Babka (Chocolate - Cinnamon - Tomato Basil)
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
So, in Pastry School, we had a 6-week bread course. Of all the bread I made, the rich, sweet, flaky ones were my favorite. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need milk, eggs, and butter to create rich challahs and flaky croissants. You just need strong arms (or a stand mixer w/ a dough hook attachment), a clean countertop, and a little bit of patience!
The secret to flaky layers or stretchy dough is kneading the dough long enough, but not too long! Doing the “Window Pane” test is the best way to ensure you’ve done sufficient kneading! Here is a quick video of me testing the Babka Dough.
This Babka is a perfect addition to breakfast or brunch! You can top it with vegan butter or cream cheese! You could even toast it, or use it as a base for the most incredible french toast you'll ever eat!
Here is the recipe! Followed by a video of how to roll out, fill and twist the Babka in order to get that swirled Babka look!
1/2 c. Sugar
1 c. Water (warm), up to 1/2 c. more if needed
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/3 c. Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
4 c. AP Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. Vegan Butter, melted
1/2 c. Dark Chocolate, melted
1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1/2 c. Cocoa Powder
1 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 c AP Flour
1 T Cinnamon
2 T Vegan Butter, Melted
1-2 T Water
SUNDRIED TOMATO BASIL FILLING:
3 Tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
2 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil.
1 T dark brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 c. AP Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1-2 T Vegan Butter, Melted
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough attachment, combine 1 cup of warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it becomes bubbly.
Add remaining dough ingredients and mix on medium-low speed for 3 minutes. The dough should be soft but not too dry. If it seems dry or hard, add up to 1/2 cup more of water at this point. Add it slowly, 1 Tbsp at a time, giving about 30 seconds between each addition for the flour to absorb the water.
Mix for 3-4 more minutes or until it is soft and springy. (Here is where I use the windowpane test above to ensure I achieve my desired texture)
Do your best to shape the dough into a ball, and transfer it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm, dark area until it is doubled in size.
This will take about an hour. During this time, prepare your fillings and streusel. For the chocolate and cinnamon filling, simply combine everything and mix until smooth. For the tomato filling, combine everything in a food processor and mix until smooth, scraping the sides down as needed. For the streusel, combine all of your dry ingredients, start with 1 Tablespoon of butter, and add more if it’s too dry. Don't exceed 3 Tablespoons.
Prepare 2 loaf pans (Mine were 9 inches by 5 inches) w/ cooking spray or parchment. Set aside for later.
Turn out dough (after it has doubled in size) onto a lightly greased or floured surface. Divide into 2 pieces. Set one aside, covered until you’re ready to use it.
Roll each dough portion into a square (mine were between 12 and 14 inches on each side).
Spread on your fillings as evenly as possible, and then roll your square into a log.
Slice your log down the middle, leaving about an inch on top intact. Twist one side of your log clockwise and the other side counterclockwise, and then twist both sides together.
Pinch the end to seal, and then carefully place it into your loaf pan.
Repeat with your second portion of dough and your other filling, and cover both of your loaves with a towel. (TUTORIAL FOR SHAPING BELOW!)
Leave to rest at room temperature until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375*F.
Once your Babka has doubled in size, Brush your cinnamon babka with water, and top with as much streusel as your heart desires!
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until they are nicely browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out without doughy-ness on it. Internal temperature should be at least 190*F.
Allow them to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will allow them to finish cooking and the filling will be set enough to avoid a mess.
(The video below shows how I fill and twist the Babka if the instructions were confusing.)