CHOCOLATE BABKA

Posted on: May 17, 2020. Updated on: July 12, 2023.

by Carolina Gelen

INGREDIENTS (1 loaf)

FOR THE DOUGH:

GRAMS

  • 25 grams fresh yeast or 7 grams active dry / instant yeast
  • 70 grams sugar
  • 180 grams lukewarm milk
  • 350-400 grams all purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites)
  • 8 grams salt
  • 65 grams room temperature butter
  • 5 grams vanilla extract
  • 200-300 grams Nutella (depending on how chocolatey you’d like it to be)

CUPS

  • 1 tablespoon active dry / instant yeast
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons of lukewarm milk
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4.5 tablespoons of room temperature butter (a bit over 1/2 stick of butter)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2/3 to 1 cup of Nutella (depending on how chocolatey you’d like it to be)

FOR THE SYRUP:

GRAMS

  • 50 grams sugar
  • 50 grams water

CUPS

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1

Mix the yeast, sugar, vanilla and lukewarm milk in a bowl, until the yeast and sugar have dissolved.

If you are using dry yeast, make sure it is still active by letting it sit in the liquid for 10-15 minutes – if it’s foamy and bubbly, use it, if it isn’t, then just try another sachet of yeast.

Step 2

Add the egg yolks to the bowl, reserving the egg whites for later.

Step 3

Next, add the salt and 350 grams or 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour to your batter. Mix everything until most of the flour has been hydrated (until there are no dry spots). If the dough feels too wet, add the rest of the flour, 50 grams or 1/2 cup.

Step 4

Next, you know it, it’s time to knead. Once all the flour has been hydrated, toss a tablespoon of room temperature butter at a time in the dough. Knead the dough until the butter has been fully absorbed by our babka dough and add the next knob of butter. Keep doing that until you have added all the butter to the dough.

This step will be easier to do if you are using a stand mixer, but hand kneading will work just as fine, just a bit more effort!

TIP:

If the dough feels harder to knead, give it 5-10 minutes to relax and get back at it – the gluten strands will loosen up during that pause, which will make the dough easier to knead. You want to feel like you are kneading the dough, not fighting it.

What i noticed helped me a lot was dumping my dough onto the table, instead of kneading it in the bowl. This will give you more control over your dough.

If you feel like adding a couple more tablespoons of flour to your dough at this point, feel free to do so, the hydration of the flour depends on the level of moisture in the air, temperature of the room and other factors.

You will know the dough is done kneading once it becomes smooth, lump free and starts to clean the bowl/table you are kneading it on, the kneaded dough should look like this:

Our aim is to go from this, add all the butter and knead…
…to this, a well knead dough with all the butter knobs incorporated!

Step 6

Next, it’s time to let our kneaded dough proof. Place the dough in a lightly buttered/greased bowl, cover it and give it 1-2 hours in a warm spot until it doubles in size.

You will know the dough is done proofing once, if you poke it, your finger will leave and indent in the dough and the dough won’t spring back.

Step 7

Once the dough is done proofing, the next step will be to add the chocolate spread on our dough: simply dump your dough onto the working surface, flatten it out and roll it 2 cm thick (less than 1 inch thick) with a rolling pin, trying to maintain a rectangular shape.

Step 8

Next, add the chocolate spread on your rolled dough and spread it evenly using a spatula, spoon or bench scraper. The more chocolate you’ll add, the messier things will get, but it is worth it!

Step 9

Next, roll out the dough, tightly, as shown below. Cut the dough in half, lengthwise and braid the two halves together. Line a loaf tin with some parchment paper and add your braided babka in the tin. Let your babka proof once again for 30-40 minutes, covered, in a warm spot.

The tin really gives our babka structure and height and keeps all the chocolate filling in! So if you are skipping that part, just know there’s a possibility for your babka to flatten out onto the baking tin and for all the chocolate filling to drizzle out!

Step 10

Preheat your oven at 175-180°C (350°F).

Step 11

Once your babka is done proofing, brush it with some of those remaining egg whites (you can dilute them with a couple tablespoons of water if your oven tends to burn).

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown – don’t take my word for it, though, keep an eye on the babka, everyone’s oven tends to bake differently. I usually lift the parchment paper from time to time to check the bottom of the babka, it should look golden brown and not feel soggy.

