How to make the best chocolate babka recipe, a perfectly soft and rich brioche dough filled with a delicious homemade chocolate sauce. This easy-to-make-at-home recipe is perfect for breakfast, brunch or snack time.
The original Babka recipe is a traditional Polish Easter cake, also called baba, which means "grandmother" and which is baked in a skirt-shaped pan.
But this recipe is actually quite different from the one we know today, which would rather come from the Jewish community of Eastern Europe.
The Babka that we see today on all feeds and that we also call Krantz cake is rather a very soft and rich braided brioche with a buttery and stringy crumb.
The Babka brioche is filled with a sweet sauce or even a savory version, then it is rolled, cut and braided to give it this marbled and very tasty appearance
Babka recipes can be filled with all kinds of fillings, savory or sweet, as shown here with homemade dark chocolate sauce, chocolate spread Nutella, jam, pastry cream, fruit, chocolate chips, sugar cinnamon filling or even peanut butter.
This is my favorite babka recipe, so easy to prepare at home and no one can resist its soft, buttery crumb, perfect for brunch, breakfast or a snack.
Ingredients and substitutions
Here are the ingredients needed and possible substitutions to make this delicious babka at home, scroll down to see the quantities in the recipe card.
Bread dough :
- Flour: Use white wheat all-purpose flou, plain flour or bread flour.
- Sugar: White granulated sugar or cane sugar.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter softened at room temperature or even melted butter.
- Egg: Large and at room temperature, run it under hot water for a few moments if you didn't have time to take it out beforehand.
- Milk: Use semi-skimmed milk, whole milk or even a plant base milk lile almond milk. It should be lukewarm at about 25°C. You can heat it up in the microwave or in a saucepan.
- Yeast: 1 packet of dry yeast or fresh yeast.
- Salt: A small pinch of table salt or kosher salt
- Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans for a touch of crunch, to add to the filling or to sprinkle on top before baking.
- Spices and teas: As in the cinnamon babka version, to flavor the dough or with a cinnamon-flavored filling, or matcha tea or chai spices.
- Streusel: A crumble like streusel topping for extra flavor.
- Filling: melted chocolate filling, Nutella spread, biscoff spread, fruit jam, chocolate chips and more.
You will find the quantities and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this page.
How to make babka with chocolate filling
1 - Make the dough
- Start by rehydrating the instant yeast by mixing it with the warm milk and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Then place the flour, sugar and salt, and egg in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
- Then pour in the mixing bowl the yeast mixture.
- Then add the softened butter cut into pieces and mix for about 5 minutes. (the dough must be smooth, it detaches itself from the bowl but remains sticky to the touch)
- And cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hour, the time it doubles in volume.
Tip: You can prepare the dough the day before and let it rise in the fridge, chilled dough is easier to handle and tastes better.
2 - Chocolate filling
- In a small bowl, place all ingredients, chopped chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, and unsalted butter.
- Heat in the microwave or in a small saucepan at medium heat for a few moments and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a thick chocolate sauce like a spread and the sugar dissolves.
Tip: Add a bit of cinnamon ground to flavor the filling, and chocolate chips or simply replace the filling with Nutella or jam.
3 - Fill and roll the brioche
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and use your hands to degas it.
- Start by rolling out the dough into a large rectangle.
- Then top with an offset spatula the entire surface of the rolled dough with the chocolate sauce.
- Roll the dough lengthwise to form a long roll.
- Using a large knife, cut the dough half lengthwise in the center to form 2 long strips revealing the chocolate grooves.
Tip: If the dough is too soft, you can let it rest in the fridge for a while to make it easier to handle.
4 - Braiding the dough
- Braid the 2 pieces of dough starting by crossing them in the center to form a cross.
- Then take the upper ends and cross them together.
- And again take the 2 bottom ends and cross them too.
- Continue until you have a nice braid.
Tip: Always try to keep the folds and cuts visible on the top for a nice effect after baking.
5 - Baking
- Prepare a loaf pan with baking paper or grease with butter or cake spray.
- Place the braided bread in the prepared loaf pan lined with parchment paper, trying to place the ends underneath.
- Let the babka bun rise for about 1 hour at room temperature until it swells again.
- Apply a layer of egg wash to the bun with a pastry brush.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C and bake the chocolate babka for 20 to 30 minutes, until it is puffed and golden brown on top.
- Let the chocolate babka brioche cool completely in its loaf pan before unmolding it and serve warm.
Tip: You can add a streusel topping to the brioche before baking for a crunchy layer, or brush on a layer of sugar syrup after baking.
Storage and freeze
Room temperature: You can store the babka in a storage box with an airtight container or under a cloth at room temperature for about 1 week.
I suggest you reheat the brioche a little in the microwave or in a toaster it is best served warm.
How to freeze babka? You can also cut it into pieces and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it come back to room temperature or use the defrost function of your microwave.
2 Tips for making homemade brioche
1 - Use ingredients at the right temperature
This concerns the egg and the butter mainly, which must be at room temperature so that it can be incorporated into the dough.
Concerning the warm milk, it should not exceed 25°C and you can add a little sugar in addition to the yeast to activate the fermentation.
2 - Let the dough rest in the fridge
It is recommended to let the brioche dough rest overnight in the fridge rather than letting it rest at room temperature.
You should know that brioche dough is really sticky and to avoid adding too much flour to work it, when it is cold it is easier to work it.
More chocolate brioches
More bread recipes
- Butchy brioche buns
- Cinnamon rolls Kanelbullar
- Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
- Homemade soft pretzels
- Cinnamon sugar pretzels
- Sesame bagels
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