Backup Babka – Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

I never really watched Seinfeld, but I have heard of some of the more famous things on the show, like the infamous Soup Nazi and chocolate and cinnamon babka. This recipe from the Purple Foodie combines both chocolate and cinnamon babka, and perhaps elevates the “lesser” cinnamon babka.

I hadn’t even planned on making babka. I was set on making Makowiec, a Polish poppy seed roll, for my friend’s Easter dinner that was featuring many traditional Polish dishes. But because I couldn’t find poppy seed filling at the grocery store and was too lazy to make my own, I had to come up with another Polish-ish baked good. Babka seemed to be the best choice due to its aesthetic qualities and tastiness.

I made two smaller loaves, one shaped in a twisted ring and the other a more conservative ring with slits. The babka was delicious and reminiscent of cinnamon rolls. Because I ran out of chocolate and forgot to add sugar to the filling (oops!), I decided to add a cream cheese glaze to one of the rolls, which made it even more like a cinnamon roll. Fortunately, despite my mistake, no one seemed to notice and everyone praised the babka. (However, it did get overshadowed by a delicious, rich sea salt chocolate ganache.) The babka’s popularity didn’t really matter to me. I was just satisfied with the fact that I had accomplished another yeast bread.

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka
From The Purple Foodie (who adapted it from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday)
Makes 1 really large loaf or two medium sized loaves.

2 tbsp instant yeast
3/4th cup lukewarm milk
6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

(If you run out of chocolate like I did, you can make a cinnamon filling, but be sure to add sugar or else you’ll just taste ground cinnamon.)

1. Whisk the yeast into lukewarm milk and set aside for about 5 minutes. (For some reason, the yeast didn’t like it when I mixed it with milk, so I used water instead)
2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until smooth.
3. Add the yolks to the bowl, one at a time, mixing constantly for 30 seconds between each addition.
4. Add the vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.
5. Add the flour and salt and continue to mix until it all comes together.
6. Now mix in the milk + yeast mixture and let it mix until it forms a soft dough.
7. Knead by hand for another 2-3 minutes. You will have a soft, supple and golden dough.
8. Let the dough rise for about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight, making sure to remove it from the fridge two hours before baking.
9. For the filling: mix the chocolate, butter and cinnamon together in a bowl.
10. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a sheet with a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
11. Spread the chocolate mixture over it.
12. Roll the sheet of dough and then pinch the seams to seal it. Roll it to a length of about 24 inches. Either you can keep it this big if you’d like a big loaf, or cut it into half for two medium loaves.
13. For the gorgeous twisty shape, cut the log down the middle lengthwise, making sure to keep the top end attached. Twist over each other to get the braided look.
14. Let the loaves prove for another 2 hours. (This isn’t necessary since The Purple Foodie skipped this step and her loaf turned out fine).
15. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 15-20 minutes for medium sized and 20-25 minutes for the large loaf. The babka tends to brown quickly because of the high(er) sugar content.
16. Cool for an hour (painful) or eat it right away (delightful!)
The bread stays good for 2-3 days in an airtight box.

This post has been Yeastspotted.