What differentiates a babka from a brioche?
So the original recipe I got this from titled this as a “chocolate babka”. But it used butter for its enrichment, a decidedly non kosher ingredient which removes this bread from its supposed Jewish roots.
Is it a chocolate brioche then? But this bread is slightly firmer and drier than what I would associate with brioche, and y’know, I didn’t want to advertise this as a rich, buttery brioche for my friends to feedback that this bread was DRY.
Which is why I’m just going to call this chocolate bread. But call it what you want because I don’t think anyone actually cares.
The star of this bread is definitely its rich, crunchy streusel topping. Reminiscent of brownie edges, the streusel adds some texture and flavour variation to what would otherwise be a pretty one-dimensional bread. And makes the top look so appetising.
If eaten warm, the oozing meltiness of the chocolate chips is a big plus point as well too.
I followed the chocolate fudge filling recipe in the original recipe but could not, for the life of me, get the fudge to firm up – even after a night in the refrigerator. And the recipe said the fudge was supposed to be at room temperature! So when I tried to roll the bread dough up with the chocolate filling all the fudge oozed out, leading to the slightly anaemic chocolate swirl you see in the bread.
So I’m not going to include the fudge recipe below. I’d probably straight up roll some chocolate chips into the bread next time, or use a different fudge recipe.
And as I mentioned before, the texture of this bread is more like a babka than a brioche. So it’s going to be more of an everyday (less rich) kind of bread rather than a naughtily decadent brioche. Saying that however, I am a self-indulgent kind of person and would definitely try to top a brioche with the chocolate streusel in a future bake.
I adapted the recipe from here.
- 4g instant yeast
- 33g sugar (1/6 cup)
- 265g all purpose flour (2 cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 60ml whole milk (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 large eggs, room temperature + 1 egg for egg wash
- 70g unsalted butter, room temperature (5 tbsp)
- 30g all purpose flour (1/4 cup)
- 22g sugar (1 1/2 tbsp)
- 6g cocoa powder (3/4 tbsp)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 32g unsalted butter, melted (2 1/4 tbsp)
- 30g mini semisweet chocolate chips (1/6 cup)
- In a large bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon together.
- Add the milk, vanilla and eggs into the dough. Knead until smooth.
- Add half of the butter and knead into the dough. Then add the rest of the butter into the dough and knead until windowpane stage.
- Cover the dough and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the streusel.
- In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
- Add the melted butter until evenly distributed.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Put into the fridge to firm up.
- When the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough and roll out into a rectangle roughly twice the length of your container or slightly shorter. Spread the surface of the rectangle with your filling of choice (I’d recommend chocolate chips or some kind of chocolate spread).
- Roll the dough from the long edge.
- Cut the dough lengthwise, and position the cut edges upwards. Twist the two halves together, and fold the dough in half (see notes).
- Place the bread in the container. Cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
- Egg wash the top of the bread. Sprinkle the struesel on the bread.
- Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for 40-50 minutes. If the bread starts browning too fast, cover the bread with aluminum foil at around the 30 mins mark.
- All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature.
- If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the milk that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the milk. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), add the yeast-milk back into the bread at the step where the milk is supposed to be added.
- Kneading the butter into the dough after it’s already been formed helps with the structure of the bread, since butter inhibits gluten formation (apparently).
- For shaping you could see the video of the original recipe, but it’s behind a paywall.
- Egg wash just means to brush the top of the bread lightly with beaten eggs. Usually it’s to add colour but in this case I think it’d help to stick the struesel to the bread.
- If you want to be scientific about seeing when the bread is done, you can stick a thermometer into the bread which should read 185-210°C when the bread is done.