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Chocolate-Cinnamon “Babkallah”

Chocolate-Cinnamon “Babkallah”

Introducing our test kitchen's hybrid baby: It's braided like a challah for maximum babka-y chocolate swirl in every bite.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more

Filling and Assembly

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • All-purpose flour (for surface)
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

Recipe Preparation

Dough

  • Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in yeast; let sit until foamy, 5–10 minutes.

  • Whisk in egg yolks, vanilla, and ½ cup butter. Add sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour; mix until a shaggy dough forms. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until supple, smooth, and no longer shiny, 5–10 minutes.

  • Transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½–2½ hours.

Filling and assembly

  • Mix chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three portions. Shape each into a 12”-long rope. Roll out each rope to a 12x6” rectangle about ⅛” thick. Brush with butter and top with chocolate mixture, pressing gently. Roll up to form a log; pinch seam to seal.

  • Place logs, seam side down, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let sit in a warm place until 1½ times larger, 1–2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until top is golden brown and “Babkallah” sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, 35–45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 360 Fat (g) 20 Saturated Fat (g) 11 Cholesterol (mg) 110 Carbohydrates (g) 42 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 15 Protein (g) 6 Sodium (mg) 170Reviews SectionI was worried when the dough looked too sticky but it just needed to be kneaded a little longer on a floury surface! it came out so beautifully and the dough reminded me of Sohla's cinnamon buns. super tasty and even though you need to plan it in advance because of all the proofing it is totally worth it.I was worried when my dough initially didn't rise too much, but it turned out great! It was easy and looks impressive. My whole family is enjoying itit’s May 2020 during quarantine and i made this! wow so amazing!!!! i had to add some water and oil to make it more soft and usable, and my dough didn’t rise too much, but it ended up working and tasting perfectly! i absolutely loved this recipe and i’ll definitely make it again!AnonymousCalifornia 05/17/20It’s May 2020 here in NYC and we’re in our 2nd month of the Coronavirus quarantine and I just made my first Babkallah and it will not be my last. So tasty and easy to make. Thank you Claire!OMG! This was so good! And relatively easy. I’d never made challah before and this has opened a door to a whole new world for me.AnonymousAlton, New Hampshire05/05/20Delicious bread/pastry combination! Didn’t have whole milk but chocolate whole milk so used that instead. Cooked it for 40 min and prob could have stopped at 35 and just let it firm up on the cooling rack. Bread and filling stayed together through the bake and slicing. Overall fun recipe with great results!DaklugerAustin, TX04/21/20Lots of fun to make! You can't go wrong with butter, chocolate, and cinnamon :)AnonymousSouth Korea03/15/20This was such a fun recipe to make and it looked super impressive! Tasted great too.AnonymousAsheville, NC12/25/19i never thought there was anything wrong with a dry Chocolate Babka that a soft sweet eggy loaf of Challah couldn't fix. so this recipe interests me. i'm curious about the taste, since real challah doesn't use butter, but all those yolks along with all that butter ... umami-central! i might spice it up a bit more with some orange zest + juice (or maybe some orange blossom water), perhaps even grated peeled ginger.hollis5Vero Beach, FL04/12/19I’ve enjoyed making this but didn’t like the way the top layer of dough pulled away from the other layer? This top layer fell off when it was sliced? What can be done about this? Seems to happen on other sweet roll dough recipes also? Too high of a temp? I’m at a loss!This was a really fun recipe to make. Felt super accomplished!careypolisBrooklyn10/31/17

How to Make a Memorable Christmas Morning Breakfast

Christmas breakfast should be special, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. We gathered our best Christmas breakfast recipes in one place, so whether you’re cooking for a few or a crowd, and whether you want something sweet or savory—and indulgent or healthy, for that matter—you’ll find the perfect celebration breakfast below. We included make-ahead options, and a couple hacks too.

