Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chocolate Babka



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

Ingredients:
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
For glaze:
Eggwash
Coarse sugar

Directions:
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

71 comments:

My Little Space said...

What a lovely loaf of bread! I'm still learning all these wonderful artisan breads. Have a nice day!
Cheers, Kristy

Lucie said...

This looks great, Mary! I've been bookmarking chocolate babka recipes for a while but have yet to make one. Just might give it a go with this recipe--thank you!!

LittleRed said...

I will definitely add this to my list of recipes to try.....it looks just beautiful:)

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Iam just going shopping and the ingredients are on my list. This looks very yummy.

Baking Monster said...

I really wanted to make Babka for easter this year but didn't get around to it, this looks terrific though, really moist looking.

Dream It Up Cookies said...

Looks delicious! Chocolate anything, I'm sold. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me that lovely comment. I really love your blog too, and your food and pictures are so great:)

sweetlife said...

how yummy..love chocolate so this is a must for me..great pic

sweetlife

MaryMoh said...

Beautiful loaf. I love the filling. Would be so good with a cup of coffee...mmm

3 hungry tummies said...

LOve the different layers..it sure looks good. Gourmet traveller is one of my favourite magazines :)

Allie and Pattie said...

It must be Babka week- this is the third time this week I've seen one! Of course, yours will be the one to try, Mary. It looks beautiful
xoxo Pattie

Coleen's Recipes said...

This looks delicious, what a great photo. Chocolate Babka always makes me think of the Jerry Seinfeld chocolate babka episode. lol

Debbi Smith said...

I so need some chocolate this morning. This looks sooooooooo good!

Debinhawaii said...

Looks delicious! I am with Coleen--as soon as I saw the title of your post I started thinking about Seinfeld.
;-)

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

U have here one of the best Babka's i have ever seen ....simply perfect....
I baked a cake kinda babka once with a custard filling:-)))))

Sushma Mallya said...

yummy & irresistible....

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh Mary - This looks irresistible. I have never baked a babka, but you sure make me want to try.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

OH - MY! This is incredible!!!

Simply Life said...

oh wow! what a great bread!

Kitchen Masochist said...

I have a weakness for anything with chocolate. You're babka is definitely playing on that weakness!

I've never had a babka and have been wanting to try one ever since I saw that one episode of The Nanny way back in the 90s. After seeing that episode, I've always associated the babka as an East Coast Jewish thing, kinda like bagels and New York.

Claudia said...

I do love a good Babka. I think it's been decades(oh no!) since I had some. If I could reach across the screen to your scrumptious, enticing loaf...

momgateway said...

Chocolate with hazelnuts is such a lovely combination!

Foley said...

Looks fantastic...You always bring something new and different to the table for us to try!

Maggie B said...

The bread looks wonderful and I'm sure tastes divine. I'll keep the recipe for the next time family come to visit, I know they'll like this.
~Maggie~

Susan said...

Oh my goodness! I think I can taste this right now. The cdrispy crunchy bottom crust is what draws me to this...with a cup of good coffee..this would make my day!!!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

just from the photo, I know this beaad must be very good!

Cathy said...

This is printed out and waiting on my kitchen counter. Oh my goodness, this looks good, Mary. How wonderful that you had the opportunity to live in Chicago. I become more impressed with the city each time I visit.

Dishesdone said...

That babka looks absolutely and utterly fantastic! I can't bake so well, I think I have to get myself to a bakery! Yours looks perfect!

oneordinaryday said...

Just gorgeous.

Sage said...

This looks like the perfect recipe to make when my granchildren come to visit next time;saving it; thank you.
Rita

Valérie said...

I didn't know this cake at all, but I love it! The puffy crumb is just begging to be teared into!

♥ Kathy said...

Oh sweet chocolate, I love you so :)

Carla and Michael said...

Did you hear the 'click' of my mouse as I saved this to my favorites? Sounds magnificent. A must do for me.Thank you as always.
Carla

Hungry Dog said...

Wow. I would love to have some of this right now for breakfast!! It looks beautiful and delicious.

Bob said...

Oh man do I love babka. I am snatching this recipe and making it. For real.

Kim said...

The picture of your babka is gorgeous Mary! Believe it or not, I've never had the pleasure of eating babka before and now I feel as though I'm missing out.

Devaki said...

Looks like no maiden voyage to me...more like the hand of an expert. Beautifully presented and superbly executed. Reminds me of the best kind of brioche (which happens to be my fave kind of bread)

yummy yummy favors...butter & chocolate..what more is left to say?

Ciao,Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

Gulmohar said...

wonderful, what else I would say :-)Thanks for introducing babka..adding to my "to do" list :-)

Joanne said...

