CocoCart takes on a Babka

Quarantine cooking started with the Dalgona Coffee, moved to sourdough and then soon after came the Babka. Until recently, you could really only find a Babka in Jewish or Eastern European bakery, forget about an upscale supermarket in India. Yet the pandemic brought with it time, and time brought us the Babka. Though the best part is that you don't need much time! Interestingly so, Babkas came about when Jews on Shabbat took leftover challah and twisted it with seeds and nuts, such as poppy seeds and walnuts. The word 'babka', by the way, means grandmother, referring to the grandmothers on Shabbat who made this out of the leftover challah. Chocolate, however, wasn't added to the babka until Jews arrived in New York. Once chocolate became more affordable and accessible, Jews started embellishing their babkas with rich chocolate instead of cinnamon. Thus was born, the chocolate babka!

Ingredients

- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) whole milk, divided*

- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast (1 standard size packet)*

- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces

- 2 large eggs, at room temperature and divided

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 4 and 1/4 cups (530g) all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled) plus more for dusting/rolling

- 2 cups (600g) Weiss Smooth Praline Chocolate Spread divided

Crumble Topping :

- 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar

- 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour

- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Instructions

Make the dough: Heat 1 cup of milk to about 95°F (35°C). Pour the warm milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Manually whisk in the yeast and 2 teaspoons of the granulated sugar. Cover the bowl with a clean towel. The mixture should be frothy and foamy after 5 minutes.

On low speed, beat in the remaining sugar and the softened butter until butter is slightly broken up. Next beat in 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white) and the salt. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute.

Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the
dough is soft and supple and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes.

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven. Leave the oven door cracked a bit.

Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut dough in half. Work with only half of the dough at a time. Place a clean towel over the dough you aren’t working with.

Generously grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans with butter or nonstick spray.

Shape the babka: On slightly floured work surface, roll one dough half out into a 9×13 inch rectangle (approximately). Spread with 1 cup of Weiss Smooth Praline Chocolate Spread, leaving a 1/2 inch border uncovered.

Tightly roll the dough into a 13-inch log.
Place the log on its seam. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise.
Criss-cross one half, cut side down, on top of the other half– forming an X.
Twist the two together.
Place in prepared loaf pan and cover with a clean towel.
Repeat with 2nd half of dough. This step can get a little messy!

Allow both shaped (and covered) loaves to rest for 10-20 minutes as you prepare the crumble topping and preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

Make the crumble topping: Mix the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the brown sugar mixture until coarse crumbs are formed. Set aside.

Whisk the remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk with the leftover egg white. This is your egg wash.

Using a pastry brush, brush the babka loaves with egg wash. Do the best you can as some Weiss Spread is exposed. Top each loaf with crumble topping.

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Bake for 45-50 minutes or until babka is golden brown on top. Gently tap the loaves– if they sound hollow, the bread is done. Remove from the oven, place each pan on a wire rack, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe : Sally’s Baking Addiction

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