These will give you fuel for opening scores of presents and watching all the Christmas movies your DVR has room for, and whether you opt for stratas or scones, you’ll win over the entire family (and have an instant pass on washing that sink full of dishes).

1. Egg, Cheese, and Chive Tartlets

These open-faced breakfast tartlets have the enviable ability to be impressively elegant yet effortless to make, thanks to frozen puff-pastry shells. With their spruce-colored chives, sunny eggs, and (optional) crispy pancetta, they’ll look like edible presents at Christmas breakfast—and definitely impress any in-laws or other house guests you have. Get our Egg, Cheese, and Chive Tartlets recipe.

2. Enriched Polenta Porridge with Raspberries

After a month of holiday festivities filled with the likes of eggnog, roasts, and cookies galore, a fruit-filled breakfast will be a breath of fresh air. But don’t mistake healthier for boring: This hearty polenta porridge exemplifies hygge, and can be topped with whatever combo of fruit and nuts you like, but pistachios and raspberries are lovely, especially with the vanilla bean, lemon, and honey in the mix. Get the Enriched Polenta Porridge with Raspberries recipe.


Recipe Summary

  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water (Optional)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 5 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, chilled
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup butter, chilled
  • 1 egg beaten with
  • 1 tablespoon water for glaze (Optional)

Warm the milk and melt 1/4 cup butter in a glass or ceramic bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, or on the stovetop in a saucepan. Combine the bread flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour, yeast, and 1/4 cup sugar. Add the water, the milk-butter mixture, the egg, and the salt to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Use the dough hook in a stand mixer on low speed or knead the dough by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add more bread flour, about 2 tablespoonfuls at a time (up to 8 tablespoons) to make a workable dough too much flour can make the dough dry. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Make the chocolate filling and the streusel while the dough is rising. For the filling, stir together the finely chopped chocolate, the cinnamon, and 1/4 cup sugar. Cut in 1/4 cup chilled butter with a fork. To make the streusel, combine the confectioners' sugar and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour cut in 1/4 cup chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

When the dough has doubled, punch the dough down and cut it into two equal pieces. Loosely shape each piece into a ball. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out one portion on a lightly floured surface to form a 15x4-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with half the chocolate filling, roll up to form a long log, and seal the seam. Attach the ends to form a circle and place the ring, seam-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Use a serrated knife or kitchen shears to cut slits at 1-inch intervals around the rings. Cover the rings with damp kitchen towels and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Brush the loaves with the egg wash, if desired. Sprinkle streusel on top. Bake the loaves for about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets to promote even browning, until the bread is a deep golden brown.


You're not still dreaming. These chocolate waffles are the real deal.

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Chocolate-Cinnamon “Babkallah”

It's braided like a challah for maximum babka-y chocolate swirl in every bite.

Ingredients

1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more

Filling and Assembly

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

All-purpose flour (for surface)

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg yolk Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

Preparation

Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in yeast let sit until foamy, 5–10 minutes.

Whisk in egg yolks, vanilla, and ½ cup butter. Add sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour mix until a shaggy dough forms. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until supple, smooth, and no longer shiny, 5–10 minutes.

Transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½–2½ hours.filling and assembly

Mix chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface divide into three portions. Shape each into a 12”-long rope. Roll out each rope to a 12x6” rectangle about ⅛” thick. Brush with butter and top with chocolate mixture, pressing gently. Roll up to form a log pinch seam to seal.

Place logs, seam side down, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let sit in a warm place until 1½ times larger, 1–2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until top is golden brown and “Babkallah” sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, 35–45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.


Make braided babkallah

When it comes to bread-baking, few loaves are as enticing as the twisted, intricate braid of challah — like a warm pair of slippers on a cold night, ready to envelop you in pillowy comfort.

Except there's also the decadent spirals of babka, threaded with bites of rich chocolate or sweet cinnamon, which can be equally as captivating.

These two beloved yeast breads — staples of Jewish-American baking — are each standout loaves on their own. But why stop there when you can combine them into one beautifully braided bread that has it all?

