The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Community Bake - Babka

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Community Bake - Babka


For those with a sweet tooth, here it is... 
Babka!

All forms of Babka, including Sourdough, Yeast Water, and commercial yeast leavened doughs are encouraged. Hopefully some of the participating bakers will inspire us with various fillings and shapes that will enlarge our horizons. For those adventurous bakers out there, let your imagination run wild.

All things Babka are on the table.

Be sure to take photos during and after the bake. Post them for others to see. Share the good, the bad, and the ugly. We can all learn from both the successes and failures of others.

For those that are not familiar with our Community Bakes (CB), check out some of the links below. They will give you a general consensus of what they are about.

The following are links to our Community Bakes

All bakers of any skill level is invited and encouraged to join in. The Community Bakes are not competitive events. There are no winners and losers. Everyone that actively participants is guaranteed to learn something(s) new.

Some Community Bakes get extremely large. If you find that you are getting too many notifications of new replies and would like to decrease or stop the messages SEE THIS LINK.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

mountains for everyone else to climb!  I'm strapping on my crampons right now!.

I've had the babka at Breads Bakery a few times and they don't look as good as your does here.  We also don't think the flavor of their babka is anything special.  A lot of other better versions are to be found around the city.  Will has probably had their babka as well, as he is also only a few city blocks away.

One correction to the non-competitive note - every participant (and the folks who just peek in) in one way or another is a winner.  There just are no losers!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alan, if you have a formula that you like better, please post it so others can have it as an option. Everyone is encouraged to post their favorite Babka recipe.

I noticed today that the formula calls for 100% (baker’s percentage) combining the Nutella and chocolate chops. THAT is decadent! Historically I add the Nutella and chocolate chips by eye and never measure. 100% seems super rice to me…

alfanso's picture
alfanso

But I like it more - Melissa Clark's version from The NY Times, which I've posted here before without including her formula.  Until now.  It uses a decadent ganache chocolate filling.

 

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

For me, the answer is all too clear. The cocoa-nut beats out the hazelnut hands down! While I Love knowing Famous bakeries are all around me, With the exception of Rocos Italian, I don't visit many at all anymore. The last time I even had Babka must have been in the 1990s from Tina's cake Fair Jewish bakery in Canarsie! 

 Down to brass tacks, The NYT recipe seems much more geared to the home baker. The kid from Bread made an informative video, however, I was a bit intimidated by the procedure, the amount of space required. Plus the fresh yeast issue, and I am not a huge Nutella fan. In contrast, on reading Ms. Clark's formula I found the steps familiar and doable. I am thinking if I have the time I will add a fresh berry compote to the filling, just to add originality and interest. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Fresh out of the oven.  One has already been "donated" to our building's managers.

I probably make these less than once a year on average, so I'm pretty rusty and thanks to Dan, I answered the call to duty.  But happy with the way that these beasts emerged from the oven

And the one that we kept for ourselves.  

I rather like the chocolate veins on the second, the last three pictures.  The first seem a bit skimpy to satisfy a chocoholic's sweet tooth!

Benito's picture
Benito

Now these look do decadent Alan, delicious I’m sure.  I’ve been able to find frozen raspberries finally so I’ll make my jam and start a levain tonight.  Mine will be sourdough maybe with a pinch of IDY, maybe.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

so this/these upcoming bake's for you should also showcase your developed skill set.

And they are decadent, I can attest to that.  Thanks, Alan

AlanG's picture
AlanG

They look delicious.  My daughter is coming home next week for the Jewish Holidays and this is the perfect project for the two of us.!!!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Perhaps a bit on the more intricate side, but well worth the effort.  I used SAF Gold IDY (osmotolerant) for the first time with these instead of the SAF Red.  Not sure I noticed a difference.  

After an overnight chill in the refrigerator the dough will be cold, but will warm up quickly as it is rolled out to its 9"x17" size and the ganache then applied.  Makes it a bit harder to roll up, but with a fair dusting of flour on the workbench, it should come up nicely in a tight roll.  The real key to these is doubling over the twisted dough to get a few extra veins of chocolate in the babka.  They plump up really nicely in the oven.  Fat and calorie free, one can eat these three meals a day without gaining an ounce!  Good luck and Good Yontif.

JonJ's picture
JonJ

The timing of this bake does seem "beshert" (destined), it is almost as if someone planned this community bake just in time for the upcoming Jewish holidays.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Great looking breads, Alan! I like the distribution of chocolate swirl to crumb. I have a lot to learn…

alfanso's picture
alfanso

to get more veins.  Also, as mentioned to Alan G above, getting a long enough dough roll to be able to double over itself adds all the more chocolate veins.  As with everything else you do, you'll get it!   You're a perfect Thomas Edison man - "90% perspiration, 10% inspiration" to get where you want to be.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Alan, do you have Melissa’s Babka in a spreadsheet? If you do, please send me a copy or post an image to the CB. I want to give this a try.

If not, I can use the screen grab above and convert the smaller ingredients to grams. 

Thanks,
Danny

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ll join in but not sure when I’ll have a chance to bake this decadent delicious bread.  I have an idea for a filling already that I’d like, nothing that unusual but a flavour combination that should work well.

Sabina's picture
Sabina

So this community bake has really confused me because until now I thought I knew what a babka was, and the babkas here are not what I thought it was! I thought that article would help, but it doesn't.

My Polish-descended mother has faithfully made a babka for Easter every year for as long as I can remember, and I'm not young. But her babka is a sweet eggy bread baked in a bundt pan or a bowl, with a smattering of raisins or maybe some candied citrus peel, and usually a lemon glaze. I've actually always thought of it as more of a light cake than a bread, but it is yeast-risen. What it's not is a braided bread stuffed with chocolate!

In case anyone else is also confused, the Wikipedia disambiguation page has told me that my babka is actually a different type of bread altogether:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_bread#Baba .

Anyway, carry on. Your chocolate monstrosities look delicious!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

If you ask a thousand bakers what an "Italian bread" is you'll get at least a few dozen if not a hundred different answers.  A lot of it seems to be tied to what one grows up with and what the residents in one's own locale consider it to be.  That was certainly my experience with babka, Italian bread, corn bread (which really was korn bread, with no corns harmed in the making of the bread!), and all sort of other foods, traditions, clothing, etc.  

I've seen it here on TFL a number of times.  As I stated elsewhere in this thread, one of the beautiful things about Dan's CBs is that they often invite people to experiment and bring in their own experiences and versions, and perhaps (and hopefully) fly from there.  But always provide a ground zero starting point by way of a focus or sample up front.

My NY style babka (and there are likely more than a dozen different "NY style" babkas), what I posted for instance, is what a babka was to me.  Making it no more or less valid than your Mom's version.

This joint is a good melting pot of folks from literally across the globe introducing, or being introduced to, all style of everything.  It's a good place to drop few coins in the jukebox and hang out.

And I'd like to be introduced to your mother's style if you care to bake and post it.  I imagine a lot of other folks would as well.

P.S I had never seen a Bundt pan style babka until this CB, and now I have!

 

Sabina's picture
Sabina

Yeah, I had been thinking that my type of babka was just some sort of variation, but after reading about the history of the braid-style babka,  I think I'm going to have to agree with Wikipedia that it's actually a different style of bread altogether. I don't know why they have the same name, and I guess as enriched breads they're not entirely dissimilar.

I might see if I can get a recipe from my mom. She might not follow a recipe, though, in which case I will come back to this bake when Easter comes around again :P

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

For better or for worse, it has begun. (It's Friday night here in Sydney.)

The sponge is soaking. . .

and the mise is en place (I know, sorry).

(And yet I still forgot to add the salt with the rest!!)

After a very play-it-by-ear mixing, kneading and rising process, the dough is now resting overnight. Seeing as it is 12:15am here, I think I will follow suit.

UPDATE: we're done here.

It has been an . . . interesting morning. However, let's cut to the chase.

I also made these - partially as a bake test but mostly because I wanted to mix in some peanut butter and speculaas.

These are chocolate + peanut butter, chocolate and speculaas and peanut butter and speculaas.

And, while I wait for the loaf to cool, here is the crumb of one. Filling distribution not great, but these were smaller, thinner 'logs' and squished quite a bit when cut, The knot/folding in the centre also probably contributes.


So there we are.

Update - loaf

We have just had a go at the loaf:



And a side-on crumb shot because why not?

 

d.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Dan, nice filling distribution. How thin would you estimate the dough was rolled out?

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

There was no particular aim for a certain thickness so I just rolled until it seemed good and then measured. 3mm (~1/64").

I had retarded the dough ball in the fridge overnight (~9hr) and, whether it was the thinness of the sheet or the fact that it took a long time to roll (not a pastry person here,) it was too flimsy to apply the chocolate topping to. The topping was my own 'that looks about right' creation and was a little too stiff, especially as I had placed it in the fridge to cool while rolling the dough (in order to keep the dough cooler), so that combination of thinner softer dough and firmer filling just didn't work.

