So here's the deal about making Babka. It is very easy to make. No special skills are required. What you will need is about three hours, and lots of bowls. It is totally worth the effort though, because this Babka is amazing! Much better than any bakery version (even Schnitzer's!).
Babka is a soft, buttery, slightly sweet yeast bread (similar to a panenttone) swirled with lots of chocolate and cinnamon and topped with streusel.
This is a great dish to bring to a Break Fast dinner or to serve as a snack or breakfast. Don't let the recipe intimiate you. It is actually quite a relaxing process and the recipe makes three large loaves. One for you to eat right out of the oven, one to bring to a friend and one to freeze for another day.
recipe makes three loaves
(courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker)
1½ cups warm milk (110°F)
2 envelopes (¼ ounce each) active dry yeast
1¾ cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
3½ sticks (1¾ cups) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and pans
2 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Streusel Topping (recipe follows)
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over the warm milk; stir until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup sugar, 2 eggs, and the yolks; add yeast mixture, and whisk to continue.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add the egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks butter, and beat until completely incorporated and a smooth, soft dough forms, about 10 minutes. The dough should still be slightly sticky when squeezed.
3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead a few times until smooth. Place dough in a well-buttered bowl, and turn to coat with butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
4. In a bowl, stir together chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and the cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in remaining 1½ sticks butter until combined; set aside filling.
5. Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2¾-inch loaf pans and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1½-inch overhang along the sides. Brush more butter over the parchment, and set aside. Punch down the dough, and transfer to a clean work surface. Let the dough rest 5 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, beat the remaining egg with the cream. Cut dough into three equal pieces. On a well-floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough to a 16-inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. (Keep other pieces covered with plastic wrap while you work.) Brush edges of dough with the egg wash. Crumble one-third of the chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving about a ½-inch border on the long sides. Roll up dough lengthwise into a tight log, pinching ends together to seal. Twist dough evenly down the length of the log, a full five or six times. Brush the top of the log with egg wash. Crumble 2 tablespoons filling down the center of the log, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold log in half into a horseshoe shape, then cross the right half over the left. Pinch ends together to seal and form a figure eight. Twist two more times, and fit into a prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
7. Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the lower third. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash; sprinkle with one-third of the Streusel Topping. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until dough has expanded and feels pillowy, about 40 minutes.
8. Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; bake until loaves are deep golden, 20 to 30 minutes more. (If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.) Transfer pans to wire racks to cool completely. Babkas can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes enough for 3 loaves (about 3 cups)
1-2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
Combine sugar and flour in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger clumps remaining.