That’s what star baker Claire Saffitz had the brilliant idea to do, resulting in the babkallah — a babka + challah mashup featured in her new cookbook, Dessert Person. (The bread’s catchy name comes from her friend and colleague Julia Kramer.)

A bread that does it all

"I love a recipe that works as a breakfast treat, an afternoon snack, or a dessert, and babkallah definitely fits the bill," says Claire. "The babkallah is a beloved recipe because it gives you the best of both worlds — the beautiful, burnished braid of a challah with the rich chocolatey-ness of a good babka."

After baking Claire's babkallah, I can confirm it's an excellent breakfast treat with coffee. I was out of Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top when I made it (sorry Claire!), but this bread is still delicious with just a simple egg wash.

To develop the recipe, Claire zeroed in on a few key aspects in both the dough and the filling. "A traditional challah is made with oil rather than butter, but I use butter here," she explains in her book. Though challah isn't made with any dairy, she also adds milk, resulting in something "closer to a sweet yeast dough."

While her loaf recipe combines chocolate and cinnamon — "the two most common flavors of babka" — she emphasizes that you can use other flavors that strike your fancy, like jam, chocolate-hazelnut spread, and more.

A beginner-friendly bread (really!)

If you’re feeling a touch intimidated, rest assured that the babkallah is not nearly as intricate to bake as its appearance might suggest. According to Claire, “Even though the swirl and braid looks like it might be hard to achieve, you might be surprised at how manageable the process is, even for beginners.”

So if your yeast-baking experience is limited to basic breads, don’t be afraid to give babkallah a whirl. If you have one available, a stand mixer helps the supple, dreamy dough come together even more easily, but the whole thing can be made with just your two hands if that’s the only firepower you have in your kitchen.

How to make babkallah

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk, lukewarm (105°F)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups (390g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2" pieces, plus more for the bowl

For the filling:

  • 1 cup (170g) finely chopped semisweet chocolate (if all you have on hand are chocolate chips, feel free to use!)
  • 1/3 cup (71g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For topping:

Make the dough

Begin by stirring together the milk, yeast, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour, salt, and butter and mix with a sturdy spoon or your hands to form a shaggy dough.

If you’re going to be kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth, supple, and no longer shiny, which should take about 8 to 10 minutes. You’ll want to add a bit more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. You can also knead the dough using your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mixing on medium speed for 5 to 8 minutes. And if you want to use your bread machine, go right ahead and make it on the Dough cycle.

Prepare for proofing by lightly buttering the inside of a large clean bowl, then gather the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until it’s puffy, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. How long it takes to rise will depend on the temperature of your kitchen — the cooler it is, the longer the dough will need.

Prepare the filling

Prepping the cinnamon-chocolate filling couldn’t be simpler: mix together the chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. That's it! Set aside while you prepare the dough for rolling and braiding.

Assemble the babkallah

Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide it into three equal portions. If you want to be exact, you can use a scale to measure — they should be about 250g each. Gently roll each portion into a 12” rope. As you shape and later flatten the dough, you shouldn't need any flour to prevent sticking. (If it does stick a little, use pan spray on the work surface instead of flour.)

Using the heel of your hand, flatten each rope, then use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a 12” × 6" rectangle.

Brush the surface of each rectangle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the chocolate-cinnamon mixture, dividing it evenly among the three pieces. Make sure to leave at least a 1/2" border uncovered along one long edge of each piece of dough — you’ll use this to pinch the dough closed once you roll it up.

Starting on the filling-covered long side, roll each rectangle into a log. Then pinch along the length of the seams to seal up the dough it's important to seal the logs very well here so they don’t unravel as you braid, which could compromise the spiral of filling in the finished babkallah. You want to make sure you keep that gorgeous spiral pattern!

