With the name AliBabka, how could I NOT have that perfect babka recipe?! I have made so many babkas in the past two years that I have lost count. But let me be honest with you, all the babkas I made were actually quite tasty…if my goal was to make sweet challah. The dough was just never right. The previous contenders were all delicious, had a sweet and amazing aroma, and looked beautiful, but they weren’t the one!
This babka recipe is adapted from the Jerusalem Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. If you do not own it, I highly recommend purchasing this cookbook. All the recipes I have made from the cookbook turned out amazing and the pictures make you want to eat the book in its entirety!
Babka is a yeast cake and yeast cakes are tricky. There’s that small border between bread and cake. Too far to the left and you have a bread, to far to the right and you have a birthday cake. The perfect yeast cake is in between. This babka recipe is not fast. The dough need a lot of time to rise and rest. Once you get through the waiting I guarantee you will have the most fantastic babka waiting for you on the other side! With that being said, may I present to you what I would consider to be The Ali”Babka”!
Makes 2 Babkas
4 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Fast Rising Active Dry Yeast
1 Lemon, Zested
1/2 C. Water
1/4 tsp. Salt
2/3 C. Earth Balance, cut into chunks
Oil, for greasing
Chocolate Filling: (I love chocolate babkas so this is super chocolaty)
1 C. Confectioners Sugar
2/3 C. Cocoa Powder
9 Oz. Chocolate, Melted
1 C. Earth Balance, Melted
2 C. Pecans, Coarsely Chopped (optional)
2 TBS. Sugar
Syrup (to cover cakes):
2/3 C. Water
1 1/4 C. Sugar
Place the flour, sugar, yeast and lemon zest in a kitchen aid stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and water and mix on low speed for a few seconds and then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes until the dough comes together. Add the salt and start adding the earth balance, a few cubes at a time until it is incorporated into the dough. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is completely smooth and elastic. During mixing scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Place dough in a large bowl brushed with oil and cover with plastic wrap. leave in the fridge overnight (at least half a day).
Grease two 9X4 loaf pans with spray or oil.
Mix together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate and butter to form a paste.
Divide the dough in half and roll out one of the halves of dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 15X11 inches. Spread half of the chocolate filling over the rectangle leaving a
2cm border all around. Sprinkle half the pecans and sugar over chocolate.
Brush a little bit of water on border of dough. Use both hands to roll the longer side up like a roulade or jelly roll. Press to seal the dough and rest on the seam.
Trim about 1 inch off the end of each side of the roulade (these are extra pieces so you can bake them and eat them as little pastries or rugelach). Use a knife to gently cut lengthwise, starting at top and finishing at seam. With cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half and put left side over right and repeat to create a twirl (always keep filling side up). Pinch together the other end of the intertwined babka and put in loaf pan. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Cover the pan with a wet paper towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. The cake will rise about 10 percent.
Preheat oven to 375. Remove towels and place cakes in the middle rack of the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
While cakes are in the oven make the syrup. Combine the water and the sugar in a sauce pan and place over medium heat till it reaches a boil and all the sugar is dissolved. Take the syrup off the stove immediately and cool. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush the syrup over them Use up ALL the syrup. Leave the cakes until they are warm and remove them from the pan to cool the rest of the way before serving.
From the Jersusalem Cookbook how to roll the babka