I think we can all agree that Zoë Francois (@zoebakes) js a mad genius. Her instagram feed will blow your mind and her how-to videos are the stuff of legends. Zoë also writes books with her pal, Jeff Hertzberg, about making homemade bread in five minutes a day. Their newest book, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, arrived in the mail a few weeks back, and so (duh) chocolate babka is happening this week.
I fiddled with the babka filling just a tad, creating my own of cocoa powder and sugar and butter, with a sprinkling of mini chips, but the luxurious and rich (and eggy) dough is all Zoë. I also halved the recipe from the book, which left me with enough dough for two large loaves – one of which I left plain, as you can see below – and it was beyond lovely slathered with butter and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt, just saying. If you do this, make only half the amount of chocolate filling called for in the recipe.
As for the chocolate one, it is true that I may have gone a tad overboard with the chocolate, so feel free to be more restrained than I was . . . if restraint is what floats your boat (fun fact – it does not float mine . . . ).
- For the bread makes 2 loaves:
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- For the filling:
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- Mix water, yolks, yeast, sugar, salt and butter in large bowl. Add flour and mix again. Cover the bowl loosely in plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for two hours.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let cool for at least three hours, or up to 5 days. When ready to bake, you can make two loaves at the same time, or one on one day, and one on the other. Just make sure you use the dough within five days o making it. The directions below are for baking them both simultaneously.
- Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray or softened butter.
- Combine all of the filling ingredients, save for the chips and set aside.
- Divide the dough in half and dust each half with flour. Quickly shape each piece into a rough ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
- Let one ball rest while you roll out the other into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle, about 12 to 15 inches, dusting with flour as needed.
- Spread half of the filling on the rolled out dough and sprinkle with half the chips. Starting with the long side of the dough, roll it up into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and stretch the log so it is 2-inches wide. Cut the log in half the long way, and twist the two long pieces together, with the cut side facing up. Form an oval with the ends together and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temp for 90 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees and bake the loaves for about 45 minutes, until golden brown and set.remove from the pans to cool slightly before diving in . . .