Ever since the Jerry Sienfeld episode on television, I discovered chocolate babka. I never had it before, so I went and bought one. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
It’s a mystery as to who created the babka. The Polish people claim that Eastern European Jews ( Ashkenazi ) got the idea from them. The Ashkenazi claim the opposite. But does anyone really care, because either version results in a delicious creation. I am sure that the original recipe has gone through many transformations. The babka can be swirl in shape or it can be pan shaped like a challah.
It is interesting to note that babka means grandmother in Polish.
The yummiest recipe which I have found was in The Jewish Press (http://www.jewishomaha.org/jewish-press/2013/chocolate-babka-why-we-love-jewish-food/)
The Source for the article came from the book Kosher by Design Cooking Coach
Kosher by Design Cooking Coach
by Susie Fishbein
Chocolate Babka Meltaway
2/3 cups milk or unsweetened soymilk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted but not hot
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
4 cups bread flour
Non-stick cooking spray
12 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ stick butter or margarine, melted
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or the bowl of a Magic Mill or Bosch mixer, beat the milk or soymilk, eggs, butter or margarine, water, sugar, salt and yeast, until combined. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook. On low speed, incorporate the flour and mix until smooth, shiny dough is formed, about 6-7 minutes. If using a bread machine, add the ingredients to the pan according to manufacturer’s directions and set to dough cycle. You can also knead all the ingredients by hand until a smooth satiny dough is formed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile prepare the chocolate filling. On a cutting board, with a sharp knife, preferably serrated, very finely shop and shave the chocolate. Transfer it along with any of the shavings from the cutting board to a large bowl. If you don’t have good knife skills, you can transfer moderately sized chunks to the food processor to pulse until finely chopped. Return the chocolate to the large bowl. Mix in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour the warm melted butter over the mixture and stir until chocolate is coated and it looks like wet sand.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 (9-inch) springform pans with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a large 17X21 inch rectangle. Sprinkle on the chocolate filling in an even layer to cover all the dough. Starting with the long side of the rectangle, roll up the dough, jelly-roll fashion. You can use a bench scraper or thin metal spatula to help ease it off the counter and to help roll. Using a sawing motion, cut into 1 inch thick slices.
5. Place the rolls flat into the prepared springform pans. It’s okay if the rolls don’t completely fill the pan; they will expand as they bake.
6. Prepare the crumb topping. Place the confectioner’s sugar and all-purpose flour into a medium bowl. Add the melted butter or margarine and pinch to form large crumbs. Make sure they look moist, but don’t over pinch: leave most of the crumbs nice and big, about 1 inch.
7. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, until the crumbs look dry, the chocolate looks melty, and the dough is baked and starting to brown in some spots. Do not overbake or the cake will be dry, especially if making in advance and reheating.
8. When ready to serve, release the spring on the pan and remove outside ring. Serve warm or at room temperature.