So, I placed baking/grease-proof/parchment paper above and below the dough sheet, rolled it up, wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it while I went to work rolling out and topping the second batch of dough for the 'wreaths' - probably about 30 mins.

While I was doing that, I had the filling on the bench, warming up but, even though I had slightly thicker dough for the wreaths, it still stretched and risked tearing when I tried to spread the chocolate. SO I warmed the topping in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and brought it to a softer consistency.

Once those logs were topped and rolled, I refrigerated them and then brought the main dough out to top and roll-up and then returned it to the fridge (wrapped).

I took out the smaller 'wreath' logs, split and assembled them and then took out the main 'loaf' log and split and assembled that.

So, in short:

  1. ALL - Retard/chill over night, divide in morning.
  2. DOUGH 1 - Roll out half the dough (3mm), leaving the other half in the fridge.
  3. DOUGH 1 - Refrigerate dough 1, rolled-up but un-topped.
  4. DOUGH 2 - Roll out (a little thicker).
  5. DOUGH 2 - Top with a softer spread (warmed in the microwave + jar-based ones).
  6. DOUGH 2 - Roll-up (with filling) and refrigerate.
  7. DOUGH 1 - Take out of fridge, top with re-warmed filling.
  8. DOUGH 1 - Wrap up and chill.
  9. DOUGH 2 - Take out of fridge, split each log down the centre, twist and assemble into wreaths.
  10. DOUGH 1 - Take out of fridge, split the log, twist, re-twist, manipulate, re-twist somehow fit it in the pan.

I have pictures of all of this and they are boring to normal humans but I suppose we are not normal  :  )

Topped - you can see the consistency of the homemade spread here:


Rolled up (before chilling) - here you can see how tightly it was rolled:

Split - 6 'layers' (this was after being chilled to make and easier, neater cut):

Twisted - here you can see why my step '10', above was somewhat less than ideal!

Smooshed - pre and post proof - I think the squishing produces a more interesting final pattern, with middle section diagonal and the ends more horizontal so that was a nice result:

'Learnings'

When I made it, I thought the dough was too thin and the filling too thick but, not thinking clearly, I forgot that of course the dough would rise and the filling would not!

Personally, I like a thinner, filling as I think of it like a brioche and if you can imagine topping a nice thick slice of brioche with (e.g.) Nutella, you likely would go fairly easy on the spread! HOWEVER, I can imagine others might like this more in the style of a filled or swirled bun, where there is a higher filling ratio.

It turned out to be just right for me but it's clearly personal taste and some may look at mine and think it a bit stingy on the choc!

What would I change?

Not that you asked, but, again, if I were to make it again, I would roll it more square. Rolled-out, it was ~17-18" long, compared to my 9" pan. Twisted up, it was probably around 14-15" so still somewhat longer than might have been ideal.

d

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow Dan they look delicious, well done.  I’d eat any of those!

Benny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

to the update loaf, will that suffice?  Nice tight roll on this one.  

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Considering I would be subject to a nearly ungovernable greed, were I ever let loose around any of the breads either of you have ever baked, I hold your compliments as highly as I do the approval of my partner.

You might have noticed a suspiciously flat top on the slices. I am not sure if this was the proofing (loose plastic wrap and a linen flour bag over the top) or the fact that I covered with foil during the first half of the bake. For the foil, I did my best to ensure it was domed up with sufficient space but there was a little chocolate smeared on the underside when I removed it so it clearly reached it,

So, I could have obtained a higher rise and/or spring had I allowed more room but the question is: would the loaf have been as 'tight' if I hadn't, or would it have split more? I like the closer structure of it and think that, having baked the dough as both a loaf and in a more free-form shape, there's a useful distinction in the methods to accentuate one or the other - the wreath (or any free-baked shape) will create a more tear-apart as you have your tea style - like a pastry, while the loaf is more a slice (or two!) of very decadent 'bread' that comes pre-'topped'!

In other words, one is a pastry-like bread and the other a bread-like pastry - if that makes sense - and I think it's useful that you can 'easily' manipulate the result with the choice of shaping and baking to make it lean one way or the other.

First bake anywhere near this style for me so I think I have learned a lot from it, which is probably the point of these bakes!

Thank you again, gentlemen.

d

Yippee's picture
Yippee

 

First time participating in community bake!

 

I must confess: I made this on 20200605.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Yippee, how do you get those beautiful thin layers shown in your top image? Thus far I have not been able to produce that?

Also, in learned from your BLOG post that you used CLASS. How did you find the sweet chocolate and sour (from CLASS) combination taste?

Yippee's picture
Yippee

from his book Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads

 

I rolled it very tightly, hence thinner layers. 

CLAS enhances the flavor but it does not make the dough sour. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

In an attempt to keep my bakes in a single post (not spread all over), all bakes will be posted to this message. The most recent bakes and updates will be placed at the top of the post.

Bake #1
I Tried  a NEW FORMULA & METHOD. Unfortunately the dough was extremely difficult to work. The gluten never developed. The only deviation from the author’s formula was 100% KA All Purpose instead of the recommended 50% Bread Flour and 50% Pastry flour. I also ended up adding extra water in hopes of strengthening the gluten to no avail.

 

In spite of the terrible experience with the dough, the loaf baked up very well. We’ll see when it is sliced how the crumb turned out… 

The distribution of chocolate was disappointing. The dough was difficult to roll out. I think too much filling and not enough width on the dough to facilitate more rolls. But there’s always the next bake.

 

 

 

 

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

and quite similar to the image posted on the Munchies page.  Molten!  Waiting on the crumb pics.

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow that looks so chocolaty Dan, that must be delicious.

Benny

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Looks great!

I'm not a big one for sweets (especially sweetened, enriched breads) but seeing as brioche dough is so light, I personally think that those larger sections of uninterrupted brioche are very nice.

Kind of like a pane au chocolat - a base item with the addition of chocolate (or whatever flavour,) where the key is always the quality of the dough/pastry, with the filling merely accentuating that.

But then, I am one for the mouth feel of biting through a thicker layer of bread/dough and tend to prefer dense to airy.

d

gerhard's picture
gerhard

channels and the recipe I based mine on. I thought his dough seemed a bit lean so I doubled the butter. You need to understand German to understand this Swiss baker though

https://youtu.be/I-FJia7cmk0

Kistida's picture
Kistida

.. when I start a piece, I can’t stop until almost half a loaf’s gone and I’ve a food coma. The same goes for the other rich bakes. 🤦🏻‍♀️
I’ve baked 4 versions in the last year before I joined TFL mostly as Babka wreaths (mine looked like a chunk) and a loaf: using enriched dough for espresso+cocoa+Nutella+butter, cocoa+Nutella+Butter with toasted walnuts, orange cranberry and a lean dough one with leftover cheese and herb. There’s something so pretty about the swirls and sticky filling! I’m now really tempted to indulge in making another one! Thank you this challenge!

Benito's picture
Benito

OK I’ll start with the last babka I baked, my matcha black sesame babka wreath with yuzu glaze.  

The details of this past bake click here.

In preparation for tomorrow’s bake the levain has been built along with this homemade jam.  I was surprised how hard it was to find frozen raspberries to make this jam.

 Details of the Raspberry Chocolate Braided Sourdough Babka in my blog here.

The filling is a combination of my homemade raspberry jam, dark cocoa powder and butter then sprinkled with chopped Lindt 70% dark chocolate and sugar.

I’m loving the look of the raspberry syrup I’ve just brushed on, what a great deep red colour.

This is totally delicious if I just say!  I love the balance of the raspberries and chocolate, sweet without being cloyingly sweet.  There are a couple of spots where I can see that I didn’t plait tightly enough.  Plaiting challah was easier than this sticky chocolaty dough, but this was worth the trouble and mess.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Benny the round braid Babka is a winner before you even bake it. It is gorgeous in it’s raw state.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Dan, I love the shiny finished product and the layered crumb as well.  My most successful babka so far.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

You know why!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Alan.  If you haven’t tried raspberry chocolate, it is a wonderful combination for a babka.  As wedge made a great breakfast, but a wedge and a half was an even better one.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Dude, c'mon - that's not fair.

Although, were I to make another babka, I it might be in this shape, seeing how this turned out. I think that would make for nice desert to take to a gathering - the loaf, while good (and Seinfeld example notwithstanding,) doesn't make for a particularly impressive desert option.

Did you find that the tartness of the raspberries came through well enough to cut the richness a bit?

(Seriously, though - that's one impressive bake.)

d.

Benito's picture
Benito

The raspberry jam to which I added lemon for the pectin was a nice addition and yes, you got a bit of the tartness from that along with the richness of the chocolate.  I’ve adjusted the recipe to increase the raspberry jam a bit more to bring it out.  When I make raspberry jam again I would reduce the sugar even more than I already.  I used a recipe for the jam I got when I made a Bakewell tart.  I’d already reduced the sugar from that time but it still wasn’t enough in my opinion.

Thanks for the comments on my bake Dan, they are appreciated. 

