Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, boy. She made Babka. Yeast Feast, Part 1

I've recently broken free of my fear of yeast. It's really not that hard to do. My secrets are 1) get ahold of some great recipes and 2) use the bread maker. Is that cheating? Oh, well.

The latest yeast venture was an amazing Chocolate Babka. I'm not exactly sure what a Babka is, but it's really fun to say, super fun to smell, and even more fun to eat. Actually, they say Babka is a sweet yeast cake eaten around Hanukkah. I'm ignoring that Hanukkah was about 2 months ago.

Here's the recipe (modified from Cooking Light, December 2009, yes, I've been meaning to make this for over 2 years now):

Put in the bread maker, in this order:
3/4 cup warm 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons butter, almost melted
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1 2/3 cups white flour
1 1/4 cup bread flour
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
Set the bread maker to the Dough setting and, for the next 1 hour and 28 minutes, feel very proud of yourself for making something inexpensive, ethnic, and scrumptious.

Meanwhile you can get the filling ready. Toss together in a small bowl:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or mini chocolate chips)

When your bread maker is done mixing the dough, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 16 inch square-ish shape. Sprinkle the filling on the dough to within 1/4 inch of the border.

Roll up tightly and pinch the edges to seal.

Then take the dough in both hands and twist like it's a wet towel, but not that strongly. Twist a few times along the length of the roll.

Place in a greased 9x5 inch bread pan (put parchment paper on the bottom and you'll feel especially proud of yourself when the babka comes out of the pan later). The roll will be too long, but that's OK, just tuck the ends to the side and fantasize about how interesting the marble will be inside.

Cover and let this rise for 45 minutes or so. *OR* Cover and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, let the bread dough come to room temperature before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. The original recipe calls for spreading a streusel on top (2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon softened butter, all mixed together), but I was not in love with this and will probably omit this next time.

Pop the pan in the oven for 40 minutes or until the bread is starting to brown and it seems hollow when you tap it.

Cool completely before serving.

We cut into it too soon and the chocolate oozed out. The oozing chocolate was so decadent that Music Man actually said "I think this bread is illegal."

All of us loved this bread. However, I'm tempted to try it with different fillings. Cinnamon and raisin comes to mind. Or peanut butter and jam. Peanut butter and chocolate. Nutella. Oh, boy. I may have to make this right now.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I tried to make a babka once eight years ago (from Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone") and it was a total flop. Undercooked inside, burned on the bottom, and stuck to the pan. You are giving me hope.