Soft, slightly sweet yeasted bread with a delicious dark chocolate swirl… this one is a keeper!
Hello loves, and Happy Wednesday!! This week has been so stinking busy!! Valentine’s Day was yesterday, and… corporate holiday or not, it gives me a wonderful reason to spoil my love, and I adore it! I have always heard “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and although I may already have his heart… I still like to make goodies to “tickle his tummy.” It is for that reason I made this on Saturday, and did not get this posted until now, because I have really stepped out of the kitchen until now.
On to the real reason we are all here… this delicious bread!! Until I started researching babka recipes, I never realized the history and variations between nationalities that there are! This version is the most commonly known, it is the Jewish variation, which is composed of a dough similar to the Challah (which I hope to conquer soon!), with a dark chocolate swirl running throughout.
Since successfully building and maintaining a soursough starter, as well as a sweet sourdough starter, it is my goal to make all things yeasted with that versus commercial yeast. I will still keep a little on hand just in case I need something last minute, but the health benefits that sourdough packs makes it worth the little extra time it may take.
I made croissants a few weeks ago (I cannot wait to make them again and share with you!), and to do so, I had to create a sweet sourdough starter. I figured that I plan to make items often enough that it is definitely worth it to me to keep it going, and that is what I used to create this!
You will start out by mixing your starter with the flour, sugar and sweet starter. Add the egg and mix with the dough hook just until the dough comes together. It is okay if the dough seems a little dry, if needed you can add water 1 teaspoon at a timejust until the dough forms a ball, but that is it.
Once tha dough comes together, add the salt and then the butter, 1 tbsp at a time until it is thoroughly distributed throughout the dough. Once the butter is incorporated, mix on medium speed (still with the dough hook) for 10 minutes until the dough is completely smooth, and pulling away from the bowl. You will probably need to scrape the bowl once or twice. If the dough is not pulling away from the bowl by the end of the 10 minutes, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of flour and you should see an improvement.
Grease a medium-sized mixing bowl, and place dough inside. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until it has close to doubled its size, between 6-12 hours. Stretch and fold the dough 3-4 times throughout the rise time (Here is a good video demonstrating how to).
When dough has completed this initial rise, put in refrigerator to ferment overnight (fermenting does not mean your dough will taste nasty, with sourdough, you are simply giving the natural yeast a chance to break down the gluten further and make your dough more delicious),
The next morning, make your filling by melting the butter and chocolate together, then add in confectioner’s sugar and cocoa and stir until smooth.
Line your loaf pan with parchment paper or grease well.
Remove dough from refrigerator, and roll out as thin as you possibly can, while keeping a 10-12 inch width. This will give you lots and lots of layers! Spread filling over top of the dough, leaving 1/2 inch edge around the entire perimeter. Roll up dough, short edge to short edge, and when you are almost to the end of the roll, brush some water on the edge, then seal the end of the roll to the log.
Place roll on a lightly floured tray and freeze for approx 10 minutes.
Trim 1/2 of of each end of the log, then slice in half length-wise. Flip pieces inside out , so that the chocolate is facing out, then lace one piece over the other, alternating until you get to the end of the loaf, to give a braided look.
Transfer braid to prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel until the loaf has doubled in size. (This could take 4+ hours, depending on the atmosphere/temperature that day, don’t worry if it’s taking forever)
When loaf has reached desired size, preheat oven to 375°F, and bake ofr approx 30 min, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (a little chocolate is okay, but no dough), and center does not feel rubbery or stretchy inside when you insert the skewer or toothpick.
While the babka is baking, make your syrup, and let it cool. When the babka is done, spoon or brush the syrup over the hot loaf. Let cool at least 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to a rack to allow to cool completely. (It’s ok to eat warm too)
Naturally Leavened AKA: “Sourdough” Chocolate Babka
- 1/2 Cup Sweet Sourdough Starter, stirred down
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 2 1/4 Cups AP Flour
- 1 1/2 Eggs (to half an egg, whisk all together, then measure out approx 2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 + pinch of Salt
- 1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 2 1/4 Oz. Dark Chocolate
- 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
- Scant 1/4 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
- 2 Tbsp + 2 Tsp Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Honey
For the Dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the starter, flour and sugar. Add the egg and mix with a dough hook just until the dough comes together, adding 1-2 tsp of water, but only if needed.
While mixing on low, add the and the salt and the butter, 1 Tbsp at a time, until thoroughly distributed throughout the dough. Once the butter is incorporated, mix on medium with the dough hook for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the bowl. Add 1-2 tsp flour, but only if dough is not pullling away from the bowl at the end of 10 minutes.
Transfer dough to greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise 6-12 hours, until it has risen close to double its size. Chill overnight.
For the Filling:
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease well; set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate together and mix until smooth. Add in confectioner’s sugar and cocoa and mix once again until smooth; set aside.
Transfer chilled dough to a well floured surface, and roll as thinly as possible, keeping at a 10-12-in width. Spread filling over dough, leaving an open 1/2-inch edge around the perimeter. Roll into a log begining at a short end. When the log is almost completely rolled up, brush the closing end with water and seal edge into log.
Transfer to a lightly floured tray and chill for 10 min in freezer. Slice chilled dough in half length-wise, then flip inside edges out. Cross one piece over the other, and vice-versa to the end.
Transfer braided dough to prepared loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise until doubled (4+hours)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dough-free.
For the Syrup:
While babka is baking, combine syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook while stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
When babka is done, spoon or brush syrup over the top of loaf and aloow to cool at least 10 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to cool.
Let cool or serve warm. (I personally recommend the latter!)
This is comtinually a learning experience for me, and as I improve and learn, I will update here! Thank you so so much for stopping by to check out my spot. I hope you have enjoyed your visit, and definitely come again soon!