I was looking for a bread recipe, and I found this great blog called Brown-Eyed Baker that has a post “Top 10 Best Bread Recipes“; one of the listed recipes is for a Chocolate Babka that looks exactly the same as a chocolate bread that my family used to buy on Fridays at a local chain bread/sandwich shop, Beyond Bread. So, this wonderful Friday has been busy with the creation of my very first chocolate babka.
The dough is really easy to make without a standing mixer. All I needed was a wooden spoon to get the milk-yeast-egg-sugar mixture worked in, then the butter, and that did most of the trick! Probably just around fifteen minutes of kneading to work the butter all the way into the flour. The streusel recipe is a bit different from the one in my French Pastry book, and I think I prefer the French Pastry streusel since it has more flavored ingredients than sugar.
The worst part of this whole recipe was finely chopping two pounds of chocolate, for three reasons: 1) it took probably half an hour (at least); 2) the knife I was using gave me a blister which consequently burst; and, 3) I COULDN’T EAT THE CHOCOLATE (inner mantras of the day: patience is a virtue, and good always comes to those who wait).
The recipe was very easy to follow, but I would suggest reading it over at least twice before starting, just so you know what to expect when. Also, I had serious issues imagining the second half of the bread-shaping instructions, with the horseshoe and a fold of right over left to make a figure-eight. Because when I draw that picture in my head, that makes another horseshoe. I ended up just making a horseshoe and twisting the horseshoe together.
Now, we feast! (On three loaves of babka.)
My mother might complain that there’s way more chocolate in this than the chocolate bread we used to buy, but I see no reason for that to be a complaint! I ate the butt of the bread, which was crunchy, and the center swirl of bread was incredible. I’m not well-versed in the breads and their textures to compare it to a bread I’m familiar with, but I thought the bread was definitely thick enough to endure the delicious onslaught of chocolate–it lent a nice and sturdy backbone to support the chocolate.
For next time, I want to improve my twisting skills, and also figure out how rise time and kneading time affects texture. Or if any of you have suggestions, please let me know! I want my future home to be well-bread, which really starts with me.