Thursday, April 15, 2010
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite..."The Queen is dead. Love live the Queen." I've long fancied myself a babka expert. It was a proud product of the Swedish and German kitchens in which I leaned to cook and I became reacquainted with it as a bride living in the South Shore and Hyde Park areas of Chicago. For the uninitiated, babka is a sweet bread that is a bit like a light textured coffee cake. It is made from a butter rich dough that rises slowly and is then rolled around a filling of nuts, fruit or chocolate. Traditional versions of the bread originally came from the shtetls of Eastern Europe and were filled with fruit and nuts. The more popular modern versions is filled with a nut paste and really good chocolate. Last week I had some extra time and was surfing through some blogs that had been recommended to me. One of them was Trissalicious. It happened that a chocolate babka from the "Australian Gourmet Traveller" was being featured and it looked gorgeous. I was, of course, hooked and it was just a matter of time before I tried the recipe. This is its maiden voyage and I'm really happy to report that it is delicious. The chocolate and hazelnut filling is marvelous, but the dough is what makes this loaf stand head and shoulders above any I've had to this point. It is quite simply wonderful. It should be served warm if at all possible. The babka will stay fresh for about 3 days if it is properly wrapped. I hope you will try this. Here's the recipe.
Chocolate Babka...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Trissalicios and Australian Gourmet Traveller
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
4-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 cup softened butter, divided use
1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted hazelnuts
1 bar (4-oz.) dark or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1) Combine milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour and mix on low speed to combine. Add whole eggs and yolk, reserved sugar and salt and mix to combine. Turn mixer to low speed. Gradually add reserved flour. When combined, add 2/3 cup butter, a little at a time, beating until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Turn soft dough into a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in bulk, about 1-1/2 hour.
2) Place hazelnuts in a food processor with reserved 1/4 cup butter. Process until a paste is formed. Set aside.
3) Grease 2 (3-1/2 x 8-inch) loaf pans. Line bottom with parchment paper and grease again. Punch dough down and divide into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface to an 8 x 14-inch rectangle. Working from long side nearest you, spread half the hazelnut paste over dough to within 1-1/2 inches of all sides. Scatter with half of chopped chocolate. Roll into a cylinder, brush ends with eggwash and join ends to form a loop, then twist into a figure eight and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rise until loaves reach top of pans, about 1 hour.
4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush loaves with eggwash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before turning onto cooling racks. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 2 loaves.
This post is being linked to:
Wild Yeast - Yeast Spotting
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Sugar Crusted Viennese Nut Bread - One Perfect Bite
Very Berry Lemon and Blueberry Sweet Bread - One Perfect Bite
Lemon Poppyseed Bread - One Perfect Bite