sugar to a boil and boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir well and allow to cool.

10

When finished baking, drizzle room temperature syrup over babka. Try not to let it go to waste and run down the sides too much - try for it to be absorbed in the middle of the babka. You can even gently prick some holes in the babka with a toothpick prior to pouring the syrup, so that it absorbs better. Allow to cool completely before removing from the loaf pan and slicing.

Ingredients

For the dough:
 8 tbsp butter (1 stick,) room temperature and cut into 8 pieces
 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
 ¼ cup milk, warm around 110°
 2 tbsp sugar
 3 eggs, room temp
 1 tsp salt
 2 cups flour
For the filling:
 7 tbsp butter
  cup sugar
 3 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  cup cocoa powder
 1 tsp cinnamon, heaping
 pinch of salt
 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or 1/3 cup chocolate chips - both work well
 ½ cup additions, optional (such as nuts, cookies, brownie bits, more chocolate chips)
For the syrup:
  cup sugar
  cup water

Directions

1

In a bowl of your stand mixer, combine yeast and warmed milk. Add just a teaspoon or so of sugar, just to help with the proofing process. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.

2

Add the rest of the sugar, eggs, flour, salt and knead for a few minutes on low until dough has formed. It will not be smooth at this point. I prefer to do this step for 5 minutes as this is one of your best opportunities to knead the dough well and start gluten development, before all the butter is added that will inhibit that development.

3

On medium speed, begin adding butter one tablespoon at a time, waiting until it's incorporated before adding the next piece. Be sure to once in a while stop your mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is well incorporated. When all the butter is added, continue kneading the dough for about 5-10 minutes until very smooth. The dough will not look very workable at this point. It will seem more like a custard. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap loosely and a damp towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place.

4

After the dough has doubled in size, roughly 90 minutes, transfer it to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and ideally overnight.

5

For the filling:

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and stir in the 3oz chocolate and sugar; allow to sit undisturbed for one minute. Then stir with a spatula until nice thick chocolate sauce is formed. Stir in cocoa, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to cool. It should be almost room temperature but still spreadable before proceeding to the next step.

6

Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle and then roll it out into 18x12" rectangle. Spread the filling across the entire surface, except 1/2" of the long side of the rectangle. Sprinkle 2 ounces of chopped chocolate (or 1/3 cup chocolate chips) and other additions, if using. Roll the dough into a log starting with the long side into 18" log. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes. Without refrigeration the next step will get quite messy.

NOTE: do this step quickly. This dough is very much butter-based so it will start melting and sticking. Have everything ready and work quickly!

Prepare the pan (10x5 loaf pan) by lining it with parchment paper with the sides overhanging, for easier removal later.

7

Slice the log down the middle lengthwise. Prop it so that the sliced sides are facing upwards. Braid it and place into a greased 10x5 loaf pan. Gently press it down to distribute the babka evenly. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and a piece of plastic wrap. Allow to rise until almost doubled in size for about two hours.

Please note, if you left your dough in the fridge longer than 30 minutes in the prior step, your rising time may need to increase (the babka in the pictures was left for 4 hours in the fridge, and I had to let it rise 2.5-3 hours on the counter before baking.)

8

Preheat the oven to 350. When babka finishes rising, bake it in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325, rotate your babka 180 degrees and continue baking another 20 minutes or so until the internal temperature reaches 185-190, closer to 190°F ideally, measured with an instant-read digital thermometer in the middle of the babka. The babka will be golden and sound hollow when tapped.

9

While your babka is baking, make the syrup. Bring water and sugar to a boil and boil for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir well and allow to cool.

10

When finished baking, drizzle room temperature syrup over babka. Try not to let it go to waste and run down the sides too much - try for it to be absorbed in the middle of the babka. You can even gently prick some holes in the babka with a toothpick prior to pouring the syrup, so that it absorbs better. Allow to cool completely before removing from the loaf pan and slicing.

Babka

Here’s a quick photo tutorial of the rolling and shaping process:

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