Pardon me everyone, but I’m in a chocolate coma right now. OMG.
Chocolate babka is another recipe that I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. A very long time. Maybe since the Seinfeld Days??
Not surprisingly, there are no babka’s in my past. No secret family recipes. No grandmother’s who made babka.
What to do?
Sure, there are plenty of recipes out there. But I wanted to try something that was out of this world. Something worthy of the calorie splurge. And so I researched and learned that Bread Bakery’s chocolate babka is one of the best in NYC.
The very next day, I came across this list of 25 bakery’s to visit before you die, and Bread Bakery came up again.
And so I researched and stumbled upon this recipe from the Wall Street Journal.
Now, frankly, I thought this bread had way too much Nutella.
I know, I know – can you ever have too much Nutella?
The photos above show what I got by following (weighing the Nutella) the recipe. The loaf that you see above was the middle loaf, which had the most Nutella in it. In other words, I didn’t even out my Nutella as much as I should have and so I have a Nutella explosion.
When I cut the other 2 loaves the next day, they looked much more like the “real thing” and so the moral of the story is to make sure you spread your Nutella evenly!! I also learned it’s really important to let the loaves cool completely (cool for a full 2 hours) before slicing. And if you have a food thermometer, the loaves are finished when the center reads 180 to 190 degrees.
For me, I might cut back the Nutella by one-third. You be the judge based on your preferences
Judging by the recipe source photos, there doesn’t appear to be an overload of Nutella and also reviewing the real thing here and here, there does appear to be a little less Nutella in the real thing.
If you want something with a little less chocolate try this one by King Arthur bakery.
Source: Wall Street Journal, Baker Uri Scheft
Bread Bakery's Chocolate Babka
For the syrup:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup water
For the dough:
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 ½ packets active dry yeast (10 grams)
- 2.5 cups bread flour , sifted plus more for work surface (302 grams)
- 2.5 cups pastry flour , sifted (300 grams)
- 2 large eggs (100 grams)
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (113.5 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter , room temperature (114 grams)
For the chocolate filing
- 30 ounces Nutella (850 grams)*
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate (170 grams)
For the syrup
- Add sugar and water to small pan and heat till boiling. Reduce to simmer for 2 additional minutes and them cool until needed.
For the dough and assembly:
- Pour milk into bowl and activate yeast according to package directions (I used instant yeast and didn't need to activate). Add flours, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and half of the butter in the order listed. Mix the dough for 3 to 4 minutes and them slowly add remaining butter and keep mixing/kneading until combined, another 4 minutes
- Form the dough into a flattened square and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and flour your workspace. Roll the dough into a 10 by 28 inch rectangle and them spread the nutella on top followed by the chocolate chips.
- Roll the dough up to form a log that is 28 inches long and then cut into 3 pieces (about 9 inches long each) (see photo)
- Slice each roll into half lengthwise (you will end up with 6 pieces)
- Form an x with each pair of pieces and then twist each pair around each other.
- You will end up with 3 twists (see photo)
- Place each twist into an 8 x 3 loaf pan, tuck ends under, cover, and let rise for 60 minutes in a warm spot
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (less if you have a convection oven, more if not). Internal dough temperature should be about 180 degrees when finished.
- Immediately brush the tops with the cooled syrup
- Let cool for 2 hours before slicing or the center of the loaves may seem raw.
How should the instructions be modified if I refrigerate for 24 hours?
I have never done this but you might want to try refrigerating it after you form the loaf. I’m not sure if it would be better to put it in the fridge after final proofing or if you can proof in the refrigerator. I’d try the first option first, personally – let us know how it works out
I agree with you, Seinfeld was the inspiration, but then again it is for a lot of things, right. I was wondering if something else can be used instead of the Nutella. Maybe a chocolate pudding. Not a Nutella fan. That couldn’t have been in the original Tel Aviv recipe.
Good point! Maybe just plain ole chocolate chips?
Barb Chilton says
I use the following for my filling:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1Tbsp powdered sugar
2Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Cups walnuts (or pecans, hazelnuts)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (necessary ingredient)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
I pulse all ingredients in a food processor on low but ensure the chocolate chips are still mostly whole so they melt into the dough during baking and create the warm chocolate gooey filing desired.
I bake Babka every weekend and this is my tried and true filing.
Thank you!! Sounds wonderful!
I tried following your recipe, baking it at home. I am facing some issues even after my second attempt on this recipe. Somehow the babka is not thoroughly baked even letting it cool for more than 2 hours. I baked this at 350 for 30 mins in my convection oven (Fan Oven), and its still not fully baked inside, it is still doughy and some tiny parts powdery. Please help!
Oh no! That’s disappointing. From what I understand, convection ovens run a lot hotter than conventional ovens. So, you should reduce the temperature to 325 (I’ve even seen some references say reduce by 25 to 50 degrees) and bake until golden. Also, you can cover the top with aluminum foil once it’s brown and keep it in another 10 minutes or so (depending on just how underbaked it is) if you know the center isn’t baked (it must reach 200 degrees F using a kitchen thermometer). The loaf should be finished when the reading is at 200 degrees F – that way, you will know the center is baked. I hope this helps!
Thanks so much! Will try it again another time this weekend!
Barb Chilton says
Try baking at 375 degrees for 35 minutes..
I came across your blog, upon my search for a NY style pizza dough recipe and I’m so glad I did!!
You can totally consider me as the (self-nominated) president of the newly founded Tel-Aviv fan club, here in Israel (-:
( I hope I won’t have that many mistakes with my English)
A quick Trivia quiz:
Did you know that Bread Bakery originated here in Tel-Aviv before opening their NYC branch? Lucky us!
And on that note, this fab Babka recipe, was recently published on one of the main Israeli web sites (called ‘Walla’) as well, along with a quick fast-forward demonstration video, of which I’m adding the following link:
Though the main article is in Hebrew, the short video itself isn’t narrated and I hope your readers will find it helpful for the tricky twist part.
Many thanks and looking forward for future posts!
Hi Guy – That was a great video – thanks so much for sharing it! I was able to translate the page with Google Chrome to English from Hebrew and read the recipe as well. The recipe is nearly identical to the one published here, with few changes (fresh yeast vs instant/active which is easier to find here and they didn’t specifiy using both pastry and bread flour – I will probably just use all purpose when I make it again).
About to try the dish, Do you grease the tins?
Sorry for the delay – yes, I always do as a habit:)
Jodee Weiland says
This looks delicious! I love chocolate…thanks for sharing!