I did not experience this problem, but if your chocolate starts to burn on top, no worries, just cover the loaf tin with some aluminum foil, this will prevent it from burning any further.

Step 12

For the simple syrup, mix the sugar and water together in a sauce pan on medium heat, until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture reached the boiling temperature.

Step 13

Next, once your babka is done baking, brush the simple syrup all over its crust – this will seal the babka, keep its moisture in and give it the glossiest finish.

If you want a clean, swirly looking cut of the babka, make sure to let it cool completely!

But I won’t take the joy of watching that oozy chocolate filling come out of the hot, right out the oven, freshly cut babka, either!

I took this to a family dinner today, I baked the babka there, and let me tell you, the loaf has fully evaporated in not more than 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven!

*DISCLAIMER*
This is what the babka looks cut without letting it cool off completely!
A chocolaty mess!

CHOCOLATE BABKA

3.9 / 5. from 17

Click to vote

3.9 / 5. from 17

Click to vote

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH:

GRAMS

  • 25 grams fresh yeast or 7 grams active dry / instant yeast
  • 70 grams sugar
  • 180 grams lukewarm milk
  • 350-400 grams all purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites)
  • 8 grams salt
  • 65 grams room temperature butter
  • 5 grams vanilla extract
  • 200-300 grams Nutella (depending on how chocolatey you’d like it to be)

CUPS

  • 1 tablespoon active dry / instant yeast
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons of lukewarm milk
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4.5 tablespoons of room temperature butter (a bit over 1/2 stick of butter)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2/3 to 1 cup of Nutella (depending on how chocolatey you’d like it to be)

FOR THE SYRUP:

GRAMS

  • 50 grams sugar
  • 50 grams water

CUPS

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, vanilla and lukewarm milk in a bowl, until the yeast and sugar have dissolved.

    If you are using dry yeast, make sure it is still active by letting it sit in the liquid for 10-15 minutes – if it’s foamy and bubbly, use it, if it isn’t, then just try another sachet of yeast.

  2. Add the egg yolks to the bowl, reserving the egg whites for later.

  3. Next, add the salt and 350 grams or 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour to your batter. Mix everything until most of the flour has been hydrated (until there are no dry spots). If the dough feels too wet, add the rest of the flour, 50 grams or 1/2 cup.
  4. Next, you know it, it’s time to knead. Once all the flour has been hydrated, toss a tablespoon of room temperature butter at a time in the dough. Knead the dough until the butter has been fully absorbed by our babka dough and add the next knob of butter. Keep doing that until you have added all the butter to the dough.

    This step will be easier to do if you are using a stand mixer, but hand kneading will work just as fine, just a bit more effort!

    TIP:

    If the dough feels harder to knead, give it 5-10 minutes to relax and get back at it – the gluten strands will loosen up during that pause, which will make the dough easier to knead. You want to feel like you are kneading the dough, not fighting it.

    What i noticed helped me a lot was dumping my dough onto the table, instead of kneading it in the bowl. This will give you more control over your dough.

    If you feel like adding a couple more tablespoons of flour to your dough at this point, feel free to do so, the hydration of the flour depends on the level of moisture in the air, temperature of the room and other factors.

    You will know the dough is done kneading once it becomes smooth, lump free and starts to clean the bowl/table you are kneading it on, the kneaded dough should look like this:

  5. Next, it’s time to let our kneaded dough proof. Place the dough in a lightly buttered/greased bowl, cover it and give it 1-2 hours in a warm spot until it doubles in size.

    You will know the dough is done proofing once, if you poke it, your finger will leave and indent in the dough and the dough won’t spring back.

  6. Once the dough is done proofing, the next step will be to add the chocolate spread on our dough: simply dump your dough onto the working surface, flatten it out and roll it 2 cm thick (less than 1 inch thick) with a rolling pin, trying to maintain a rectangular shape.

  7. Next, add the chocolate spread on your rolled dough and spread it evenly using a spatula, spoon or bench scraper. The more chocolate you’ll add, the messier things will get, but it is worth it!
  8. Next, roll out the dough, tightly, as shown below. Cut the dough in half, lengthwise and braid the two halves together. Line a loaf tin with some parchment paper and add your braided babka in the tin. Let your babka proof once again for 30-40 minutes, covered, in a warm spot.