Benny

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

I read your recipe for it on your blog and did notice that the sugar was higher than the fruit, which I found a little odd but I'll reply there so as not to derail this topic!

d.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I beg you to give it a try.

  1. freeze one or more slices of Babka
  2. once frozen, eat it un-defrosted and cold

I told you, it would sound ridiculous, but give it a try and let us know how you like it.

Danny

Benito's picture
Benito

I’m not surprised that frozen it is delicious.  I’m not sure you have the same cakes in the US but here McCains sells a tray baked chocolate cake with icing.  It is sold in the freezer and as a kid living at home, it was such a treat when my mother would buy one of these cakes.  I’d always eat it frozen from the freezer.  I’m not sure I’d still like the cake now as an adult, but I have fond memories of eating those frozen cakes as a child.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Well, babkas are in the freezer this morning after our late breakfast so I will try it.

Honestly, I probably would have anyway as I often eat flat bread straight from the freezer! Mostly lavash and Afghani tanoor bread as I can slide a 'slice' out of the zip-lock, break off a bit and tuck it back away in about 15 seconds.) I tend to use it that way for dipping (in yoghurt is my favourite for a sweeter snack) as it's so easy to snap off a nice dipping 'stick' but, honesty, it ends up stuck in my face before I've even closed the freezer!

This sums up my tastes - my idea of 'desert' is just more bread, which might explain this being my first ever sweetened/enriched bake!

Slipstream's picture
Slipstream

This also works for challah and bara brith (Welsh fruit bread). A nice snack on a hot summer’s night!

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

That was a bad idea.

Not inherently so, mind you. No, the problem here is that to fit the babka in the freezer, I had to slice the babka. And to slice the babka, I had to remove it from the container, bag, foil and baking paper it was locked away in.

. . . and once I did that I could now see and smell it so of course I had to eat some. Better it had lain, neglected and slowly staling to the point of inedibilty. It is an evil food.

That said, when my partner found I was putting it in the freezer, the following question was posed: but what will I have with my ice cream? (For that I saved the two crispier end pieces, which should be nice toasted until crisped on the other side as well and paired with the ice cream.)

I suspect this will be the fate of the other slices, once they are reanimated, so I'll try to get in with a taste of one pre-toaster.

d.

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

I've been pondering whether or not to try my hand at babka.... Your idea of also trying it as a frozen treat just nudged me over the edge. Will have to get a few things when I head into town this week. 

Thanks for the nudge! 

Mary

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Potentially due to the high fat content, the slice I tried today seemed merely cold, even though it had been in my freezer for 24h. It was wrapped in baking paper, then foil and then two layers of plastic wrap.

I recommend the following:

  1. Take out of freezer and unwrap.
  2. Remove a single slice or slice a single piece.
  3. Re-wrap the remaining bread completely and place back in the freezer.
  4. Eat.

Reversing step 3 and 4 would result in rapid depletion of babka as it was only the effort of having to un wrap the 5 layers and re-wrap them a second time that kept me to one slice.

d

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

after putting back into freezer...  close the padlock and swallow the key.  :)

Benito's picture
Benito

The only thing keeping me from eating the whole thing is freezing some to bring to friends and also giving half of it away to the staff in our condo building.

Benny

semolina_man's picture
semolina_man

Great bake, thanks for starting it. 


Babka is one of the best baked items I can think of.  The Seinfeld episode with "the lesser babka" scene is part of babka culture and lore.  Cinnamon is the lesser babka.  Chocolate is the proper babka. 

 

For me it needs to be traditional - chocolate in the form of chunks, not fudge, syrup, spread or similar.  Lots of chocolate.  And a streusel topping.   No add-ins, seeds, fruit, nuts or the like. 

 

Babka bread needs to be brioche-like.  Not challah-like.  The brioche dough is more highly enriched which fits with the indulgent aspect of babka.   Moishe's Bakery on 3rd in Manhattan's Lower East Side is my source of inspiration.

 

Babka is on my list of to-be-baked.  I'll probably do one near Christmas, either before or after I bake the stollen. 

mariana's picture
mariana

Hi!

I tested a recipe for chocolate babka from Canadian Living magazine, December 2010. They say that it was tested till perfect. Their recipe is here

This is how their babka looks:

canadian_living-_-ba39a204-8a97-48ed-abec-26fd74b6271d-_-Chocolate-Babka-1501324063173 Canadian Living babka 2010

The recipe is for 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and makes two babkas in 8 x 4-inch (1.5 L) loaf pans. However, this would depend on how you measure flour, I think. If you take 1 cup of flour to be 220-230ml and 125g of sifted flour, then it's from 400g of flour and smaller pans would work. For me 1 cup of 250ml unsifted flour gives 140-150g of flour and the recipe then is from 500g of flour and I had to use 9x5 inch loaf pans to make this recipe.  

IMG_4813

IMG_4804

IMG_4819

Well, it turned out to be a coffee cake, not really a babka, not a Jewish babka from bona fide challah dough, not an Israeli krantz cake, not a Polish babka and not even a Russian or Ukrainian babka, but a typical Canadian coffee cake in smell, taste and appearance, barely resembling babka as I understand it. I guess employees from Canadian Living Test Kitchen tested and adjusted this recipe until it resembled a Canadian coffee cake that suits their tastes. It's very, very coffee-cakey. Airy and a bit woodsy. Good with coffee but not on its own.

IMG_4824

I tested it by baking half of its dough as a plain bread loaf and it's inedible. The main issues are 1) too much yeast and not enough fermentation 2) needs baker's milk, not just regular pasteurized milk 3) too many eggs. 

IMG_4816

So I did another test bake with minor adjustments.

I slightly reduced yeast from 2-1/4 tsp to 2 tsp, eggs from 2 eggs to 1 egg and 1 yolk, and I boiled milk and kept it at 90C for 30 min before using in in the recipe.

I changed the method from straight dough to sponge-dough method.

And it worked.

IMG_4829 The plain loaf without fillings was delicious. It disappeared before babka with filling and the filled babka was to die for, really, really delectable.

It is still a Canadian coffee cake pretending to be a babka, but way better than the original 2010 version. However, it requires a bit more work, because you need to boil milk and it requires a little bit more time to prepare a sponge before making babka dough. 

I don't think that formula is necessary, for I don't know if anyone would bake it besides me, but, just in case, here it is:

Canadian Living babka 2021

500g flour makes 2 loaves in 9x5 inch pans

Sponge:

350g all purpose flour

6g active dry yeast

10g butter

30g rice malt syrup

1 large egg and 1 egg yolk (total 75g)

190g milk

6 Tbsp (90g) water (optional, my flour is very dry)

Bring 1 cup of milk to boil 3 times, then keep hot milk in thermos for 30 min and after that let it cool until it reaches 38-42C. Measure 190g of milk for the recipe. Add yeast to 40C milk and let it stand for 10-30 min. Place everything in a bread machine and prepare a sponge using 'Dough' cycle: basically it's 20 min kneading, DDT 28-30C, then 1hr 10 min fermentation at 28-32C with one punch down in the middle. Chill the sponge for 30 min until it cools down to 15-20C. 

Dough

150g all-purpose flour

5g salt

65g sugar

65g unsalted butter

Add to the sponge, knead for 10 min, DDT 25-30C, let it rest for 30-60 min and then make loaves of bread, buns or babkas. 

Filling: 

150g sugar

45g all-purpose flour

25g powdered cocoa (3 tbsp.)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 stick unsalted butter (55g)

Blend dry ingredients, then add butter and chop it or rub it with fingers into a crumbly mass. Use it to fill babkas. 

Baking

Shape loaves or babkas, place in pans, cover with plastic covers, and let loaves rise for 1.5 hrs at room temperature (about 25C).

Canadian babkas and coffee cakes are often sprinkled with streusel, so if you like it, then brush the surface of the loaves with the remaining egg white and sprinkle with streusel: 1/3 cup all-purpose flour,  1/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, rub until crumbly. 

Bake for 35-37 min at 350F in a regular (not convection) oven or in a bread machine. 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Your second babka sounds like a big improvement over their original Mariana, good for you for fixing it.  You should send them your improvements. 

Benny

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Interesting.

Form the look, it strikes me to be more in the vein of a provitica, which is one of the slavic versions.

In the end, these are all sweetened, enriched doughs that are rolled out and topped/filled with a paste. I would suspect there are as many 'real' versions as there are regions, if not grandparents!

Povitica, specifically, does not have a split log - my understanding is that it is generally rolled thinner and, rather than spliting and/or braided, is 'simply' doubled over itself.

While I have no cultural attachment to babka or any similar bread/cake/pastry, I feel that it is like so much cuisine in that the original is lost to time and irrelevant anyway. Doubtless, the myriad variations seen from region to region (and family to family) have all likely evolved and mingled and influenced each other over many years so that one baker's 'traditional family recipe' was likely the combination of many factors and little customisations, additions and omissions down through the generations.