Ready to braid everything together? Place the logs seam-side down and side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pinch the logs together at one end and braid them, leaving a little slack in the braid as you go. This slack will help keep the logs from splitting open from too much tension as they expand, though no worries if this happens — they’re still stunning (and more importantly, delicious).

For a braiding tutorial, watch our video on how to braid a three-strand loaf.

Once you've braided the length of the bread, pinch the opposite ends of the braid together and tuck both ends neatly underneath the braid.

Braided and ready for its final proof!

Cover the babkallah loosely and set it aside in a warm place until it’s expanded to about 1 1/2 times its original size, which should take 1 to 2 hours depending on your kitchen’s temperature.

Toward the end of the rise time, place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the babkallah with the beaten egg, then sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar.

Time to bake

Bake the babkallah until the crust is deeply browned, 35 to 45 minutes. If you want to be exact, a digital thermometer inserted into the center will read 190°F. Remove it from the oven and use the parchment to slide the loaf onto a rack to cool.

The babkallah, well wrapped and stored at room temperature, will keep up to four days, but it's best served on the first or second day (if there’s still any left after a day!).

Babka + challah = utter delight

Mashups don’t always succeed, but there’s no denying that babka and challah are a dream combination. This spiced, chocolatey loaf not only looks fantastic on the table, but a buttery slice is welcome at any time of day. Even if you haven't made many decorative breads before, challenge yourself to give babkallah a try — you won't be disappointed.

No matter what time of day you enjoy a slice, I've found that babkallah is always a tasty treat.

For more creative recipes like this, pick up a copy of Claire's new book, Dessert Person. We also have a full collection of Show Stopper Recipes for additional baked goods that look stunning and taste even better.


Summer Desserts 2017

The final episode of The Great British Baking Show aired last week. I didn’t realize we were going to get two weeks in a row with back-to-back episodes. That makes me both happy and sad. On one hand, I had more new episodes to watch in a short amount of time. Four new episodes in seven days – it’s like Christmas came early. On the other hand, the show really is over and I will never watch another (new) episode with Mel, Sue, Paul and Mary. So sad. But, it was a great season and I would say they certainly ended on a high note. And, at least I get to see Mary Berry on The Great American Baking Show later this year!

Also coming to a close this past week, the official end of Summer Desserts 2017 in the Vannoni household. Quick reminder- every year we make a list of desserts (or baked goods) I have never made before. Each dessert gets a score of 1-10. We made the last dessert on the list this past Sunday. Here is what we made this summer (in order):

Plum Pie
Victoria Sandwich
Wedding Cake
Hazelnut Babkallah
Croissants
Lemon Soufflé

I must admit, Summer Desserts 2017 got off to a rocky start. One of my daughter’s (A) chose Plum Pie and so that is what we made first. In case you haven’t heard, I’m not a fan of pie. I do however love plums so I thought I would give it a shot. It looked promising going into the oven…

But, I’m going to have to say no to the plum pie. I could try again and I’m sure I would have better success but there are so many other things I would prefer to try first. We gave this a 4. I think that is the lowest rating we have ever given anything (and we were generous with the score). A is a sensitive child and her feelings were very hurt that the plum pie was not loved by all. I tried to explain it had nothing to do with her but it fell on deaf ears (they were probably clogged with tears).

Next, came the Victoria Sandwich. Needless to say, as I am fascinated with The Great British Baking Show, I couldn’t wait to try this one out! I had already decided to fill it with homemade raspberry jam and whipped cream. Both turned out beautifully. But the sponge itself wasn’t quite right. It was good but not great. We gave it a 6*. It got the “*” because of serious potential. I’m definitely making this again (probably this weekend) because I’m determined to get this one right!

