When I heard that Ott A was teaming up with Red Star Yeast for their September Iron Chef Challenge, I was beside myself with joy, because I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to make Chocolate Babka – an amazing dessert your family and friends will love!
After reviewing countless recipes, I chose Martha Stewart’s version, because it best embodies the essence of what a Chocolate Babka should be. Rich and decadent, Chocolate Babka makes the perfect home-baked gift – and Martha’s recipe contains enough ingredients for you to make three full-sized loaves!
Now, I will tell you up front: Martha’s recipe is challenging. But, if you are looking for a recipe that’s worthy of your time and creativity – this is it!
Here’s a few tips to get you started:
First, you’ll be working with active dry yeast in this recipe. If this is your first time, don’t be intimidated – Red Star Yeast will teach you everything you need to know! Based on my experience, the most important things to pay attention to are the freshness and temperature of your yeast. Chances are, if your yeast does not rise properly, it is due to one of these issues!
Second, purchase the best quality chocolate you can for this recipe! European and domestic chocolates have different qualities to them, so you might want to sample a few first to see which you prefer. I highly recommend Taunton Press’s book, Absolutely Chocolate, as a reference for everything you need to know about choosing and working with chocolate. For a chance to win your very own copy of this fabulous book, enter my 2nd Blogaversary Giveaway.
Making Chocolate Babka is an act of love. Have fun with this. The end results are worth the effort!
1 2/3 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1 1/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
12 Tablespoons (1 ½ Sticks) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and butter.
2. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.
This recipe makes 3 ¾ cups.
Chocolate Babka Ingredients
1 ½ Cups Warm Milk, 110 Degrees
2 Packages Active Dry Yeast, ¼ Ounce Each
1 ¾ Cups Sugar Plus A Pinch
3 Whole Large Eggs, Room Temperature
2 Large Egg Yolks, Room Temperature
6 Cups All-Purpose Flour, Plus Additional Flour For Your Work Surface
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 ½ Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature, Cut Into 1-Inch Pieces
Additional Butter To Grease The Bowl And Loaf Pans
2 ¼ Pounds Semisweet Chocolate, Very Finely Chopped*
2 1/2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
* After chopping the chocolate into moderately sized chunks, you can save time by using a food processor to pulse the rest of the chocolate in two batches to small bits.
Chocolate Babka Instructions
1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over the milk; let it stand until foamy, for about 5 minutes.
2. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs and the egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.
3a. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Add the egg mixture and beat on low speed until almost all of the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds.
3b. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks of butter and beat until the flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.
4a. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
4b. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
It’s amazing how high your dough can rise!
5. Place the chocolate, the remaining cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the remaining 1 ½ sticks of butter until well combined. Set the filling aside.
6a. Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans and, if desired, line them with parchment paper. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of cream. Set the egg wash aside.
6b. Punch back the dough and transfer it to a clean surface. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll the dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.
7a. Brush the edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed.
7b. Roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush the top of the roll with egg wash.
Chocolate Babka, Step 7b
7c. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons of filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let the mixture slide off. Fold the right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold the ends under and pinch to seal.
7d. Twist the roll 2 turns and place it into a prepared pan. Repeat this process with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and the remaining filling.
8a. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the streusel topping over each loaf.
8b. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.
Note: If you like, you can prepare the Babka through Step 8, then freeze it for up to a month before baking. If you do this, when you are ready to bake, remove the Babka from the freezer and let it stand at room temperature for about 5 hours before baking. Otherwise, continue with Step 9.
9a. Bake the loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes.
9b. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until the Babkas are a deep golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove them from the oven and transfer them to wire racks until cool.
10. Remove the Babkas from the pans and serve.
Note: You can freeze your Chocolate Babkas for up to a month.