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Chocolate and caramel babka

A delicious bread that is layered with chocolate ganache and dulce de leche, sprinkled with pistachios. This recipe produces two loaves. Check out the video for an easy guide on how to braid the babka.

Course dessert, mains, bread
Cuisine Ukranian
Servings 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup hot milk
  • 4 tsp fresh yeast or 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 1/2 - 4 3/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature.

Chocolate ganache

  • 200 gms dark chocolate
  • 200 mls fresh cream
  • 2 tbsp butter

Others:

  • 4 tbsp Dulce de leche. I used readymade ones by SprigGourmet
  • finely chopped pistachios to sprinkle all over the babka

Orange syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp orange essence

Instructions

To make the babka

  1. Combine the water and the yeast in a bowl and let stand until the yeast is activated or starts foaming at the top. Add the milk, eggs, yolk, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, and whisk until the yolks are completely combined. Add 6 1/4 cups of flour and stir with a stiff spatula until a shaggy, floury dough is formed.

  2. Using a dough hook, knead on medium-low speed until the dough comes together and is no longer floury, about 5 minutes. Or if you are doing it by hand , knead it till it comes together.  

    With the mixer still running, begin adding the butter in 1-tablespoon blobs. Mix until one blob is just barely incorporated before adding the next blob.

  3. When all the butter has been added, continue kneading for another 5 minutes until the dough is silky, elastic, and quite jiggly. This won't form a ball like regular dough — it should bunch around the dough hook and clear the sides of the dough hook, but will still be attached in a sticky dough mass to the bottom of the bowl. Add the extra 1/4 cup of flour as needed if the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl.

    Keep kneading till the dough is smooth. Then plonk it all in a large oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Next morning:

  1. Remove from refrigerator. The dough wont have risen much. Dont worry. It will. Let it come to room temperature and rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. I put mine inside the oven (switched off). 

  2. Once its doubled in size, remove the dough from the carefully. Gently knock it down. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it till its 10/12 inch long. Now spread the chocolate ganache all over the dough leaving a 1/2 inch border clean. Add the caramel on top of the chocolate. Sprinkle chopped pistachios all over it. 

  3. Now, start rolling it tightly from the side closest to you. Once you reach the end, lightly water the edge and pinch the dough to keep it tight. 

    Place on a baking tray and chill for 10 mins. 

  4. Next,use a  very sharp knife and gently, but swiftly, slice the log down its entire length, creating two halves with lots of layers. To form the babka loaves, turn the halves so that the layers are facing up. Press the two halves together at the top, then twist the halves around each other, creating a spiral. Press the halves together again at the bottom. 

    Line a 9x5 baking pan with parchment paper. If the loaf is a little too long for the pan, just smoosh it a little on either end to make it fit — any gaps will be filled in by the rising dough.

    Repeat with the other loaves. You can shape them in different ways like I did too.  Cover the shaped loaves and let them rise on the counter until puffy and just starting to dome over the tops of the pans, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Baking the babka

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. Bake 45 to 55 minutes — cover the loaves with foil in the last 10 to 15 minutes if the edges look like they might be starting to burn. The loaves are done when deep glossy brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean of any dough . If you want to check the temperature, the loaves should be around 200°F in the middle.


    Remove from oven. Immediately brush the orange syrup all over the babka. 

    Let cool for 20 mins in the pan. Then run a sharp knife around the edges and gently remove from the pan. The slices will be quite sticky. Store unsliced loaves on the counter, covered, for up to a week. Loaves can also be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months.


For the chocolate ganache

  1. Just pour warm cream over the chocolate and butter. Whisk till smooth. Keep warm. 

For the orange syrup

  1. Boil everything till syrupy. keep warm.