I grew up with a constant supply of pain au chocolat from my grandfather and, to me, I view ones I can buy - even from outstanding patisseries - including those I tried in France - to be overblown, mass-market immitations of what a real pain au chocolat should be. I know, intellectually that, if every other pain au chocolat I have ever seen takes one form where the ones I cling to are different, it is likely that our family version is the variant and not the other way around. Yet to me they will always be the 'correct' ones.

This variety and the various regional and family recipes are essenial to the richness and wonder of cooking for me!

When you say 'challah dough', in my research (having never baked, eaten or even seen a babka 'in the flesh,) I came to the conclusion that that a challah is a slighly sweetened egg-enriched bread, while a babka tends to be made with an egg and butter enriched dough (also sweetened). I.e. A Babka is essentially a brioche dough, though most version I see appear to be (sensibly) less rich than brioche.

Or is a 'real' babka supposed to be made with a challah dough and the brioche/krantz-cake style only a latter 'improvement' on the presumably less rich original?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I checked with

https://poweroutage.us/area/state/louisiana

and it looks like Dan's parish, Lafourche Louisiana, currently has 98.39% power outage as of this morning, Mon Aug 30.

We PM'ed Sunday morning, and he was still at home.

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

Have been thinking about him, good to know he's ok enough to be able to message. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

We last communicated Sun AM. The hurricane didn't hit until hours later. He hasn't been on the site since the hurricane hit. My comment is based on the news reporting of how widespread the power outages are down there, and the poweroutage.us report on his parish.

Benito's picture
Benito

We will pray and hope that he and his wife are safe and well.  I sent him a text message earlier and haven’t heard back not surprisingly.  Hopefully when cell service and power is back we’ll hear from him.

Benny

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Thanks for the information all - when you're back, Dan, know that you have been in all our thoughts.

d

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Oh my god, I wasn't aware Dan is from this area.  Dan you are very much in my thoughts as well, friend.  I hope you and your family are safe and that you stay safe.  Pulling for you here, this community.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Has anyone tried this recipe? https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/chocolate-babka/

I made the dough just now (adapted to use CLAS, but hydration is the same), and while they say it should be very soft, it's like crazy soft, almost liquidy. The gluten developed really nicely with the hand mixer and spiral attachments, but I am still worried about how stretchy the dough is. It's a bit like ciabatta, or how I've seen in videos for pannetone perhaps. I left it to bulk now, will see how the fermentation affects it, but I am a bit scared to roll it out. Any experience/thoughts? Should I just add some more flour, or the recipe relies on heavy dusting when rolling out to incorporate some flour?

Here is my adjusted formula: https://fgbc.dk/1s80

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

If I'm reading that right, that's 95% hydration with 54% fat content.

Is that what you get as well?

I am treating eggs as 50g (shells removed) with 75% of that as water, hence 2 eggs = 75g 'water'. I have milk at 95% water so ~142g.

Then butter at 15% 'water' and we're at 238g/250g = 95% hydration.

That's the way I worked mine and when I was chatting with Benny, it seems he is counting things much the same.

Most of the recipes I went over ended up between 40%-60%, with a few outliers but nothing close to 95%.

Given my last ciabatta was indeed up around 90-95%, I can see the comparison!

My babka dough was 50% hydration with 23% fat (as baker's percentages) and it rolled out nicely.

My steps were:

  1. Mix and knead.
  2. Bulk warm (cold here so used the oven's proofing feature).
  3. Punch down well and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Roll out the next day.
  5. Rollup - untopped - and refrigerate again for 30 mins.
  6. Top and rollup.
  7. Refrigerate the completed log for another 30 mins.
  8. Take out the log and split it down the centre.
  9. Shape, into the pan, proof, etc . . .

What I found was that the initial roll was quite nice - perhaps it sprang back a little. However, I made the dough thin and it was too soft to accept the topping so back to the fridge. The second chill, after rolling with the filling, was just to ensure a cleaner cut.

No way I could have been as neat as I was without the extra chilling - at least not at my skill and speed!

When rolling it out, I dusted quite lightly with flour and rubbed a little on top but didn't need it so brushed it off the board as with was just making the dough slide about!

d.

 

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

It's actually only one egg in the dough, they meant another egg for the egg wash later if you look more closely at the text. But still it's over 80% hydration I guess? That's what the foodgeek calculator is also suggesting, and from how it feels I believe this number.

However I just rolled it out and spread the filling - while the dough is indeed very tender, it was totally doable without too much trouble! I guess the high level of fat helps the dough not stick, and also since it's so soft there is no need to apply any force beyond the weight of the rolling pin basically, it stays cohesive and doesn't stick to the pin or the counter. I did dust with flour, but not huge amount. When cutting and shaping the dough stretched very easily, but since it's baked in a tin (or rather two small ones in my case), and the shape is a bit random anyway, it shouldn't be a problem Overall I'm very pleasantly surprised with the interim result, I was expecting this to fail completely. It's now final proofing, I'll post the results!

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Whoops!

80% does seem rather more reasonable and that's where the two outliers were, roughly.

I suspect a little higher hydration could have helped mine, too, so I'll factor that in if I make this monstrous creation again. (Though I think the component most lacking in my case was any kind of experience with enriched doughs or having to roll dough - of any sort - out into anything other than a 12" round for pizza!)

I look forward to the pictures and the full report tomorrow!

(Oh, wait - it is tomorrow here. High time to close these eyes!)

d.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

As I posted above, I made the "Delicious" magazine babka yesterday (two small ones, to be more precise), adapted to include CLAS. The dough was super soft, but in the end was strong enough and not sticky, so shaping wasn't so hard. But no way would I be able to develop this dough so nicely by hand, I'm glad I used a hand-held mixer with the spiral attachments. It develops dough really well. And no need to create a mess on the counter with wet dough, particularly when incorporating butter. Maybe with all bread flour instead of half/half with plain flour it would be easier by hand.

When placed in the tins the dough was barely reaching ~1/3 of the height, it about doubled during the 30 min final rise, and the grew in the oven an was close to the top of the tins then. As stated in the recipe, later in the bake the babkas caved in a little bit in the center, so they ended up less tall.

My own small addition was brushing some lemon verbena syrup on top when they just came out of the oven, since I had it on hand. It added the shine on top, and a light citrusy aroma to the top crust. I didn't pour lots of it on the babkas like some recipes suggest.


The outside turned out surprisingly crispy (I guess my black metal tins help with that, and I also placed them on a baking steel, since it was already in the oven). My girlfriend thought some parts were a little burned, I called them deeply caramelized and ate everything :) However the inside is super tender and soft! Very buttery, not overly sweet. Tasty. Because the outside is crispy and inside is so soft, it was even tricky to cut it into neat slices, especially when it was fresh. One of them is already gone, the second one will surely disappear today.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Great work with so wet and rich a dough!

I agree - caramelised - my first thoughts were actually of canele with that beautiful, porous, rich interior set off against the crispy, ever so slightly bitter caramelised crust.

Definitely much more open than my comparaitvely dry and lean dough! (I am not one for overly rich food but the extra hydration is definitely worth it from the looks of it.)

d

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you Dan! I've never tried canele, but your description sounds spot on for what I got with this babka.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

This is a canele:

Canele de Bordeaux

They are delicious.

Benito's picture
Benito

They look and sound wonderful Ilya, well done.  Although the dough was high hydration for this style of bread, you did so well despite that challenge.   I started out trying to hand mix and develop my dough which was lower hydration than yours, but that still was too difficult so I resorted to using my KA standmixer.  I do like babka that aren’t too sweet, soft and buttery and not too sweet are great.  It sounds like yours is just that.

Benny

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks Benny! Yes, this type of dough is so much easier to develop with a mixer. Very soft, buttery and not too sweet, that it is!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Connection was terrible but in those few words he’s okay

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

That's great to hear.  Thanks for letting us know, alfanso.

Benito's picture
Benito

Good news, thanks for letting us know Alan.

Benny

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

grilled babka or some camp fire babka on a stick with marshmallows until power is back on.  I expect he'll save his phone recharge for emergencies.

Oh, campfire babka could get decadent..."Have smore babka!"

alfanso's picture
alfanso

doesn't qualify as decadent.  I'm outraged I tell ya!  To which I add, I've developed ganache-filling envy seeing some of the other entries, so I reworked the formula to add 50% more ganache.  Just because...

Instead of smores, maybe topping a slice with the US Girl Scout Samoa cookies.

https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/Meet-the-Cookies.html

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm trying to still define the outer limits of "what is a babka?"  

The most obvious:  1) it must have layers with filling.   How about filled dough tubes? Is a jelly donut filled with nutella a mini babka?  I polished off a few (hubby brought them home fresh from the baker) and must say they killed my desire to bake babka that day.  ( And why are they sold out of season? Nov. 11 to Ash Wednesday)  The nutella filling was called, nougat. They were decadent and humble at the same time. Fingers stay clean.  Oh yes. Irresistible. 

