Chocolate babka is similar to a brioche that is filled with rich and fudgy chocolate. Braid the sweet dough together before you bake it and you’ll end up with a beautiful loaf that you’ll want to dig into right away! See how to make this in the video below.
Some of my favorite desserts include Middle Eastern halva, Greek cookies called melomakarona, and maamoul (date-filled semolina cookies). I also have a thing for bread — and today’s recipe is a combination of both! Chocolate babka is a Jewish dessert bread.
One of the coolest parts of this dish is that you’ll have to braid it before you bake it, similarly to challah bread. But, don’t be intimidated by this step. It’s easy to do when you follow my directions below!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Active Dry Yeast - This chocolate babka recipe is technically for bread, after all, so you’ll need to use yeast.
- Whole Milk - Make sure that you bring it to room temperature before getting started!
- Egg - Ensure that the eggs are at room temperature too.
- Sugar - You need to add sugar to the dough for sweetness. You’ll also use it in the chocolate filling.
- All-Purpose Flour - For the dough.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter that has been softened. You’ll also need it in the filling and in the chocolate glaze.
- Chocolate - You’ll need both bittersweet and milk chocolate for this treat.
- Cocoa Powder - Seriously — this dessert is bursting with chocolate!
- Salt - For the dough and chocolate filling.
- Heavy Cream - Add to the chocolate and cocoa in the filling for a silky texture.
- Powdered Sugar - For a bit more added sweetness to the fudgy swirls.
- Corn Syrup - The secret to a smooth texture and gorgeous shine in your glaze.
- Espresso Powder - An optional ingredient, but this really enhances the chocolate flavor.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE BABKA
1. Prepare The Dough. Stir together the milk, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and set it aside to proof. It should become foamy after about 10 minutes. In the meantime, whisk the eggs! Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, then use your hands to mix and create a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture and the eggs.
2. Knead With The Mixer. Attach a dough hook and mix on medium until a rough dough forms. As it mixes, add 1 tablespoon of butter at a time until it is fully incorporated. Mix until a smooth and shiny dough ball forms, or about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then place in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
3. Make The Chocolate Filling. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the cream and butter. Cook (stir frequently) until the butter has melted and the cream begins to steam. Place the chopped chocolate, powdered sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, and salt into a bowl, then pour the butter and cream over it. Allow it to chill in the fridge for an hour.
4. Roll Out The Dough. Prepare two loaf pans with baking spray and parchment paper. Remove the dough and filling from the fridge, and place a bit of flour on your countertop to roll out the dough. Divide it in half and place one dough ball back in the refrigerator. Roll the other half out into a 12x16-inch rectangle.
5. Add The Chocolate. Spread the chocolate filling over the dough (leave a 1-inch border) and slowly roll it into a log as seen in the photo. Press to seal. Slice the roll in half lengthwise and position the dough cut side up. Braid the two strips of dough as seen below,then pinch each end of the braid to seal. Transfer the chocolate babka to the loaf pan and cover with a clean kitchen towel to rest for about 1.5 - 2 hours.
6. Bake The Babka. Preheat your oven to 350° F and allow the babka to bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. While the loaves bake, create your chocolate glaze as instructed on the recipe card!
7. Make The Chocolate Glaze. This part is optional, but I definitely recommend it! Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with simmering water and melt both chocolates with butter. Once the mixture is smooth, add the corn syrup, then pour the glaze over the chocolate babka. Allow to set for 30 minutes and enjoy your creation!
What Makes Babka A Babka?
It’s all about the dough as well as the shape! Babka is sweet like brioche (others compare it to croissants) and is braided before it’s baked. It may take a bit of work, but it’s so worth it!
What Flavor Is Traditional Babka?
While chocolate has become more and more popular over the years, the original recipe featured raisins and rum.
Is Jewish Babka A Dessert Or Breakfast?
To each their own! This chocolate babka recipe is typically served as a dessert bread, but why not heat some up for breakfast too? The flavors would pair wonderfully with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
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- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup whole milk room temperature
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 100 g cup sugar 1 cup
- 540 g all-purpose flour 4 ½ cups
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 225 g bittersweet chocolate chopped (8 oz)
- 90 g powdered sugar ¾ cup
- 30 g unsweetened cocoa powder ⅓ cup
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder optional
- pinch of kosher salt
- 66 g sugar ⅓ cup
- ⅓ cup water
Chocolate Glaze (optional topping)
- 340 g bittersweet chocolate chopped (12 oz)
- 110 g milk chocolate chopped (4 oz)
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the warm milk, pinch of sugar and yeast. Set the yeast mixture aside to rest until it becomes foamy, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, sugar and salt. Using your hand, mix and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture and beaten eggs. Attach a dough hook, turn the stand mixer on medium speed and begin beating the dough until a rough dough begins to form.
- While the mixer is running, add 1 tablespoon of softened butter to the dough at a time until you have incorporated all of the butter. Continue kneading the dough until it forms a smooth, shiny ball, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the babka dough to a large greased bowl, tuning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Set the dough in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and butter. Stirring frequently, cook the mixture until the butter has melted and the cream starts to steam.
- In a bowl, pour the butter and cream mixture over the chopped chocolate, powdered sugar, cocoa and espresso powders and salt, stirring until it melts.
- Set the chocolate filling in the refrigerator to cool for 1 hour.
- Butter 2 (8x4-inch or 9x5) loaf pans or spray with baking spray, then line with parchment paper. Remove filling from the refrigerator.
- Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the chilled dough in half, and return one dough ball to the refrigerator. Roll the other dough out into a 12x16-inch rectangle.
- Using an offset spatula, spread half of the chocolate filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border free on one of the long ends of the sheet.
- Starting opposite the 1-inch border free filling, use both hands and slowly roll the dough over the filling to create a log. When you get to the edge of the dough, press the bare border to seal the dough log.
- Starting 1-inch from one end, and using a sharp knife, slice the babka roll in half lengthwise, exposing the filling. Position the dough cut side up.
- Braid the two strips of dough together by folding one half over the other to form a twisted braid. Pinch each end of the braid together to seal.
- Carefully transfer the braided babka to the prepared loaf pan. If the babka braid is too long to fit in the pan, squeeze to condense or twist it into a figure-eight formation before placing it inside.
- Cover the babka with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 ½–2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Transfer the babka to the oven and bake 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and a wooden toothpick can be inserted into the center without resistance and comes out clean.
- While the babkas are baking, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Brush each loaf with the syrup immediately when hot from the oven. Let the babkas cool for 30 minutes in the pans. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Chocolate Glaze (optional topping)
- In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt both chocolates with the butter. Stir until smooth, then stir in the corn syrup. Place babkas on a wire rack lined tray. Pour the glaze on top of the warm babkas and let stand until set, about 30 minutes.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
after two tries of trying to get this to rise (first time the yeast didn’t do its thing), 2nd try all went well, the yeast bubbled and we assembled the Babkas today with no problem and they sat in a warm spot for nearly 2.5 hours and they didn’t rise so disappointed so I just stuck them in the oven to bake to see if they turn out. If they don’t well I don’t think I’ll try a third time 🙁
Oh this looks awesome. I love the way it's all twisted. And the swirly colors. It probably tastes great. Can't wait to try it out. Was wondering what I could do with all the flour I have.
Thank you. !!
Hope you make this, let me know Carol. One of my favorite dessert bread recipes!
So incredibly beautiful and inspiring. Can't wait to try this.
And quite delicious, especially the one draped in chocolate ganache!