    The tin really gives our babka structure and height and keeps all the chocolate filling in! So if you are skipping that part, just know there’s a possibility for your babka to flatten out onto the baking tin and for all the chocolate filling to drizzle out!

  9. Preheat your oven at 175-180°C (350°F).

  10. Once your babka is done proofing, brush it with some of those remaining egg whites (you can dilute them with a couple tablespoons of water if your oven tends to burn).

    Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown – don’t take my word for it, though, keep an eye on the babka, everyone’s oven tends to bake differently. I usually lift the parchment paper from time to time to check the bottom of the babka, it should look golden brown and not feel soggy.

    I did not experience this problem, but if your chocolate starts to burn on top, no worries, just cover the loaf tin with some aluminum foil, this will prevent it from burning any further.

  11. For the simple syrup, mix the sugar and water together in a sauce pan on medium heat, until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture reached the boiling temperature.

  12. Next, once your babka is done baking, brush the simple syrup all over its crust – this will seal the babka, keep its moisture in and give it the glossiest finish.

    If you want a clean, swirly looking cut of the babka, make sure to let it cool completely!

    But I won’t take the joy of watching that oozy chocolate filling come out of the hot, right out the oven, freshly cut babka, either!

    I took this to a family dinner today, I baked the babka there, and let me tell you, the loaf has fully evaporated in not more than 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven!

Carolina Gelen

I speak 5 languages, but my favorite way to communicate is through the universal language of food. I translate food to be more approachable and accessible for the everyday cook. I didn't grow up with a lot, so I’ve always loved thrifting and finding a good sale. That also shapes my approach to cooking: I try to make most of my recipes as affordable as possible, and that is what my SCRAPS newsletter is about. Every two weeks I will send an exclusive recipe to your inbox. Subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and website.

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16 thoughts on "CHOCOLATE BABKA"

  1. Sm says:

    What size pan do you use?

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      Anything works really! I used a 9 x 5 for the one in the photo.

  2. Sara says:

    Looks amazing.
    Any other option of chocolate filling that is not nutella?

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      You could replace the Nutella with some chocolate chunks, smear some regular butter or vegan butter on the dough, then top it all of with the hard chocolate and roll it up. The chocolate will fully melt in the oven!

      1. Sasha says:

        What can I substitute for the eggs?

  3. Natasha says:

    You mentioned baking it elsewhere…how far in advance can you make/assemble it? Any tips for traveling?

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      Hi Natasha! In those videos you saw, I braided the babka at home, then went to a lunch right away. I let it proof there, while we were eating and baked it right after that. You could most definitely make the dough, let it proof in the fridge overnight, then finish everything off the next day. It’s very easy to transport as long as you place it in a loaf tin after shaping it.

  4. Sophia says:

    Hi Carolina!, I followed this recipe just how it is, using the same temperature and pan. However, I had trouble baking it, it cooked well on the outside but in the inside was still raw, I baked it for a few more minutes and the next morning was very dry …any suggestions for next time?

    1. Carolina Gelen says:

      Hi Sophia, I am sorry to hear that! My first guess is that your oven perhaps doesn’t get as hot as mine does, so I would raise up the temperature a little bit, hopefully that will help!

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi Caroline! I only have almond milk, do you think that could be used in place of regular milk? Thank you so much!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Saw you on Jake Cohen’s live. You’re adorable! Will be following you now. Gonna try your babka tomorrow!

  7. JEM says:

    This was great but not nearly as gooey and chocolatey as yours. Guess I need to use a whole jar of Nutella.

  8. Kim says:

    Hi Carolina,
    Any ratio suggestions for a cinnamon version?

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a lovely recipe. Loved it . Love your work. you make it look so simple & easy, as it should be.

  10. sana says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you think this will work well with a gluten free all purpose flour? Will that change much/make it more difficult? Thanks so much!

  11. Hannah says:

    Thank you for this incredible Babka recipe, Carolina! It was incredible. I baked up a cinnamon and a nutella using your recipe. All my friends and family are begging me to bake again. I never could have imagined baking babka, but you broke it down so it was so simple. You are an amazing recipe developer!