How is Babka served?  Cut off square, in sections or in wedges to expose layering on a dessert plate?  Grabbed with fingers like monkey bread? Dripping upside down or not in syrup?  Dipped in choclate fondue on the end of long forks?  With cream? Whipped cream? Ice cream? No cream?  Rolled in fondant or ganache?  With a fork? Can a fork even be managed? Can I make a nutella filled round sticky bun and roll it in caramelized nuts with a stick (like a caramelized apple) and still call it babka?  Babka on a stick sounds like fun.  

Loaf pan, round cake pan, no pan, deep pan, how about flat like a jelly roll pan rolling up with a second filling when cool?  Ooo!  

Babka muffins?  Some fun cutting off pieces of twisted dough.  (Maybe cut off pieces before cutting lenthwise.)

Moulded Babka...where is that Easter lamb mould hiding?  (Think Tiger.)  (Think harder.)  Gugelhupf? Tube pan?  Wedding cake?  Oh wouldn't that be delightful? ...and it freezes well!   

alfanso's picture
alfanso

and which should answer the questions of a curious playful Oven.

"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges."

I'll take it that your Q's are legit and not only for fun, so ...

In other words, rules don't apply in our little corner of the baking universe.  You may recall several times where I posted that my favorite new baguette formula bakes were when I searched the google machine and could find that no one else had baked, or at least posted on line, that formula in baguette form, including the Hamelman formula posted at the top of last summer's baguette CB.

I can offer you this - in my lifetime, now hitting 71 revolutions around the sun, I can never recall a babka baked in any other form than a loaf pan.  Exception goes to Benny, who is off the charts when it comes to creativity combined with superb skills, and should be cuffed and frog-marched to a rehabilitation farm for reprogramming.  

It has "always" been served as slices as one would for any loaf pan bread, but as the esteemed Dr. Snyder has mentioned more than once "YMMV".

Current day babka dough is assumed to always be enriched, brioche-like, and it is not on any diet-conscious plan in any universe I've ever seen. IOW, it is designed to be decadent.  The dough seems to always be rolled up and then twisted, or occasionally layered so that the filling slathered on the dough assumes the free form veins we see.  Chocolate filling dominates, with raspberry and cinnamon coming in as offshoot cousins.

Some ridiculously chocolate versions are dense, but the babka crumb is often soft, feathery and lofty.

And just because it may not meet the standards of a historically notated babka, doesn't mean a whole lot.  The original automobile design was basically a horse drawn carriage without the horse.  I don't see a whole lot of them on the roads, as it ain't no more.

In summary, that's my corner of the universe experience.  However, I refer you back to the top two quotes.  No extra points for identifying the movies as they are too easy to name.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And we are having a little serious fun on the side while more folks are getting up the courage to make babka, myself included.  I just put nougat cream on my shopping list along with AP, dogfood and sugar.  I sort of banned the first and the last from the house but heck, for the community bake, let's give babka a whirl and see what comes out.  It can't be too tricky, and all the posted pics make it easy to follow.  Chocolate is good for the soul. 

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Whereas kibble might render your babka unpleasantly crunchy, canned canine feeds are spreadably smooth. Easier to distribute on your babka dough. I’d go with that. 

Our Stella loves her chipmunk pate babka. 

t

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Having never seen a babka in the wild - let alone eaten one, I did much research on the topic.

As with so many things that become so representative of a specific culture and/or place, there are bound to be many, many disagreements about what a 'true' version is.

There's a Polish 'babka' that's shaped like a bundt and is similar to a pannetone in that it is a sweetened, enriched festive (Christmas/easter) bread, usually with fruit.

There's the Slovenian potica and Croatian and Serbian provitica as well as the Northern Italian putizza. The Polish even have something that more closely resemblesa 'babka' (Makowiec) than their 'babka' does. The German's also have a version in their nusszopf.

Beyond that, there are doubtless many other regional variations on the theme, which is a sweetened, enriched dough that has been topped or filled and then swirled, rolled, braided or twisted.

I have seen recipes that insist it must be made with a brioche dough (which, if I am correct, should use only eggs for hydration - no milk) while other insist it must be challah dough, which is also enriched with eggs, though uses no dairy and thus no butter (or milk, of course,) instead using oil (if at all).

I have seen it asserted that what is now popularly called 'babka' is actually 'krantz cake', though the only provenance for such a recipe seems, inexhorably, to lead to Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem, which is less than a decade old.

In short, after many long hours researching, I came to the conclusion that 'babka' has about as much distinction as knafeh/Kunefe/Kanafa - the sweet cheese dish topped with strands of phyllo that can instead use a cream-custard or semolina pudding filling instead of cheese  - or a semolina crust instead of kataifi, and may have a nut topping or not.

Or like baklava/beklawa/Paklava and so on.

Which is to say, I think, that as long as you are using a sweetened, yeast-risen dough enriched with some combination of eggs and/or milk and/or oil and/or butter and then ensuring there is some sort of sweet and/or nutty filling, and, as long as you make an attempt build in some layering, you should feel comfortable enough simply asserting that your creation is 'babka'.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Without which such background digging goes undone or widely unnoticed.  As with other CBs, the example used is just that, an example from which the participants are welcomed and even encouraged to fly off in any direction the wind or whim takes them.

As a Bronx NY boy, the only babka I was ever exposed to was pretty much what Maurizio's, and mine way at the top of this CB, look like, and why I described from my own experience what a babka is.

(As a Bronx boy, when my brother went out of state to college in the 60's, a classmate asked him whether he had brass knuckles or a black jack with him.  I guess our hometown brought with it a reputation not always deserved.)

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

And if you happen to hear from him again at all, give him Mini's idea about grilling babka, lol. He might just do it - no power = no freezer sooooo..... 

Kistida's picture
Kistida

Thank you for sharing the info. Hope he and his family are all okay. 🙏🏻

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Footage from Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes was horrific.  If Danny rode it out at home, it must have been one wild ride.  He's gotta have some cleanup ahead, if not rebuilding. A generator and water filter would help too.

Glad he and his are safe.  Thanks for the report.

t

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Any new word on Danny?

alfanso's picture
alfanso

He called me yesterday morning, GMT+5, and the line was clear until it was completely cut off and lost after 2 minutes.  He and his family are all fine, no damage to his house, but a lot of downed trees and debris to clear.  The roof was ripped off his Mother In Law's house!

He has zero knowledge of any news as there is no way for him to acquire it with no internet and no power.  I'l assume that he is on his own generator for home electricity.  I told him it reminded me of when the 1989 SF  area earthquake hit.  Our friends could receive and call long distance, but no local calls could get though.   He said 'yes'.

I sent him a long newspaper article of his area via text, figuring that if his cell could call call out, perhaps he could receive a text to that number.  At that point the call was dropped.  No further knowledge. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Happy to hear that Dan and family are all fine, but it sounds like he will be extremely busy with repairs or clean up for some time now.  Thanks for the update Alan.

Benny

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Thanks for keeping us all posted.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Was able to very Spotily (a word?) text and speak to him.  Line keeps dropping.  

He's on his own generator, that's how he has  cell phone "access".  No electricity, no cable nor internet, lost water yesterday but got it back again.  His house is 91dF with no A/C.  He and family are safe and healthy.

"things are improving but very slowly".  He certainly didn't sound down, but no surprise as Dan is the ultimate optimist.

Gadjowheaty's picture
Gadjowheaty

Thank you Allen.  At least he's safe. Though he has such a long and painful road ahead, I'm glad he and his wife are safe.

Ctwith3's picture
Ctwith3

I’m coming to your houses- I haven’t had chocolate babka in ages, and the last one I had was just okay.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and I turned down the temp to 175°C because something smells too close to burnty.  I bought two different nougat creams and they spread very differently.  Nutella spread easier.  I have a lot of filling in my quick yeasted spelt bread. The loaf is so dark, I can't see it in the oven from across the room.  Looks like it disappeared in there but the aromas are to die for! 

Spelt is too weak for the heavy filling. Two twists weigh down the middle of the loaf.  I got a sunken sway back loaf but the crumbs falling off are tasty. Depanned too early.  I have to roll a shorter thicker dough log to split down the middle to make a shorter twist.  I did like the dough thoughfor handling.  

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Babka in oven.

Aromas are to die for.

Anticipation.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think I discovered Nutella fudge.  Doesn't have the height like the post photo (diferent recipe) but sure is tasty. I think I have more filling than dough.

  

(next time less kibble)  Crunchy crust heavy crumb. When first tried to depan, it wanted to flow out like lava.  It passed the clean toothpick test after baking. It breaks apart easily.

Benito's picture
Benito

Yes that is a high filling to bread ratio Mini.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

rolling out the dough.  Well now we know what 300g flour in the dough looks like pared with equal amounts of filling.  Heck I just used up one jar and was only half way across the dough!  I should have taken the hint but that bigger second jar was begging to be opened.  Darn, the temptation was so strong I forgot to take a picture of the spread.  Here is the dough.  Isn't it just so beautifully thin?  Do NOT do this!  Lol!

