The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poolish & Y W Chocolate Walnut Easter Babka with Streusel & Snockered Fruits

dabrownman's picture

Poolish & Y W Chocolate Walnut Easter Babka with Streusel & Snockered Fruits

The past 2 years we have been making an Easter Babka and this year the GMA’s decided to make it their Easter Bake (along with Hot Cross Buns), so naturally, we had to join them  for the Babka Rhamma Dhamma.  Ca't wat to see their Easter Babka Bakes!


This year we decided to do the traditional 2 sided roll up and then do a Twisted Sisters twist of the double roll.   We made the dough without the pumpkin pie spices to try to get a more chocolate flavor coming through and now consider the spices ‘optional’.


Once again we used our trusty Bundt pan to contain things and give the top a decorative look.  We increased the size of the bake to fill the Bundt pan up to maximum capacity, and a little more, since this Polish and Russian inspired babka is so tasty and goes so fast.


Like last year, we used walnuts, cocoa, chocolate chips and bourbon snockered fruits for the filling, dropped the pie spices but added brown sugar to this year’s roll up and add in goodies.  We did increase all of them to account for the larger babka.  We kept the streusel topping on the top and bottom of the loaf for the nice crunch and we kept the vanilla, powdered sugar milk glaze for the top.  This year we added a dusting of powdered sugar too.


This year, instead of just yeast water making the dough rise, we added in a large poolish too.  Each was  brought to peak, fed again and then refrigerated for 2 days.  We let the levains double on the counter after removing them from the fridge - about 4 hours.


We re-hydrated non fat dry milk powder for the dough liquid and used it to autolyse the dough dry ingredients for an hour.  After mixing in the levains with a spoon we did 10 minutes of slap and folds to get the gluten developed, before allowing the dough to rest for 15 minutes.


We did 2 sets of S&F’s, on 30 minute intervals, to develop the dough further.  After another 15 minute rest we rolled out the dough a little less than ½” thick and into a huge rectangle 24” x 36”.  Half the butter in the formula is in the dough and the other half is softened and schmeared onto the rolled out dough before the rest of the fillings go in.  After sprinkling on the fillings in an even layer, then roll it up, from each wide side, meeting in the middle.


The starting in the middle, twist the roll toward each end to get the Twisted Sister part of the design.  The roll will get longer but no worries, you need the length to get around the Bundt pan twice.   Spray the pan liberally so nothing will stick, place half the streusel in the bottom of the pan and then coil in the Twisted Sister going around twice and ending where you began to ensure that the babka stays level as it rises.


Sprinkle the top with the rest of the streusel cover with oiled plastic and allow to proof on the counter for 1 hour before refrigerating overnight.   In the morning allow the babka to come to room temperature and finish proofing 1” above the rim of the pan.  Fire up the oven to 350 F convection and bake until golden brown and the inside temperature reaches 205 F - about 55 minutes.  Rotate the pan every 10 minutes to ensure even browning.


Remove pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes before un-molding.  I run a paring knife around the outside and inside to make sure the babka comes away clean.  After 5 more minutes of cooling drizzle the vanilla glaze over the top and dust with powdered sugar.  Eat at least one slice while still warm otherwise warm up I the micro wave before serving.


This is a real Easter treat!  We love this for breakfast, brunch or dinner desert!  Nothing is overpowering or too sweet and the lack of PP spices really let the chocolate and walnuts shine through.

Happy Easter !


Poolish & YW Levain

Build 1




Pinch of AD Yeast










Whole Wheat










Yeast Water










Total Starter





Flour is split between the two levains










Poolish & YW Levain

























Levain % of Total










Dough Flour





W W Pastry Flour










Dough Flour















Rehydrated Non Fat Milk





Dough Hydration










Total Flour





Milk and Water





T. Dough Hydration





Whole Grain %










Hydration w/ Adds





Total Weight










Add - Ins





Butter 50 + 50














Brown Sugar 40 Cocoa 20





Walnuts 70, Chocolate Chips 130










Re-hydrated Snockered Fruits



After Snockering


Egg (2 medium)





Total Add ins










Optional Spices





1 tsp each Cinnamon and Nutmeg





1/2 tsp each Ginger, Allspice





1/4 tsp Cloves















1/8 C each of Walnut Maple Granola, APF flour




Sugar and Butter cut in with PP Spices.






chouette22's picture

... and a slice of your Babka would go SO well with it! It looks super tasty and I definitely like the omission of the spices (I, for one, prefer cinnamon, for example, in savory dishes rather than in sweet treats). What a great Easter bake and I'll bookmark your recipe, as a babka has been on my to-bake list for quite a while. 

dabrownman's picture

complicated than some babkas but no more so than cinnamon rolls.  This one doesn't come off as sweet as many  others.  You will have fun making this and you don't need the  YW - just use a bigger poolish or instant yeast.

Glad you liked it and Happy Baking!

linder's picture

Wow, great bake, DA.  It looks fantastic and probably is great with a cup of coffee after dinner.  Mmm, let's hear it for snockered fruit!  Makes me want to try one of these beauties after we finish off the ricotta pies.


dabrownman's picture

is one of my apprentices favorite pastimes.  She puts them in just about every recipe that has sugar in it :-)  So much better than the un-snockered ones flavor wise.  This is fine desert or breakfast loaf.  Amazing how folks think coffee when they see a babka.  I'm giving serious thought about hiding the rest of it to keep others from snarfing :-)  Loved your pies.  Maybe we should trade?

