Nutty chocolate babka
Originating from Jewish culture, Babka is a beautiful braided loaf that will put a smile on anyone’s face! Similar to brioche, this buttery dough is layered with a chocolate filling and crisp hazelnuts; a truly rewarding labour of love that any cook can achieve.
- 250ml milk
- 2 Tbsp + 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 ½ tsp instant yeast
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 75g + 125g butter
- 5 cups high grade flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2tsp salt
- 125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Place the milk in a microwave safe jug and heat until lukewarm. Stir 2 Tbsp of caster sugar and the yeast into the milk, and set aside for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam. Melt 75g of butter, then leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. Attach the dough hook, and stir on low for a couple of seconds to combine. To the dry ingredients, add the yeast mixture, melted butter and beaten eggs. Turn the machine onto low, and mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Increase to a higher speed, and mix for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic-like when stretched.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place and leave to proof for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- To make the filling, combine the remaining butter, dark chocolate, cocoa powder and brown sugar in a saucepan. Place over a low heat, and cook while stirring until the ingredients have melted and become incorporated. Set aside to cool.
- Once the dough has doubled, turn out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half, then roll each into a rectangle around 30cm in length and 40cm in width.
- Spread half of the chocolate filling over each rectangle, leaving a 2cm edge clean at the top of the rectangle. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts evenly over the filling, then roll each rectangle tightly from the bottom to the top.
- Using a sharp knife, cut each roll in half lengthways. Turn the logs cut side up, then twist two pieces together and pinch the edges at each end together. Gently transfer the braids into two greased and lined loaf tins, then cover and leave to proof in a warm place for a further or until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius fan bake. Once proofed, bake the babkas for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and clean when tested with a skewer.
- While the babka are baking, make the glaze by combining the remaining sugar with 125ml of water. Place over a medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Cook while stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Brush the baked babkas liberally with sugar syrup while hot. Leave to cool, then remove from the loaf tins and serve. Keep stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or freeze the baked loaves for up to 2 months.