Giants' Victory Babka
Sports fans are notoriously superstitious. Whatever they do on the day of a big win somehow becomes the cause of that win, and must be repeated in order to assure the next win. So, I guess I have to bake Babka again today, Tuesday and Wednesday or the Giants are bound to face defeat. Well...if they don't make it to the World Series, I'll take the blame cuz one Babka bake is enough for now. Yesterday, my first attempt at Babka (Chocolate-Cinnamon-Pecan) led to a thrilling one-run win in the Giants first NLCS game against the Phils.
Babka preparation is quite a big deal. As Emperor Joseph II might have said to Mozart if he were a baker, there are just too many ingredients. (No, I'm not comparing myself to Mozart; when he was my age, he'd been dead for 20 years). Flour, yeast, salt, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, grated baker's chocolate, sugar, butter, pecans, flour, sugar, butter....and butter and sugar. There are also lots of steps. But the results are worth the effort.
Now that I've mashed together themes from Baseball and Classical Music, here's the recipe, an adaptation from Glezer, as told by Stan Ginsburg:
Cinnamon-Chocolate-Pecan Babka (Adapted from Glezer via Stan Ginsburg)
Makes 3 loaves.
Dough Ingredients (measured in ounces)
Unsalted butter 6.75
Egg Yolks, large 2.5 - approximately 4 yolks
Instant Yeast 1.0
Vanilla Extract 0.65
Ground Cinnamon .30
Sugar 11.5 (1 ½ cup)
Unsweetened baker’s chocolate, grated 4.50 (1 ½ cup)
Toasted and chopped Pecans, 8.0 (2 cup)
Unsalted butter, melted (also for greasing pans) 6.00 (1 ½ stick)
Bread Flour 3.0
Unsalted butter, room temp 1.50
- Warm the milk to 105-110 degrees F. Stir instant yeast into milk. Meanwhile, melt the butter for dough and allow to cool.
- Add half (18 oz) of the flour to milk and yeast and mix until smooth. Allow to ferment about 30 min, until very foamy and volume triples.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend using hands. Knead in the bowl until gluten forms and dough comes away from sides of bowl. This is a very rich, slack dough and it will take time for the gluten to form, but it will happen, so be patient.
- Allow to ferment 45-60 min, until more than doubled in bulk and very gassy. Grease three loaf pans with butter. Turn dough out onto a generously floured board and pat firmly to degas. Divide the dough into six pieces (two for each loaf).
- Roll the first piece of dough into a very thin sheet, preferably less than 1/4". Using a silicon mat helps. Otherwise, make sure you have enough flour on hand to prevent sticking. When you finish rolling the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle it evenly with one sixth of the sugar, chocolate and pecans. Roll it into a spiral, jelly-roll style. Repeat for other five pieces of dough.
- Preheat your oven to 325 and set rack in lower third of oven. Twist two rolls of dough together to form a double helix, a/k/a a spiral, and arrange in the pan. Repeat for other two loaves. Allow to proof for 30-45 minutes, until the dough extends above the rim of the pan.
- Brush top of babka with melted butter. Blend flour, sugar and softened butter into a coarse mixture and sprinkle generously on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until loaf is a rich, dark brown and it sounds hollow when tapped with a finger. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before tapping it out onto a rack to finish cooling for an hour.
- After cooled, enjoy Babka during final innings of Giants' victory.
These Babkas are a delicious moist coffee cake, not too sweet. The only change I'd make is to add cinnamon to the filling as well as the dough.
Go Giants! Go Nuts!
Submitted to YeastSpotting (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/)