The recipe for this chocolate babka comes from my friend Olga who contributed it for the Bread of the Month (aka the BOM) for the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook group. This is a wonderful supportive group of bread bakers, both pros and amateurs, showing off their wonderful breads and helping each other with questions and tips.
The dough for this bread is lovely, and really easy to work with. It starts with a sponge.
Sponge you ask? It's a small amount of dough that is allowed to ferment for a few hours before the final dough is mixed, in order to develop flavor.
I cut Olga's recipe in half to make a single loaf. To make a beautiful ring loaf, double this recipe and bake it in a big angel food cake pan.
2.5 ounces bread flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast. I used SAF Gold
2.75 ounces water
1 T honey
2.62 ounces eggs (about 1 1/2 large eggs)
11.65 ounces bread flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1.75 ounces egg (about 1 large)
1.25 ounces oil
2.12 ounces honey
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 C sugar
1/8 C Dutch process cocoa
1/4 C butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
- Early in the day, mix all of the sponge ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 4 hours.
- Add all of the dry ingredients on top of the sponge, recover with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit for 1 to 2 more hours.
- Add the eggs, oil, and honey to the bowl and mix on medium low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a few minutes more. The dough should be slightly tacky.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and allow to rise, covered until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. The room temperature will affect the rising time.
- Deflate the dough by pressing it down and folding it over itself like a business letter.
- Let the dough rise in the container again, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled (you can also refrigerate the dough overnight).
- Place the chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and stir.
- Roll the dough out into a 15 by 15 inch square on a lightly floured surface.
- Spread the filling over the rolled out dough.
- Roll the dough up like cinnamon roll dough and seal the seam. Stretch the roll out to about 18 to 20 inches long by rolling it back and forth.
- Coil the dough into a snail shape, and then stand it up to form a loaf shape.
- Press the loaf into an oiled loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise at room temperature until it has crowned over the top of the pan, about an hour.
- Brush with egg wash and bake at 350 degrees F until it reaches 175 degrees F internally, about 50 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan for about 5 to 10 minutes, and then de-pan and cool on a wire rack.
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