The twist got so long... anyway...if you zoom in maybe you can count the number of rows but it doesn't matter...too many!  

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

You did a me!

I'm guessing you don't deal with enriched 'pastry-style' doughs very often? If so then your experience definitely sounds like mine - I was enjoying the feel of the dough - as a novelty - and, yeah, same result:


I bet the taste of yours is amazing, though!!! (I have a tendency to add spelt to anything even slightly sweet - cakes, biscuits, pancakes, fruit bread - but I chickened out here!)
Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

When I screw up, I tend to think about how I could have saved it, where was the point to turn it around?  That would have been when half the rolled out dough was covered with nougat.  I could have folded the olher half of the dough right over the nougat cream and dusted off any excess flour (maybe misted the dough) and rolled up the dough from the short end.  That would have cut the nougat amount in half and thickened up the dough layer.  Eventually having a nice twist that fit the pan.   Na ya.  

(That's a larger than average rolling pin in the previous picture.)

This flat babka is very rich and freezing sounds good.  Think I'll cut up into 1" cubes. 100% spelt by the way. It contains both fresh yeast, IDY, and baking powder, only 18g sugar (plenty in the nougat.)  One to two hours from mixing dough to Oven which really shortens the prep time. Flavour is incredible, texture fudgy and crumbly. (Crumbly from the spelt?)  If the next attempt turns out, I'll post the recipe. 

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Folding it over was EXACTLY what I was thinking - and actually wondering how that might end up looking and whether that might be a good variation in order to more easily add two flavours.

My own method for that (used for my small 'wreaths') was to divide the dough and then take one of the split halves from each sheet, like so:


Thinking on it now, spreading half with my chocolate mix, folding over, spreading the exposed top with speculaas (or peanut butter, or whatever) and then rolling it might be . . . interesting..

And I have just noticed that the dough twist at the bottom-right looks like a bird head, which is kind of cute, I suppose.

d.
Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Woo hoo!!

I was really hoping you'd join this particular party as I was sure you'd do something interesting! Spelt and nougat babka; awesome.

Looking forward to it.

d

alfanso's picture
alfanso

After getting ganache-envy from a few other entries, I bumped the chocolate ganache up by 50% and rolled out the dough to ~12X17 inches, instead of the 9x17 inches from before.  Otherwise I kept to Melissa Clark's formula.

By rolling out the dough a few inches wider I was able to get an additional turn on the dough as I was rolling it up, which was the idea behind adding another set of chocolate veins in the babka.  These are heavy beasts, coming in at just under 2.5 pounds each.  The stated time for the bake is between 40-50 minutes, but these took the better part of 80 minutes to come up to at least 185dF.

One of the two is being turned over to our neighbors who are off on a road trip tomorrow morning.  So I also baked a set of the Hamelman WW baguettes for their sandwiches, and will shortly turn over one babka and two baguettes to them.  A busy morning.

Benito's picture
Benito

The increased filling to bread ratio is good Alan, I think these will eat much better and read more chocolaty which I think is what one wants from a chocolate babka.  The baguettes are awesome as always.  You are still the grigne/ear King of baguettes on TFL.

Benny

alfanso's picture
alfanso

as are the individual slices, the bread is light and fluffy when taken as small pieces ripped off a slice.  I think that I'll stick with the greater percentage of chocolate ganache.  With chocolate babka, the keyword is "chocolate", no?

You can't be a calorie counter with babka.  Unless you like counting really big numbers!

thanks, Alan

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Packaging up the babka by slices, I thought the way the veins of chocolate shift was interesting enough to post.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Yes, I agree - that ratio looks good. I thought I had laid it on too thick for my own but, as I think I mentioned in an earlier post, unlike a swiss roll or similar, the dough portion expands while the topping/filling doesn't so going thicker than seems reasonable while rolled out produces a much more restrained thickness of filling than you expect! (Or at least than I expected, being the desert novice I am!)

That said, as good as those look, I'd choose the baguettes any day!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

that the additional weight of the ganache might be detrimental to the loft of the dough, however they expanded during final proof and baking as did the prior batch.  These are ridiculously rich.  

Thanks for the babka and baguette compliments.  Like the actor or musician who makes it as an "overnight success" after struggling for 20 years, it took a lot of practice to get the baguettes to where they've been for the last few years.  And I'm still honing the skill a step at a time.  

Your baguette crumb is quite noteworthy, and approaching Benny grandeur.  They look good and shaping and scoring will continue to improve over time, perhaps a short time with concentrated effort. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Yes. I love them. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

as long as you aren't on a diet, and then you'll best settle for only the first half of the old refrain "you eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth".

Growing up, I'd only have babka the rare times that my parents would buy one from the local bakery.  Otherwise it was "chocolate swirl chiffon loaf" household, a delicious but much lighter (the "chiffon" part) and less decadent dessert.  I only began "exploring" babka at an adult age.  All those formative years "wasted".  😢.

thanks, Alan 

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Those baguettes (and babka!) look incredible, Alfonso! Nice work, as usual 🙂

alfanso's picture
alfanso

to particpate in the CB was not a hard choice.  Well, a recent trip to NYC to visit wife's family and then one to ABQ two weeks ago to see my brother surely didn't help with the trimming down aspects of dieting.

Baking them is half the fun, and of course eating them is the other half!  The babka prep process can be a bit "fussy" for me, but the ends surely do justify the means.  The baguettes, while not quite there yet, are close to being able to be made while half asleep at this point.🤡  Thanks.

If you don't know, a baby hippo was born at the the zoo in July.  Had to go see it, although it spent most of its time underwater at its mother's side.  And unfortunately whatever malady is doing it, another adult gorilla died or was euthanized over some as yet unaccounted for disease.

Made a trip to Tin Can Alley for arepas and the pernil sandwich, upstairs to the outdoor dining area (we still will not eat indoors yet), for a delightful outdoor days' stop with a few IPAs to wash it down.  A stop at Alto Farina for a night-before departure dinner.  The obligatory stop at Coda Bakery for banh-mi sandwiches before visiting the Nuclear Museum - great place.  And a trip up to Santa Fe for the annual Native American crafts show and dinner at Boca.  But missed a breakfast stop this time at the Frontier near the UofM (where TFL's David Snyder did his residency). 

I also introduced my sister in law to a pair of seeded breads, which I oversaw while she did all of the heavy lifting

A little too suburban a city for us, but I don't think I'll ever tire of visiting your hometown.  But once this covid-thang is put to rest, let's have another coffee together!

Alan

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Sounds like you made a good run of ABQ! Tin Can Alley is right down the street from me but I haven't yet visited—soon, I'm hoping! Next time you come through, be sure to get a pastry at Burque Bakehouse, they're fantastic. Ah yes, I remember the Frontier days (I did my Master's degree at UNM), it's been here for so long, it's a classic.

Definitely, once all of this is behind us, let's meet up again! Would be awesome to catch up, and I can always bring you whatever new baking experiment is going on over here. 

Stay well and happy baking!

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Hey, everyone! Thanks for including my babka recipe for this Community Bake (thanks, Dan, for giving me the heads up!). I ended up baking it this weekend as well—it's just as delicious as I remember ;)

My final dough temp came in a few degrees below the called for 78°F (25°C), so I had to extend my bulk and proof times to compensate. My bulk ended up being 4 hours, and proof I had to push all the way to 5. This is definitely a slow-moving dough thanks to the added sugar—it's super important to push that proof until the dough is very light and fluffy. Results below!

Here's the dough after its 5-hour long proof, just below the rim. Pressing it feels like a soft marshmallow.

TPL Babka fully proofed

Here's me squishing the twist to fit the pan. I use a piece of parchment to help transfer the dough into the 9x4x4" Pullman:

And a few shots just before, and after slicing:

Nice crust!

Interior:

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend and if you've made a babka--enjoy!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks for sharing your work for us to bake Maurizio, I’ve learned a lot from you over the past 2.5 years and really appreciate your detailed posts.

Benny

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Super glad to hear that, Benny! Happy to help pass on anything I learn in the kitchen 🙂

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sure is a beauty!  How big a square or rectangle would you roll out to  fit your pan? One loaf, please.  :)

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Thank you! I roll mine out to a 10 x 12-inch rectangle. This makes for thicker dough swirls and pieces, but if you want more of a spiralized look, you can roll it out longer to make more revolutions. I find it easier to keep the dough thicker, which stays cooler for longer.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Yes - this was what I realised - too late!

Having pretty much never worked with enriched dough before, it was just fun and I went overboard! I ended up having to roll it up and put it in the fridge in order to cool it back down.

Speed, I think, is of the essence. (Not to mention the practiced hand that drives it!)

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Using the fridge like that is always an option! And with this recipe, I use the freezer once I have it rolled up just to firm the dough to make cutting it easier.

Baking always keeps us on our toes 🙂

JonJ's picture
JonJ

You know, I have always rolled it to about the 10X12 inch size and it does yield the thicker dough which reminds me of the babka that my grandmother would make. And the dough is easy to handle and the choc/cinnamon is nice and thick.

