Enriched bread dough swirled with chocolate chunks makes a versatile bread perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert!
I love chocolate. You might have realized that already, judging from the number of recipes on this site that involve that wonderful food. I also love bread (who doesn’t?!), and it’s particularly great when it’s fresh from the oven. Earlier this year, I started honing my bread and yeast techniques, and now have shared quite a few different types of bread recipes, from basic loaves to bagels to enriched breads.
(Enriched doughs have butter, oil, eggs, or milk in addition to the basic flour/water/yeast mixture and as a result are usually softer and sweeter.)
So what happens when you marry chocolate and bread? You get babka, of course! I mean, there are probably other things that could be produced, but this Chocolate Babka is all pretty and swirly on the inside, in addition to consisting of two fantastic culinary staples.
The dough itself is a variation of a brioche. The chocolate–well, it’s chocolate, whatever type you please. Dark chocolate is my favorite. The assembly is done basically like cinnamon or sweet rolls, or Cinnamon-Raisin Bread. Except unlike either of those, the snake of dough at the end gets twisted around itself like a rope for extra swirlies on the inside.
This bread is guaranteed to impress. I brought it to a family event and everyone said something like “Oh my god, is that bread with chocolate in it?”
Yes, yes it is.
P.S. A few days ago Deb from Smitten Kitchen, whose recipe I used, published an updated babka recipe, which I have yet to try…guess I’ll just have to do more baking!
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 3 loaves (or make a third recipe for 1 loaf, which I have done–I used one egg + one egg yolk for the dough, and the remaining egg white as the egg wash)
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk
- 1 1/2 T active dry yeast (2 1/4 oz. packets, if you use those)
- heaping 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large whole eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 cups all-purpose flour (I used a combination of white and white whole wheat)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
- 2 pounds chocolate, finely chopped, or chocolate chips
- 2 1/2 T ground cinnamon
- 1 T whole milk
Activate yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of your standing mixer by mixing milk and yeast with a pinch of sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes until bubbly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla, 2 eggs, and the 2 yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add flour and salt, and beat until incorporated. Switch to a dough hook on your mixer (if using) and slowly add 1 cup butter. Beat for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and sticky, and all ingredients are fully incorporated. Turn dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead briefly. Place in a large, buttered bowl and cover. Let rise in a draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
In a large bowl, mix together chopped chocolate, remaining butter, and cinnamon. This part is sort of like making biscuit dough–you may want to use a pastry blender or your hands. Butter three loaf pans and set aside. Beat remaining egg with milk and set aside.
After dough has rise, punch down and transfer to a floured surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Divide into three equal pieces. Take one piece of dough and roll it out to about a 16″ square that is about 1/8″ thick. Brush edges with the egg wash, and sprinkle 1/3 of the chocolate mixture onto the dough, leaving a 1/4″ border. Roll up the dough into a long snake, then twist over on itself a few times to resemble rope. Place into one of the prepared loaf pans, and repeat with remaining sections of dough. Reserve some of the egg wash for brushing on top of the loaves.
Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Brush the loaves with the remaining egg wash and bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 60-70 minutes. (The original calls for 55 minutes at 350 and then 15 at 325, but I did not do this, I simply covered my loaf with aluminum foil for the last few minutes of baking).
Can be frozen for up to one month.