Notice husband’s creepy eyes in the background

Wedding Cake is my favorite dessert on Earth. White vanilla wedding cake that is. I am not a fan of almond flavor. Anyway, I had never made one myself. There were so many boxes I could check off just making this one dessert:

1. Make the perfect white cake
2. Make a tiered cake
3. Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4. Practice piping skills

If you follow me on Instagram you may already know that my power went out in the middle of making this cake (technically the icing). I wish I could blame the results on that but I can’t. The cake itself was good but not my favorite. It had a high sugar content to the point where the outside was actually almost crunchy. It had good flavor but not what I was going for. The Swiss meringue buttercream… dare I say… had too much butter. It feels like blasphemy but it’s true. I LOVE butter. I can really eat it all by itself but there was just waaaaayyy too much butter in this icing. And my piping still needs a lot of work. The cake with better icing may have received a higher score but this only got a 5.

Then things started to look up. I had made Bon Appetit’s Chocolate Cinnamon Babkallah a few years ago (click here for their recipe). It is a mix between a babka and challah bread. The original was good, made the house smell amazing and was delicious as French toast the next day. But, I wanted to change it a little bit. Finally, this summer, I did. I used Nutella to fill the bread and let me tell you, it was a WIN! Finally! I know it looks burned but it isn’t, it is supposed to get really dark in the oven. Phenomenal. This scored an 8½.

My all time favorite breakfast is a croissant with hot chocolate. I absolutely adore croissants. I knew they would be a challenge to make but I really wanted to give it a try. Well, it is very time consuming. Very. Time. Consuming. There is a lot of “inactive” time but still I had to be at the house pretty much all day. Then the dough rests in the fridge over night (and because it is a yeast dough I thought it was going to explode in the fridge). Shape the croissants the next morning, let them rise again, then bake them… then you finally get to eat them.

In the middle of the first day I had already decided I would never make these again. Then, I ate a freshly baked croissant the next morning. HEAVEN! And I even made some of them into pain au chocolat… to die for! I will totally make them again! These were my personal favorite of all the “Summer Desserts” and scored a 9.

Last but certainly not least, the lemon soufflé. Last summer I tried to make a chocolate soufflé and it was… not awesome. It was pretty much a failure. I mean, we still ate it of course but it just was not right too wet. I tried to combine a couple recipes, which was a mistake. This time I followed one recipe. I changed some flavors but still just one recipe. I was hopeful for redemption. And I was redeemed!

The pictures are terrible, I know. My dining room has low lighting and remember, I only use my phone. And I wasn’t willing to mess around with the soufflé for a picture they are too delicate. But the taste was amazing! The other family members gave it their highest scores and said this was their favorite of all. I will admit I was quite pleased with myself. This also scored a 9.

(If you are wondering, we don’t give out 10’s or at least never have to date. There is always room for improvement.)

So, the first three desserts of the summer need some tweaking. The last three however were great. Odd actually because the first three are definitely more “beginner” recipes whereas the last three are at least for an “intermediate” baker, if not “advanced.”

I baked a lot this summer and it made me so happy! Even though they aren’t on the official list I made macarons, German chocolate cake, lemon meringue pie and fruit tarts all for the first time this summer too. Macarons are tough! I was about to completely give up and finally the last batch was divine. The cake and pie both turned out great and the fruit tart was spectacular (the second time I made it).

I know I went through a lot there and I’m not even including a recipe at the end. But, I thought I would put this to you. Which Summer Dessert of 2017 would you like to make?Let me know in the comments section below and I will put the recipe with the most requests on the blog in the coming weeks. I recommend anything other than plum pie.

Happy Baking!


How To Serve Babka

And, then, there&rsquos the moment of truth.

Your first slice into your artfully twisted loaf.

No matter how the layers played out, you know one thing for sure. You now have a delicious, warm slice of babka calling your name!

We have to admit, babka is best eaten fresh. The oven crisped top, warm and fluffy inside, and gooey and caramelized filling can&rsquot be beat.

The day it&rsquos baked, you have some serious babka perfection.

But, the nice thing about this recipe is that the moisture from the filling and the richness of the dough keeps the bread fresh for about 3 days if kept in an airtight container on the counter.

