(1) Chocolate Babka and variations including Chocolate Maple Babka, Date and Lemon Babka
To my kids: this is an answer to sending recipes and photo instructions of (mostly) yeast recipes I bake. Now you won't have to go through the cookbooks looking at the scribbles & notes trying to figure out what iteration was the most recent. :)
Chocolate Babka (adapated from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, Ottolgenghi & Tamimi, 2012)Our daughter and son in law gave us this cookbook for Hanukkah. This is so far the best tasting & looking babka recipe I've come across- but me being me, I had to fool around with the recipe a bit. The weights are in grams, we can convert to oz another time. Try to use King Arthur flour , it will make a difference. Scroll to the end of the recipe for other filling ideas.
- 530g all purpose KA flour (use 500 g flour at this point, set aside the last 30g)
- 2 tsp instant yest (SAF Gold, meant for sweet dough)
- 100 g sugar
- 1/2c warm (not hot) water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 ex large eggs (mix a bit before pouring into the bowl)
- grated zest from 1 lemon (other citrus zest works well as well)- just match the zest you use to the oil flavor you add to the syrup used for cake wash at the end of baking.
- 150g fat (choice: melted margarine, melted coconut oil, melted butter if you don't care about the cake being dairy). Make sure the fat is not too hot, the instant yeast is sensitive to heat.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, gather the dough in the bowl w/ a flexible scraper , spray with Pam and loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap. The dough needs a slow cool rise - this really matters with this dough. Place in fridge and let it rise overnight. I've let it go for up to 24 hours, it's fine.
You can make life easy and use Love n' Bake brand Chocolate Shmear, or a container of Israeli chocolate spread. Both work well.
I haven't tried, but one time might try Love n' Bake's Almond or Cinnamon Schmear.
Ottolgenghi & Tamimi give the following recipe. I found that the amount the original produced is not quite enough filling for my liking, so I increased it by 1/2, which produces a generous amount for 2 loaves (or 20 mini cakes made in large muffin pans).
75g confectioners sugar
45g pure cocoa
7 oz dark chocolate, melted together with 180g melted margerine, coconut oil or butter
125g ground nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts are good)
Make the syrup while the dough is baking.
2/3c hot water mixed with 260 g sugar
Heat, either in a pan or in the microwave until sugar completely dissolves.
1/2 tsp citrus oil (depends on the zest you use in the dough)
Grease 2 loaf pans.
Turn cold dough onto a work surface, dust with a bit of flour:
Slightly flatten out to start creating an oval shape:
Rolling the dough in the direction of the "longer" direction (you're helping the gluten make longer strands and you're working with the dough) - gently form the dough into a large rectangle, that is a between 1/4" and 1/2" thick.
Spread 1/2 of the filling across the dough. Leave about a 1/2 border at the top. Take your finger, dip it in water and run it along the plain edge, it will help seal the dough after you've rolled it up.
Roll the cake from the end closest to you toward the thop plain edge. You'll have a tight roll, trim ends (about 1 - 1 1/2 ") so that you have straight edges.
Cut down the center, so that you have 2 logs. Align the two shorter logs.
Slice each log 2/3 through along the length so that the inside layers are exposed.
Lay the top edges along each other, press and then cross over logs so that they are twisted. Press the lower edge together.
Let rise until it begins to fill the pan, it won't quite double. This process takes about an hour in a warm room (or in the oven on the proof cycle if you have one).
Alternatively, you can make mini-cakes in a large muffin pan. Roll up the dough, slice, place in a greased pan, sprinkle with ground nuts. Let rise 60-90 minutes.
Preheat oven 375. Loaf is baked approximately 30-35 minutes, mini cakes approximately 20 minutes.
You can check internal temperature - cake is finished when thermometer reads 180-190 degrees.
Remove from oven and immediately wash with syrup. Use all of the syrup, this makes a difference.
Cool completely before removing from the pan. The cake stays well for 2-3 days loosely wrapped.
The cake freezes well- wrap in foil and then place in plastic bag.
Other filling ideas:
Chocolate and Maple: Chocolate spread, maple chips, chopped walnuts. Drizzle filling with maple syrup. Make final syrup as a simple sugar syrup with 1 tsp maple flavor
Date and Lemon: Date spread, lemon chips (available from King Arthur Flour) and chopped walnuts. Make final syrup as listed in this recipe.
Apple-Maple and Walnut: Apple butter, maple chips, chopped walnuts. Make final syrup as a simple syrup with 1 tsp maple flavor.