Week 141: Chocolate babka

Have been wanting to try out this recipe for a while, but somehow just never got to it until now. (Also, there were some pretty delicious looking loafs in The Great British Bake-Off a while back, which motivated me to bake one for myself.)

Since I have some macadamias in my fridge, I decided to use it here. And I also made some streusel to substitute for the brownie / cookie bits. I did not use up all the streusel for this loaf, but honestly, the streusel is quite delicious even eaten on its own. So, don’t worry about it.

Makes a 5″ x 9″ loaf

For the chocolate streusel

60 grams all-purpose flour

45 grams granulated sugar

11 grams cocoa powder

4 grams kosher salt

64 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed

1) Prepare baking tray by lining it with baking parchment.

2) Preheat convection oven to 175C.

3) Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and using the metal blade, pulse a few times until ingredients are well-mixed but still with large pieces around the size of peas.

4) Pour the content of the food processor onto baking tray, spread out the batter to prevent stacking, then bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

For the dough

7g instant yeast

100g whole milk

5g granulated sugar

90g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/4 tsp salt

280g all-purpose flour

1) Add everything except 240g of the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix using the dough hook until mixture comes to together.

2) Slowly add the remaining flour and mix under dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.

3) Lightly oil a container and scrap dough into container and allow to proof in the refrigerator overnight.

To assemble

100g unsalted butter, cubed

150g granulated sugar

80g dark chocolate couverture

40g unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

65g toasted macadamia (or any kind of nuts you prefer), coarsely chopped

65g chocolate streusel (from above) or crumbled brownie or chocolate wafer cookie bits

1) Butter a 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper with overhang to make removal easier.

2) Melt butter in a saucepan. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.

3) Remove from heat and add chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute, then stir to melt the chocolate. Stir in cocoa powder and ground cinnamon.

4) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle of 30cm x 50cm. It will be quite thin.

5) Spread the melted chocolate filling on the dough, all the way to the edge of the dough, then sprinkle nuts and streusel over the chocolate. Starting at one of the long edge, roll up the dough tightly, so you end up with a 50cm long log.

6) If at this point, the dough is too soft to handle, pop it into the refrigerator for 20 minutes to let it cool.

7) Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise, then place the 2 halves, cut side up, side by side. Twist the 2 logs to form a “rope”. Then lift the rope carefully and place it in the prepared loaf pan.

8) Allow to proof at a warm place for about 2 hours or until the loaf as almost doubled in size.

9) 15 minutes before baking, preheat convection oven to 190C. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. If the top of the loaf starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with aluminium foil.

10) Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before unmolding it.

Result? Very rich and chocolatey. Probably more cake than bread. Ah well, can’t really go wrong with cake, right? Especially with loads of chocolate.

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