However.... aren't all of these thinly rolled babka very pretty looking, must confess to some dough envy here.

Also one more thing to add - took care to place it into the pan with the chocolate facing down, so that the top of the loaf is mostly plain dough. It doesn't look as pretty as so many of the loaves here because of this. Did this because of my old baking notes saying that the chocolate on top tends to burn.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Ahh, but on top of the loaf, you put some foil! Or at least I did!

(But then, of course, I burned myself taking it off to check and again when putting it back on.)

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Rolling out a little longer will give you more of those beautiful layers. I'd probably try going 10 x 14-inches next time just to see what I gain from 2 more inches. But the dough is pretty thick, I'd imaging if you were quick, you could go out to 16 inches. Now I know what to play with next time 🙂

Benito's picture
Benito

I've been rolling to about 16" or a bit more in length to get as many layers as possible.  I started doing this for my swirled three dough milk breads ad continued for the babka.  I love the layers and don't mind the greater filling to bread ratio it gives in the babka.

Benny

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Making a thin layer of dough might work differently with a thiner thin layer of filling. 

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Followed Maurizio's recipe with a few twists. I used yeast water (built as per the yeast water bake here) as I felt that was more able to handle the fermentation than my sourdough starter which struggled last time. Also made a halva spread (3 tbsp tahini, 1.5 tbsp stiff honey, 0.5 tsp vanilla powder) and spread that on top of the chocolate filling layer - sheer decadence to have two filings. And topped it with a raspberry topping following Benny's post (but stupidly forgot to strain the seeds). The flavours do go very well together.

Benito's picture
Benito

That must be a tasty slice Jon.  I’ve never had halva but based on what it is made of I’m sure I’d love it.  Think of the raspberry seeds as texture!

Benny

maurizio's picture
maurizio

Delicious!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Raspberry and chocolate!

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Have this picture now in my head of mini oven as being one of those cloud gazers finding unicorns in the sky.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with my imagination. Sorry to offend or discourage anyone. 

Mini 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy
justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

I did it! My first babka! Details over on my blog post.

It was soooooo yummy! We ate plenty last night, saved a few slices and put them in the freezer, and gifted the rest to some friends. They were not unhappy, lol.

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Choc and coconut is such a great combination. That slice looks absolutely inviting.

It makes me wonder how to make something that was soaked, like a lamington.

Jon 

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Ha - I was just about to say that we have jam + choc and choc + coconut but we need the aussie bake-sale trifecta!

Choc-coconut filling with Benny's jam glaze and you've got yourself an inside-out lamington babka!

Benito's picture
Benito

I've heard of lamingtons but never eaten one, but that flavour combination would make a great babka.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Would you look at that?

https://www.thesydneygrind.com/product/lamington/18

No jam in the middle, mind.

d

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

on top.  Mmmmmmm

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've been mulling over my favourite south seas delights and what comes to my mind is a pandan babka with coconut and palm sugar (dark) filling.  That would be green w/ dark stripes. Coconut glaze or coconut liquor drizzle...

Logo! Someone beat me to it!  ...and with streusel!  

https://whattocooktoday.com/pandan-coconut-babka.html

Benito's picture
Benito

I've heard about pandan but never had the opportunity to try it.  Every time I'm in Chinatown I forget to look for it there.  I like your idea of an Asian babka Mini.  What does pandan taste like?

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hard to put my finger on it.  Somewhere between sweet jasmine, butter, and nutty, green, fresh. Very unique. Also refered to as poor man's vanilla.  It grows everywhere in the tropics. Intoxicating aroma.  You can probably find pandan extract.  Once introduced to pandan, the nose always finds it. Extract is very concentrated.  I keep my extract inside a second jar, used only drops at a time. Think a bit on the aroma of a good quality jasmine rice steaming away with crispy caramel edges next to the heat source.

Palm sugar is darker than dark brown cane sugar. Toasted coconut flakes in the filling might bring out contrast. 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pandan

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ve added it to my shopping list.  Apparently pandan powder is sold in Chinatown, of course most of the people working in the grocery stores there only speak Mandarin or Cantonese and I speak neither so it might be a challenge to find in those chaotic stores.  Also fresh pandan leaves apparently are also sometimes available too.

Benny

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a problem for you.  Take a picture showing the plant and be patient.  If it doesn't seem right what is offered, look a little sad and disappointed and maybe a helpful shop keeper will pull out the good stuff. Keep doing this until you get a good smelling pandan.  If you go fresh, you need at least thirty leaves depending on the size of the leaves.  

Benito's picture
Benito

Good point about the fresh leaves, having never used them I wouldn’t have guessed it would take that many.  Using a photo is a good way of communicating.  It would help if I could get to Chinatown on a weekend at morning when things are less hectic, otherwise there are few people there to assist.

AlanG's picture
AlanG

Babka

My daughter who is in from Oakland for Rosh Hashonah helped me with the Melissa Clark babka recipe.  We were both surprised at how much they rose in the oven during baking.  They came out of the oven about an hour ago and need to cool before we slice them.  Jenny did a much better job of braiding than I did (her's is on the right).  It was a fun project and we did the dough prep the day before and retarded it in the refrigerator.  Thanks to DanAyo for setting up this community bake.  I've always wanted to try baking a babka and this got me moving!!

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Lovely.  It's a great recipe, and the oven spring, even the final proof is something to behold.  A bit on the fussy side, a few too many steps for regular prep and baking, in my book.  And the first time or two we need to be careful to get the dough rolled out and rolled up quickly before it becomes too limp and soft.

From the topside they aren't nearly as pretty as the Maurizio style.  But once the slices show their true character, ooh la la!  As you've now experienced, it's the simple sugar that gets poured into the top-down holes which render the dough moist, unlike a number of other styles where reports are that the dough can be a little dry.

Not a good bread for calorie counting, unless you enjoy counting very high numbers.

The other Alan

Looking forward to that cross section showing those lovely veins of ganache flowing through.

AlanG's picture
AlanG

Thanks!!!  When I figured out how many calories were in a slice of babka, we opted not to use the sugar syrup.  It was fine without it and moist enough.  We had some disappointing store bought babka for Rosh Hashonah lunch as there was not time to do the bake before the holiday.  I agree there are a lot of fussy steps but the end result is superb.  We did find out that the braiding is important in terms of how the layers are distributed.  We also did most of the prep work in one day so that on day two it was just the rolling, braiding, and topping that had to be done.  Keeping the dough cold is important also.

islandbakery's picture
islandbakery

I make my chocolate babka in individual size which has been quite popular. Filled with a chocolate ganache filling with just a touch of cinnamon to enhance the flavor. No lesser babka here.  

alfanso's picture
alfanso

of what a babka can be, and an example of one's personal imagination.  When you say individual size, is this meant to be consumed in one sitting?  And I'll guess that a lot of folks would like to have a peek at the crumb's cross section.  We're a nosey group!

Dan, the founder and host of the Community Bakes, is unavailable to welcome you as he is suffering the results of Hurricane Ida still.  In his stead, I'll welcome you to the fold.  As a self-described long time lurker, you are likely aware of the CBs and how they operate, and thanks for participating.

Alan 

Benito's picture
Benito

I like the idea of a sweet roll style of babka, great idea!  I’ll second the welcome to the babka CB.

Benny

islandbakery's picture
islandbakery

Thanks for the warm welcome. These are designed to be individual sized and (were) consumed in one sitting. So unfortunately no crumb shot. Next time. They were baked in mini panettone paper molds about the size of extra large size muffin tins. 

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

Hang on - babka loaves aren't 'individual sized' already?

Oh. That'll be me off for a long run, then!

Sabina's picture
Sabina

I just went and found an internet recipe for the style of babka I'm used to: Polish Yeast Babka with Raisins {Babka Drożdżowa z Rodzynkami} - Polish Your Kitchen

I used sourdough instead of yeast, mixing 40g of starter with 100g of the flour and 75ml of the milk from the recipe and letting that sit for 12 hours before mixing everything together. After kneading I let the dough sit overnight in my cold room before realizing the recipe didn't call for two rises. Whoops. It still rose well after I put it in the pan. I let it rise for about 8 hours at 95F in my dehydrator. It turned out pretty tasty. It's richer and sweeter than what I'm used to, which I happen to like, but I'm not sure the extra richness was worth the hassle of the difficult dough.

The recipe says to knead the dough on the counter, but the author also says she uses a stand mixer, and I have to wonder if she ever actually tried kneading the dough on the counter. After about 25 minutes of basically just pushing the dough around, I could finally sort of lift it off the counter, at which point I wanted to start slapping it down, but I couldn't, because that made the raisins fly out. Here's a picture of the dough after 25 minutes of "kneading", and after about 55 minutes of "kneading", at which point I was done whether the dough was ready or not.

