Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chocolate Babka

This was the month of chocolate babka.
Chocolate babkas cooling in baking pans
Inspired by my success making challah from Uri Scheft's Breaking Breads, I decided to try making Scheft's chocolate babka. His babka, available at Breads Bakery, is credited with starting a babka craze.

Sheft presents two kinds of babka dough: basic and advanced. I used basic, which is a fairly simple to make yeast dough, which is turned into babka after resting a day in the fridge. Advanced, which is what Sheft uses at Breads Bakery, is a laminated dough, made by folding butter into the basic dough - using the same method as one uses to make puff pastry or croissants - and then waiting a further 24 hours. I'm sure the advanced makes a better (flakier and even richer) babka, but the one made with the basic dough is utterly fantastic.

Once you have the dough, you roll it out and then spread a pound (literally!) of Nutella and a third of a pound of chocolate chips on top, then roll it into a long cylinder, cut that into four pieces and braid them together, making two loaves. A three-hour rise in two bread pans and you are good to go.

Close-up of chocolate babka
Chocolate babka interior
I made chocolate babka twice, once to give a loaf to an ailing friend, and the second time for Joan to sserve to clients at  her Japanese art gallery. An unqualified hit each time!

Now I am faced with a dilemma: for my next project, should I go for broke and try the advanced dough, or try a cinnamon raisin-walnut or a rum raisin and cheese babka next? I will probably go for the advanced, just because the challenge is irresistible. I'll report back either way.

Bobby Jay

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