After 3 days, you&rsquoll want to refrigerate the rest of your bread (if there&rsquos any left). Once refrigerated, we prefer to toast up our slices before serving.


Babakallah

Prep Time for dough: 20 minutes, plus several hours rising and assembly time Prep Time for filling: 10 minutes Bake Time: 35-45 minutes

Ingredients

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the bowl

For the filling and assembly

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top

The Recipe

1. To make the dough: Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat just until barely warm, 105ºF on an instant read thermometer. Careful not to overheat or you’ll kill the yeast. Pour the milk into a large bowl (if you’re going to use the mixer to knead the dough, this can be the large bowl of the mixer) and sprinkle the yeast on top. Whisk to dissolve the yeast and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes until it’s foamy.

2. Add the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add in the flour, salt and butter and use a sturdy wooden spoon to mix it all together until a shaggy dough forms. Now you can either attach the dough hook of an electric mixer to knead the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and supple and no longer shiny, about 5-8 minutes, or you can turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand, adding a little more flour if it’s very sticky, until a smooth dough forms, this might take closer to 8-10 minutes.

3. Butter a large bowl and place the kneaded ball into it. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it somewhere warm, maybe near the oven, for about 1 ½-2/1/2 hours until it has puffed up a bit—this won’t rise the way traditional bread dough does but it should be significantly larger than before the rising process.

4. While the dough is rising make the filling: Toss the chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

5. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a clean counter or board and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-inch rope (use a ruler to measure so they are all even) and flatten the pieces with the heel of your hand. Use a rolling pin to roll each rope into a 12x6-inch rectangle.

6. Use a pastry brush to generously cover each piece all over with the melted butter and then sprinkle with the chocolate mixture, dividing it evenly among the 3 pieces and leaving a ½-inch border on one of the long sides of each rectangle. Starting on the opposite long side from you, tightly roll up each rectangle to form a log and pinch the seams together very tightly (if you don’t the filling will escape as it bakes).

7. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place the logs seam-side down and side by side on the sheet. Pinch the logs together tightly at one end so all 3 are connected and braid them together not too tightly, so that the dough won’t crack as it cooks. Pinch the opposite ends together and tuck both ends underneath the braid. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1-2 hours until about 1 ½ times its original size.

8. Make sure oven rack is centered and preheat to 350ºF. Brush the loaf all over with the beaten egg and generously sprinkle it with the demerara sugar. Bake until the surface of the loaf is deeply browned, turning the pan at the midpoint of baking, 35-45 minutes. Let cool completely on the pan on a wire rack, then cut with a serrated knife and serve. This is best on the day it is baked but you can definitely wrap it well and keep it at room temperature for 4-5 days.

Note: Recipe from The Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz.


Babka developed in the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe in the early 19th century. Extra challah dough was rolled up with fruit jam or cinnamon and baked as a loaf alongside the challah. [3] Chocolate was not originally used, as it was not generally available the chocolate babka was likely a mid-20th century American development. [9] Its name (though not necessarily the dish itself) may be related to a type of Easter cake popular in Poland and western Ukraine known as baba or the diminutive babka, which means "grandmother" in Polish, related to the Yiddish bubbe. [3]

Although the Polish and Ukrainian babka are mutually eponymous with their Jewish counterparts, the appearance and preparation of each babka is drastically different. The Eastern European babka draws its name from its tall, stout, fluted sides formed in a traditional pan, and reminiscent of a grandma's skirt. In comparison, the variant introduced to Western culture by emigres to New York consists of strands of rich yeasted dough interwoven and baked in a loaf tin. [7] [8]

Babka was mostly unheard of outside of the Polish Jewish community until the latter part of the 20th century. European-style bakeries started to offer it in late 1950s Israel and in the US. In addition to chocolate, various fillings including poppy seeds, almond paste, cheese, and others became popular, and some bakers began to top it with streusel. [3]

