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Chocolate Braided Swirl Bread (Babka)

by Pierce Abernathy

Inspired by myjewishlearning.com

Ingredients

for 12 servings

Dough

  • 4 cups
    flour (500 g)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons
    yeast
  • 1 cup
    whole milk, warm to the touch (240 mL)
  • 1 teaspoon
    salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons
    vanilla
  • ¼ cup
    sugar (50 g)
  • ¼ cup
    honey (85 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 tablespoons
    butter, softened

Chocolate Sauce

  • 12 oz
    bittersweet chocolate (340 g)
  • ¾ cup
    butter (170 g)
  • ½ cup
    sugar (100 g)
  • ¼ cup
    cocoa powder (30 g)
  • 1 tablespoon
    ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons
    espresso powder
  • ½ cup
    turbinado sugar (100 g)
  • 1 egg wash

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Preparation

  1. Combine the yeast and warm milk and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In large mixing bowl, add the egg, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, and honey and whisk to combine.
  3. Add in the milk and yeast mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  4. Gradually add in the flour and mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Gradually add in the butter and mix until fully incorporated.
  6. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Bring out the dough onto floured work surface and knead until smooth.
  8. Divide the dough into two equal parts and place in bowls and cover each with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit at room temperature for at least two hours, or when it has doubled in size.
  9. Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
  10. For the chocolate sauce, combine bittersweet chocolate, butter, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, espresso powder, and turbinado sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Stir to combine and set aside.
  11. Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer to a floured work surface and roll both pieces of dough into a rectangle roughly 10x15-inches.
  12. Cover the dough with half of the chocolate sauce leaving an ½ inch - 1 inch of room on all sides.
  13. Gently roll the dough up and repeat with second piece of dough and remaining chocolate sauce.
  14. Using a bench scraper or a knife, carefully cut each log vertically in half making sure the seam is side down.
  15. Lay one piece of dough horizontally and lay another piece over it vertically so you have a rough ‘plus sign’.
  16. Lay another piece horizontally over the vertical piece and above the other horizontal piece.
  17. Lay the final piece vertically on the right of the other vertical piece having it go over the top horizontal piece but weaving it under the lower horizontal piece.
  18. Starting with the bottom vertical piece on the right side, bring it to the left layering it over the other vertical lower piece.
  19. Follow this method around the dough clockwise.
  20. Once returned to the bottom lower vertical pieces. Take the original piece you crossed over (the lower left vertical piece) and cross that over to the right layering it over the last piece you used. Continue this counterclockwise until back at the bottom or you are unable to layer the dough anymore.
  21. Tuck in the excess pieces of dough under the bread.
  22. Transfer the bread into a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash.
  23. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through.
  24. Enjoy!
 

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