A rich sweet bread filled with the perfect combination of flavours – chocolate and hazelnut. It was absolutely delicious for breakfast. When slices are lightly toasted the outside is slightly crisp while the inside is soft and warm with just-starting-to-melt chocolate. Smear a little butter on it and serve with an espresso to make it a complete breakfast treat.

I did increase the quantity of filling from the original recipe from Gourmet Traveller but next time I make it I will roll the dough out into a larger rectangle so that it can accommodate more chocolate filling and also create more layers. I’ll add some spice too, probably cinnamon. ‘Next time’ will probably be Easter as this is the traditional time for eating babka.

I first heard of babka from the Seinfeld episode The Dinner Party. From that I knew that a chocolate babka was the best! Which is why I chose to make a chocolate babka for Poland’s Independence Day (9 November). Babka isn’t widely available in Australia and so this is only the second babka I have ever eaten. The other babka was an Easter gift from a generous Ukrainian lady. It was flavoured with raisins. I would really love to know what other flavours are great in a babka?

Chocolate & Hazelnut Babka

Makes one loaf

90ml/3 fl oz milk, lukewarm
one 7g sachet dried yeast
55g (1/4 cup) caster/superfine sugar
240g (1.5 cups) bread flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
110g/4oz butter
150g/5oz hazelnuts (skinless)
120g/4oz dark chocolate, chopped
Demerara sugar

Combine the milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand until the yeast has activated (it will look foamy).
Place the yeast mix and a few tablespoons of the flour into the bowl of a standing mixer and mix until well combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, sugar and salt; mix . Then slowly add the flour and mix until smooth. Gradually add 75g/2.6oz of the butter. Mix the dough until it is shiny, elastic and soft. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl until it has doubled in size. This will take about 1-1.5 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Place the hazelnuts in a non-stick frypan and heat until toasted. Grind the nuts into a coarse meal. Add the remaining butter and blend until smooth.

When the dough has risen, lightly knead the dough and roll into a rectangle approx 20x30cm/8x12inches. Spread over the hazelnut mixture and the chocolate. Leave a border of about 4cm/1.5inches all around. Roll one long side to the other until it is a long sausage shape. Bring the two ends together to form a loop. Then fold one end over to form a figure eight shape. Place in a lined loaf tin. Sprinkle Demerara sugar over the top. Set aside for one hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the tin.
Bake in a oven preheated to 180C/355F for about 35-40 minutes. Once cooked, leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out.


8 thoughts on “Babka

  1. I have only ever eaten babka once and it was when I was visiting friends in Ukraine whom I’d met online. Everything this woman cooked was fantastic and I told myself I would make varenyky and babka when I got home. It’s been over a year and I haven’t done either. You’ve inspired me to go forth and cook!

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