2010s popularity Edit

Beginning in the 2010s the popularity of babka increased across the United States, especially in New York, where a popular Israeli bakery from Tel Aviv owned by Gadi Peleg, [10] Breads Bakery, opened a location and began to sell their babka [11] filled with traditional fillings such as cinnamon, as well as non-traditional fillings such as Nutella, apple, cheesecake, as well as a savory version with za'atar and feta cheese. They became well known for their chocolate babka. [12] [13]

The newfound popularity of babka across the United States and Canada among both Jews and non-Jews has resulted in many non-traditional variations filled with such fillings as buffalo chicken, rainbow, everything bagel, and cookie butter, among others. Babka has also been featured on restaurant menus and in such dishes as french toast, cheesecake, [14] babka ice cream, [15] and babka ice cream sandwiches, [16] among others.

Babka has become available at grocery stores across the US, with Trader Joe’s offering their own chocolate version made in Brooklyn. [17]

It consists of either an enriched or laminated dough which are similar to those used for challah, and croissants respectively, that has been rolled out and spread with a variety of sweet fillings such as chocolate, cinnamon sugar, apples, sweet cheese, Nutella, mohn, or raisins, which is then braided either as an open or closed plait, topped with a sugar syrup in order to preserve freshness and make the bread moister. [18] It is sometimes topped with a streusel topping.

American style Edit

American style babka is traditionally made with a dough similar to challah dough and is often topped with streusel, poppy seeds or a crumb topping. [19]

Israeli style Edit

Israeli style babka (עוגת שמרים) is made with a laminated dough, enriched with butter, which is then folded and rolled it multiple times to create many distinct layers, similar to that used for Israeli style rugelach, and also croissant dough. Israeli style babka is available with a wider array of fillings and shapes. It is most often shaped into a loaf pan, but it is also sometimes made into individual babkas, a pie-shaped babka, formed into a ring shape, or braided and baked free form or formed into individual twists similar to a cheese straw. The most popular fillings are chocolate which is commonly made with Haschahar Ha'ole, and Israeli chocolate spread, mohn (a sweetened poppy seed paste filling), and sweet cheese typically made with gvina levana. They are rarely topped with a streusel topping. It is typically sweet however, savory versions are also popular in Israel, often containing labneh and za'atar. [20] It is also often baked as "roses", individual pastries shaped to resemble a rose. They may also be made with a closed plait, versus the more common open plait. [21]

Kokosh Edit

A similar cake called a kokosh is also popular in Jewish bakeries. Kokosh also comes in chocolate and cinnamon varieties, but it is lower and longer than babka, is not twisted, and not topped with streusel. Cakes of these styles are typically, but not universally, considered couronnes baked in loaf pans, rather than babkas. Kokosh has become popular in North American cities with large Jewish populations, including Montreal, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Toronto.

Hot Cross Babka Edit

Cafés in London, England have produced a variant, served at Easter, which combines the filling and flavours of a traditional hot cross bun with babka dough. Vice magazine wrote "[it's] an unholy union, but it's delicious", and called it "a mixing two faiths in the oven". These comments are explained by The Observer food critic Jay Rayner, who tweeted "Babka is a Jewish bread and the whole ‘hot cross’ thing is about nailing Mr Jesus to the two by four". [22] [23]

Babka was referenced in the American television series Seinfeld episode "The Dinner Party". Jerry and Elaine stop at Royal Bakery to purchase a chocolate babka while Kramer and George go to buy wine. Jerry and Elaine forget to take a number at the counter. As a result, David and Barbara Benedict, a couple on their way to the same dinner party, get ahead of them on line and purchase the last chocolate babka. [24] Jerry and Elaine resort to purchasing a cinnamon babka, which Elaine considers a "lesser babka." They find that the babka has a hair on it, and are forced to wait in line again to exchange it. [25]


Watch the video: Και κανέλα ρε μαλακα? superkikii (December 2021).