I made a classic chocolate babka filled with semi- sweet chocolate and chopped hazelnuts. A swirled loaf that is creamy but at the same time crunchy because of the hazelnuts. This Chocolate Babka is delicious for breakfast, but also great for dessert. If you love chocolate, you must try this. So good!
Tools & Equipment
- Loaf pan 22,9×12,7cm / 9×5-inch
- Large bowl
- Medium saucepan
- Parchment paper
- Pastry Brush
- Rolling pin
- Sharp knife
- Silicone spatula
- Small saucepan
- Stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment & dough hook
Filling: I used semi-sweet chocolate (54%), but you can also use any other chocolate which you like best. Instead of hazelnuts you can of course use all kinds of alternatives like walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios or whatever you prefer.
Butter: the butter will be added on low speed, so it will not be perfectly incorporated and the dough will still look a bit lumpy. This is fine at this point.
Texture of the dough: if the dough seems to soft after kneading and sticks to the sides of the bowl, add an extra tablespoon of flour.
Let the dough rest: cover the bowl, place in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight. However, if you do not want to wait, continue directly with the next step of the recipe. That should be fine. It’s easier to work with the dough once it’s chilled.
Storage: at room temperature it can be stored for up to 4 days. Tightly wrapped, you can freeze it for up to 2 months.
How to make Chocolate Babka
Weigh all ingredients and mix the yeast with milk, sugar and 40g of flour. Allow to rest until small bubbles appear and break the surface, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Mix in the butter, then the egg and salt on low speed. Slowly add the flour until it is incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium-high and knead until smooth. Cover the bowl and and place in the fridge.
Make the Filling: melt the butter, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat, add the chocolate and let it stand for about 1 minute. Then stir until the chocolate is melted and add cocoa powder and cinnamon.
Butter a 23 cm / 9-inch loaf pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to a rectangle of 30x40cm / 12×16-inch on a lightly floured surface.
Spread the filling on the rolled out dough and sprinkle the hazelnuts over the chocolate.
Roll up the dough tightly to form a 40cm / 16-inch long log. Cut lengthwise into two halves with a sharp knife.
With the cut sides facing up, place one piece of dough over the second and form an x, then braid together the two pieces.
Transfer the loaf into the pan and place the pan in a warm place. Let it rise for about 2 hours until it is puffy and almost doubled its size.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375ºF and bake the babka on the center rack for about 30 minutes.
Make the Syrup: heat water, sugar and honey and let it boil for about 4 minutes. Skim the rising foam with a spoon. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature, before using.
Remove the babka from the oven, brush the syrup over the babka and let it cool completely before lifting it out of the pan.
Slice the Babka and enjoy. The Babka tastes fantastic on its own. But if you like, you can add some butter.
If you love Babka you might want to try a different version. So check out my Speculoos Babka.
My summary for Chocolate Babka
Taste: sweet, buttery, chocolaty, nutty and with a hint of cinnamon.
Texture: light and fluffy brioche with a creamy yet crispy filling.
PROS: looks beautiful and tastes delicious. It can be stored for a couple of days without drying out.
CONS: this recipe requires a little practice and time.
For the Babka
- 6g dry yeast
- 100g whole milk, slightly warmed
- 5g granulated sugar
- 90g butter, at room temperature, cubed
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2g sea salt
- 280g flour (550)
For the Chocolate Filling
- 100g butter, cubed
- 150g granulated sugar
- 80g semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 40g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2g ground cinnamon
- 65g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
For the Syrup
- 100g granulated sugar
- 125ml water
- 20g honey
For the Babka
- Butter a 23 cm / 9-inch loaf pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper overlapping the two long sides of the pan.
- Mix the yeast with milk, sugar and 40g flour in the bowl of a stand mixer using a whisk. Allow the yeast to rest until small bubbles appear and break the surface, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Mix in the butter, then the egg and salt on low speed in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Slowly add the flour until it is incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium-high and knead until smooth, for about 5 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and refrigerate overnight.
- Roll out the dough to a rectangle of 30x40cm / 12x16-inch on a lightly floured surface. In case the dough contracts and resists while rolling out, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then when relaxed, continue to roll out to the final size.
- Spread the filling on the rolled out dough up to the edges. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the chocolate. Starting at one of the long ends of the rectangle, roll up the dough tightly to form a 40cm / 16-inch long log.
- Cut the dough lengthwise into two halves with a sharp knife. With the cut sides facing up, place one piece of dough over the second and form an x, then braid together the two pieces.
- Lift the twisted loaf and place it in the prepared loaf pan by squeezing the two ends so that it fits properly.
- Place the loaf pan in a warm place and let it rise for about 2 hours until it is puffy and nearly doubled its size.
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC / 375ºF. Bake the babka on the center rack for about 30 minutes or until a skewer, inserted in the center, comes out clean. Some small pieces may stick to it, which is fine.
- Remove the babka from the oven, brush the syrup over the babka and let it cool completely before lifting it out of the pan. Do not remove or slice it while still warm, as it may break.
For the Chocolate Filling
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add sugar and stir until dissolved or almost completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat, add the chocolate and let it stand for about 1 minute. Then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Add the cocoa powder and cinnamon and set aside.
For the Syrup
- Heat water, sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Let it boil for 4 minutes and skim the rising foam with a spoon.
- Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Let the syrup cool to room temperature, before brushing over the babka.
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.