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Chocolate Babka

Making bread, including this chocolate babka recipe, is deeply satisfying. There’s the tactile thrill of putting your hands into whisper-weight flour, the invigorating exercise of kneading a mixture until it’s smooth, and the enjoyable charge that comes with punching down a pillow of dough. Amazingly, such emotional rewards are brought about by cool calculations and science.–Martha Stewart

LC Babkalicious! Note

Know what makes this chocolate babka recipe memorable, nay, the best babka ever? Take a peek at the ingredient list. Yup. More than two pounds of chocolate and butter in blissful excess. Fat phobes and calorie counters can take comfort in the fact that the recipe makes three loaves. That’s waaaaay less than a stick of butter per slice, which seems reasonable enough to us. And rest assured, Seinfeld fans, it draws on both chocolate and cinnamon, ensuring that it’s not a lesser babka.

Chocolate Babka Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 4 H
  • Makes 3 loaves

Ingredients

  • For the dough
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk [110°F (43°C)]
  • 2 (1/4 ounce each) packages active-dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus a pinch granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • For the filling
  • 2 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • For the streusel topping
  • 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions

  • Make the dough
  • 1. Pour the warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over the milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, 2 of the eggs, and the egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • 3. 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 the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks of butter and beat until the flour mixture and the butter are completely incorporated and the mixture forms a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed, about 10 minutes.
  • 4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few turns, just until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Make the filling
  • 5. Place the chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the 1 1/2 sticks of butter and, using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut it in until well combined. Set aside.
  • Make the babkas
  • 6. Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans and line them with parchment paper. Beat the remaining egg with the cream. Set aside.
  • 7. Gently punch down the dough and transfer it to a clean surface. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  • 8. Cut the dough into 3 equal portions. Keep 2 portions covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining portion. On a generously floured surface, roll the dough out into a 16-inch square that’s 1/8-inch thick. Crumble a scant 1/3 of the chocolate filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash and, starting at one side, roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the ends together to seal. Holding one end of the dough in each hand, twist it 5 or 6 turns. Brush the top of the roll with the egg wash and carefully crumble 2 tablespoons of the filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold the right half of the roll over onto the coated left half, then fold the ends of the dough underneath and pinch it to seal. Twist the roll 2 turns and nestle it into the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and the remaining filling. Don’t discard the egg wash just yet. (The babka loaves can be frozen for up to a month before baking. Remove from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours before baking.)
  • Make the streusel topping
  • 9. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined, with the streusel ranging in size from crumbs to 1-inch clumps.
  • 10. Heat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • 11. Brush the top of each loaf with the egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.
  • 12. Discard the plastic wrap and bake the loaves, rotating them halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (163°C) and bake until the babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and transfer the pans to wire racks to cool to room temperature. Turn the chocolate babka out from their pans and cut them into thick slices.
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