Festivus Babka


In this case, bubby made a babka.



4 1/4 cups (530 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons instant yeast

Grated zest of 1 small lemon

1/2 cup water and up to 1 to 2 tablespoons extra, if needed

3/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

Neutral oil for greasing


4 1/2 ounces (130 grams) dark chocolate (about 3/4 cup chocolate chips)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

Scant ½ cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

½ cup pecans, chopped


1/3 cup water

6 tablespoons sugar

Make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in stand mixer. Add eggs and 1/2 cup water, mixing with the dough hook until it comes together; this may take a couple minutes. Add extra water 1 tablespoon at a time if not coming together, until the dough forms a mass. With the mixer on low, add the salt, then the butter, a spoonful at a time, mixing until it’s incorporated into the dough. Then, mix on medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is completely smooth. You can add extra flour if needed.

Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Leave in fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight.

Make filling: Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and cocoa; mixture should form a spreadable paste.

Assemble loaves: Coat two 9-by-4-inch (2 1/4 or 1kg) loaf pans with oil or butter, and line the bottom of each with a rectangle of parchment paper. Take half of dough from fridge (leave the other half chilled). Roll out on a well-floured counter to about a 10-inch width (the side closest to you) and as long in length (away from you) as you can when rolling it thin, likely 10 to 12 inches.

Spread half of chocolate mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Sprinkle with ½ the pecans and cinnamon. Brush the end farthest away from you with water. Roll the dough up with the filling into a long, tight cigar. Seal the dampened end onto the log. I found that transferring the log to a lightly floured baking tray in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes made it much, much easier to cut cleanly in half. Repeat with second dough.

Trim last 1/2-inch off each end of log. Gently cut the log in half length-wise and lay them next to each other on the counter, cut sides up. Pinch the top ends gently together. Lift one side over the next, forming a twist and trying to keep the cut sides facing out.

Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise another 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Repeat process with second loaf.

Heat oven to 375°F. Bake for 30 minutes. When fully baked, you’ll feel almost no resistance. If you babka needs more time, put it back, 5 minutes at a time then re-test.

While babkas are baking, make syrup: Bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool somewhat. As soon as the babkas leave the oven, brush the syrup all over each. It will seem like too much, but will taste just right — glossy and moist. Let cool about halfway in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way before eating.

They freeze well.

I followed this recipe.


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