How could anyone NOT love a bread swirled with chocolate and nuts? This looks fantastic. You did a great job with it!

Lori said...

I saw this one too. It will be on my list of things to do. Maybe by Easter next year. What could be more lovely then hazelnut and chocolate.

Alison said...

I've never tried this. Probably because I'm allergic to certain kinds of nuts. Can I substitute the hazelnut?

Beverly said...

Oh my goodness, Mary. You have me drooling over this, and I'm wishing for a slice and a cup of coffee.

I love the covered bridges, and I'll definitely be showing them to my husband.

Penny said...

I really need to get back to baking. This bread is very tempting. Enjoyed your covered bridges. You live in a beautiful state.

Kristen said...

This is the second chocolate babka I have seen in as many weeks. I am going to have to break down and try it. I love the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate anywhere, but as a bread-aholic, I know would never be able to leave this bread alone.

Phyllis said...

Gorgeous babka! Bookmarking the recipe. Funny how chocolate babka always makes me think of that Seinfeld bakery episode :)

Rachel Cotterill said...

I've never heard of babka before, but it sounds delicious!

Kamalika said...

Babka is new to me...you have shared a wonderful recipe with us...and the snap is also too good...have a very nice day....

Jeannie said...

It is a very beautiful loaf. Love the combination of fillings.

Pinecone Camp said...

Wow. That looks delicious! Baking is such a nice calming activity after a long day. I just may give this one a shot. I truly love your blog. I'm happy we "found" each other!

N S said...

Beautiful loaf of bread. Thank you for dropping by my blog and for your lovely comment. I started following you.

tasteofbeirut said...

I cannot believe that you are making this! I thought it was reserved to Russians from the era prior to the revolution! kidding, but seriously this looks fantastic!

Biren said...

I've often heard and seen this have never really tried it. I enjoy making breads and would like to give this a try.

appropriated.muffin said...

that looks amazing! yum! chocolate!

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Mary, this looks gorgeous. I have never heard of babka before, but it looks like something I would really like to try.

BTW, I loved all your photos of the covered bridges in an earlier post. I have never seen bridges like that - are they road bridges or rail bridges? why are the bridges covered? is it because of the climate? I am very curious.

Sue

alwayswinner786 said...

That look great and too delicious! The name Chocolate Babka is itself so mouthwatering!

Cherine said...

wow i bet this tastes like heaven!!

Arlette said...

Wow,
what a gorgeous bread loaf, I don't think I made this before..
I bookmarked this recipe as looks soooo good with the chocolate..
thanks for sharing... for sure iam doing.. it today

Pete said...

My kids would love this for breakfast.....daddy too, we love chocolate and bread! LOL!

The Domestic Adventurer said...

Whenever I see a babka recipe I'm reminded of the Seinfeld episode where they are fighting in the bakery over the last chocolate babka.

Yours looks truly amazing!

Michelle said...

I so like Babka, especially Chocolate Babka!

angela@spinachtiger said...

Hi Mary,
You cook up some REAL food. I've never made a babka, but this is where I'll come when I'm ready.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

LOVE this, how delicious! With some creme fraiche....heaven!

Mama Peck said...

Oh, that looks good! Wish I weren't still on this blasted diet- this would surely be on my "make today!" list. :) I have been meaning to try a Babka for ages and this looks like the perfect recipe.

scrambledhenfruit said...

This Babka looks scrumptious. I can just imagine how it would taste with a cup of coffee for breakfast. My son (in Chicago)is my specialty bread maker, but I may just have to impress him and make this myself.

Cynthia said...

This looks so delish! I love the cheery red background and napkin!

Elizabeth and Jared said...

This is so impressive. I imagine it would be even more so served warm!

The Red Umbrella said...

My drooling mouth would like to say thanks for this one!

Lauren (Healthy Delicious) said...

love babka! My grandfater is Polis hand we always had it at Easter. I made it for the first time this year, and ti was fantastic. I love the addition of hazelnuts in the one you made. What a winning combination!

Lindsey Frances said...

I've got to make this! My boyfriend is a babka fanatic.

Katy ~ said...

Outstanding! Oh my, does it look celestial.

ellie said...

I'm learning to bake bread at the moment and am always on the look out for regional speciialities and the more unusual loaves and this looks like it fits the bill all round- it looks divine! Do they ever use any other fillings in them?

I will bookmark the recipe and give it a go i think thanks for posting, your blog forever makes me drool!

b said...

THE BEST BABKA IN NYC

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/02/where-to-find-the-best-babka-in-nyc-chocolate-cinnamon-greens-bakery-russ-daughters-william-greenbergs-katzs-moishes-andres.html

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