Happy baking Linda

isand66's picture

Let's hear it for Baaaaaabka---another recipe to add to my recipe binder!  I used to save all my recipes I wanted to try on my computer, but the file got so big I never paid any attention to it.  Now I print them out and stuffed them into a 4 ring binder...I think I need a second one already!

This looks fantastic.  I have to recover from the bread tasting marathon yesterday.  I just got back from Boston inspired to try some new breads.  My wife actually tried a vollkornbrot that someone brought and she liked it!  This from someone who tells me she won't even try my bread if it has seeds or other whole grains inside that she can see!  So now I will have to try one of these along with Varda's rye and so many others.

Anyway, your lastest creation is worthy of a front row space in my binder along with so many of your other creations.

Hope you enjoyed your Easter.


dabrownman's picture

gone and went talking half the babka with it!  We only make babka once a year for some reason, maybe because compared to other recipes it is more complicated.  It sure is good though.  I like it made with all YW better though and one less levain to make:-)

Sounds like TFLian soiree went very well and there were some fine breads to taste - well..... how could there not be?  Once your wife gets to liking whole grain bits, and other stuff,  in her bread then the flood gates will open for all kinds of soakers, sprouts, cracked grains.... I love the way Varda's double chocolate rye  looks.  Only a real crumby baker, and no one beats Varda at that,  can bake a crumb like that one!

Glad you likes the babka Ian

gmagmabaking2's picture

Wow... those pictures DID drive me to a cuppa coffee just like chouette22... BUT.... I had fresh hot babka to have it with... Don't hate me because I am beautiful... hate me because I had babka!!! Check out the 3 gmas post. Great, Great looking Babka DAB... and great pictures... I have gotta get the bubble/steam thing down... By the way... my oven was about 20 degrees off... so now I religiously use a oven thermometer... Happy Easter!


dabrownman's picture

My apprentice is always says 'Don't hate me because I am so hairy, love me because I clean the kitchen floor!  I just checked the mini and Big Old Betsy again and both were 25 degrees colder than advertised.  I think they get colder as they get older!

I did over to the GMA's Babka bake this morning.   Nice babkas!  All so different.  I'm so going to use the 7 sister shape for a Valentine Rose. 

Nice baking with you GMS'a for Easter!

trailrunner's picture

That is one gorgeous babka. I love your dedication to inventiveness :)  You manage to put more into everything you bake than anyone on TFL...and yet is all works and looks great and then you top it off with wonderful directives. Thank you ! c

dabrownman's picture

Babka trailrunner!   We do like to put stuff into bread and other baking.  Sometimes less is more, as they used to say in Architectural school, but usually it is just less.  One thing I can't stand is the same old cookie cutter buildings that scream - I'm boring but better because I'm less of everything you like.   I say one question answers the conundrum.  Ask anyone, especially children, if they want less or more.  I'm guessing they would usually say more until additional qualifiers are added :-)

After being in the food service business all those years,  I still have access to anything I want or need food wise.   I just have to go pick it up now!

Happy baking!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Nice Babka dabrownman!  Wasn't aware that you could bake sweets so well.  Nice!

Ever see the Perfect Strangers episode with the Bibi Babkas?  Classic.


dabrownman's picture

to got to YouTube to see the bibi babka episode and hear something like  'If you drop the bibi babka ditty you're doomed."  Hilarious!  We love to do all kinds of baking here but bread has sort of taken over lately!  We'll get together when you come to Mesa.  Loved you new turkey roster, tiles and water can set up.  You made some really nice bread with it.

Happy baking John!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Now this coming from memory from circa 1987....

"When youre rolling out the dough, just make sure your roll it slow

if you make the dough too quick, bibibabka make you sick

if roll the dough to thin, just make sure you wear a grin

when you smile on what you bake, bibibabkas turn out swell"

ill go check to see if my memory is correct.  used to sing that song with my buddy over and over back in jr high.

oh and thanks abunch for the comments on my bake man :)



dabrownman's picture

is a classic and made me grin from ear to ear!  Those the were the strangest bibi babkas on record.  Your bread was a classic too!

Alpana's picture

I am trying to cut down on sweets and this is pure temptation! Chocolate and walnuts combination is an all time favourite in my home. All that and maple walnut granola to top it...

dabrownman's picture

baking combinations.  Love Phil's sage and walnut, walnut paste bread.  Walnuts and prunes go well together in bread too.  Chocolate and walnuts are the classic combination though - love walnut covered trufles.  Made some babaka French toast with real maple syrup this morning and they were just as good as pannetone ones.  Pure decadence! Can't beat holiday baking Alpana!

Happy Baking

hansjoakim's picture

This looks incredible, mr. Brownman! With all that goodness in there, this babka will never stale or dry out... Just as good for Easter 2014 ;o)

Delicious, I'm sure! Do you serve anything alongside an unctuous slice of babka, apart from perhaps a cup of tea or coffee? Too bad Easter is over...

dabrownman's picture

toasted with butter and marmalade or as French toast with maple syrup.......with coffee or tea.  For lunch it makes a nice side desert to soup, salad and or sandwich.  For dinner it is a fine desert with whipped cream and or ice cream.  Where ever you use panettone you can sub this babka.     It should be like fruit cake and be tough to make stale but it never lasts long enough anyway,

Glad you liked it.  Now it time to get back to some healthy serious bread on the darker side while finishoing off the last of the babka:-)

Happy baking Hans - nice to see you posting again.

Mebake's picture

Lovely! What a nice dessert Babka is!

DA, beautiful as always..

and a belated happy easter to you and yours,