I thought the rise in the pan looked pretty good, but the bread/cake split a bit when baking, so maybe I should have let it go for longer:

Anyway, I just wanted to show a different style of babka. I want to try making a chocolate-filled bread, but we have to eat this first :)

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Think I need to make one of these too and thanks for sharing!

Isn't there supposed to be a strong lemon taste to the Polish style babka? The recipe "only" had the zest of half a lemon.

-Jon

Sabina's picture
Sabina

I'm used to babkas being lemony, but that's all I can say. This was just the first recipe that Google gave me that looked roughly like what I'm used to, but I do agree that it seems to go out of its way to not be super lemony.

I have to admit I used 1/2 tsp lemon extract instead of the zest, and I didn't put any water in the glaze, only lemon juice. I did also pile the glaze on thickly, which is probably "wrong", but the glaze is my favourite part so I didn't want to skimp!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

☕️ 

Kooky's picture
Kooky

Any tips for a vegan dough utilizing some freshly milled flour (namely a bit of whole wheat, hard red berries)? I make vegan butter and it's pretty close to a 1:1 sub... The eggs... Perhaps it's best to just leave them out, maybe increase the butter. Lastly perhaps the addition of some baking powder? I've only had this bread once and it was a mass produced version with butter and egg.

Here's the recipe I'd try to create my own from : https://domesticgothess.com/blog/2020/05/17/vegan-chocolate-babka/

I have a great recipe for doughs suitable for sweet rolls so that might have to be my path, something like @islandbakery's.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to use a sweet roll recipe that is already vegan.  I've boiled up some squash to make a squash dough.  Also using yeast water may get a soft crumb too without dairy.

Sabina's picture
Sabina

Okay so the chocolate-style braided babka is delicious! Tastes exactly like chocolate croissants.

Unfortunately I did something wrong because the bread sort of fell apart after I took it out of the pan. It had risen quite a bit over the pan edge, up and a bit out. When I took it out of the pan, it's like there was nothing to hold the layers together and the top part spread out and fell over.

 

The middle of the loaf, in the last picture, is a bit compressed, so maybe I just needed to bake the whole thing a bit longer.

I also had trouble shaping it. The dough was cold when I rolled it out, and it was pretty easy to roll out, but I think the chocolate filling had not cooled enough, because once I put it on, the dough softened up immediately. I also think I must have made the filling wrong, because as I was rolling the dough up with it, it got hard, like a bar of chocolate. The filling wouldn't bend at all while I was braiding, but it did crack and break. I also think I maybe didn't make the roll tight enough. 

When I was making this I was very much reminded of the time I tried to make a gluten-free cinnamon roll recipe for the first (and last) time. I just couldn't roll up the dough and slice the rolls. It all fell apart into a big mess of dough and cinnamon filling. There's no going back from that, so I scooped everything into loaf pans and swirled it around a bit and baked it like that. I still put icing on the loaves. They were a gift for someone, and I apologized profusely for the state of the "cinnamon rolls". Now that I know what a babka is, though, I realize I should have told them I'd made special babkas. I don't think you'd have been able to tell they weren't braided, what with the icing on top.

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Sabina I’ve had the same thing happen at Christmas trying to make babkas for the first time with a filling that was too wet and not extending the bake time enough. 

As you can see it collapsed and the crumb was wet and soggy.  I think that the filling was too wet and that I didn’t bake long enough.  I bet if your filling was softer and if you baked longer it would have been great.  Give it a try again, don’t give up on it yet.

Benny

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

I don't care - whatever that is, I want it.

It reminds me of a super soft, sweet pull-apart style bread that you get from the bakery and tear into and demolish even as you walk out of the store.

Looking at it, I am overcome by the nostaligia and greed elicited those memories of my high-metabolism, school boy days  :  )

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

Oh my, Benny. I have to confess, I burst out laughing at the crumb shot. It's like looking at clouds and seeing specific shapes..... That crumb photo looks like a Halloween ghosty figure of sorts to me, lol. 😆

Benito's picture
Benito

LOL Mary I can see that too, it is a scary bad crumb. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

attacked and eaten.  I see that monster too!  LOL  

But ya can't call them ugly.  Sorry, That prize is still available in my mind.

Sabina's picture
Sabina

Meh, I don't care if it's a bit soggy, I'd eat that. I know it's not exactly like it's supposed to be but it looks soooo delicious!

So there's a problem with trying again and that is that I don't want to eat multiple slices of babka a day. I mean I do want to, but I really, really, shouldn't. I used up the last of my white sugar making this babka and I think it's a sign I need to stop. For now, anyway.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Some metabolisms may be able to handle it but most need a week between bakes.  Which is not bad, gives Dan more time to clean up after the hurricane before he sees what we've been up to here in babka land. 

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

It's always such a pity when those bits break off and therefore just have to be eaten, right then and there!

I had a similar problem with my spread and dough. I made my own chocolate spread/filling based on little more than the notion that I couldn't go too far wrong and so just adjusted as I went.

The mixture turned out to be too hot and started to pull at the dough when I attempted to spread it so I put both the dough and spread in the fridge. When I took them out, the chocolate was now too firm, which is of course what happens when you go light on the oil (or use butter instead, which sets). So, into the microwave it went and so it process went.

I like the fact, however, that the thicker, firmer chocolate ended up 'clumping' a bit and setting back to little clumps in the mix and thus giving a similar effect to adding choc-bits, which some recipes call for. Having the mix do this itself, in a somewhat random way was far more to my liking and also gave something of a streusel-like effect where those bits were exposed at the top.

I also deliberately did not mix the spread as homogenously as I could have as I was kind of hoping for something of a more varied filling! In my research on babka, I saw some people effectively spit up the ingredients of a chocolate filling into separate components - for example: making a sugar/butter mixture (with or without cinamon) and spreading that on first before topping with choc bits.

Sabina's picture
Sabina

Some of them didn't even make it into the photo :)

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

That's the chef's reward.

The burnt ends, the crispy bits, the leftovers that have been absorbing all the juices - delicious morsels, all!

 

Kooky's picture
Kooky

Yes. My vegan babka turned out great, I got all the crispy chocolate on the bottom... Dairy free butter melts quickly, I shouldn't have further melted it as I had just made it and barely cooled it so it was spreadable still... The recipe called for softened, so my braids and shape were a bit wonky. I decided to go with a coconut oil based dough.

It was so good I think half of it was gone before I put the lid on, though I'm not sure the lid has yet to be put on, I still hear people eating it from my room.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

filling for the pandan babka (see the link) that the filling was rolled out between two sheets of plastic film.  That might be the way to go with a thicker filling.  Roll the filling out between the film to the size of the dough, chill if needed, peel back one side and flop onto the rolled out dough. :)

profintraining's picture
profintraining

This poppy-seed and plum babka has been on my “to bake” list for years, but I am always a bit too lazy/hesitant to make poppyseed paste at home—plus here in the UK  poppy seeds are expensive and sold in tiny spice jars! I am currently oven-less, but I am hoping that one of you lovely bakers will be inspired ti give it a go! (This thread already looks delicious enough I want to commandeer a friend’s kitchen!!)

 

the original recipe is in Czech, so I can’t actually read it, but i can promise that Czech sweet doughs with poppy seeds are among the most delicious things out there. Makový závin (poppy seed strudel) is my favourite and my absolute favourite version is made with plums (damsons?). 

Tin czech: 

https://www.maskrtnica.cz/babka/

 

Here’s a link to Google translate’s version::

https://www-maskrtnica-cz.translate.goog/babka/?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=ajax,nv,elem

 

my mouth is watering just rhinking about it! 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

That looks really good, similar to the Jewish poppy seed roll too! In the UK you can buy poppy seeds in ethnic shops for much better price btw (or not necessarily good price, but larger bags, in Realfoods and other organic/health shops), and also I've seen prepared poppy seed filling in a Polish shop too, but haven't tried it.

Btw I recommend grinding boiled poppy seeds for a stronger flavour (I boil them in water first, drain, grind, then boil again with milk, honey/sugar, raisins and lemon zest - or any other flavourings you like). I've shared the recipe in my blog previously. I so love poppy seed rolls, or little pies - homentaschen!

Dan_In_Sydney's picture
Dan_In_Sydney

I had planned to make a poppy seed babka.

A small note - for those not culturally accustomed to the taste: the pre-prepared, canned mixtures Ilya mentions can taste somewhat overwhelmingly of mixed peel.

Or at least that's how it came across to me. I had a choice of two brands with identical ingredient lists and only the most minor of nutritional differences so I chose the one the Polish shopkeeper preferred. Moreover, she said that she never makes her own anymore and just uses those cans so I can only assume that the taste that I found rather too sharp and clashing is nevertheless a relatively accurate approximation of what it is supposed to be.

I now have rather a lot of poppy seed packed neatly in my freezer, waiting for . . . I don't know.


I do have a very good friend who is Polish, whom I have not been able to see since Zombie Apocalypse 2.0 started in Sydney so I'll see if she is interested but otherwise it's likely going to end up, unfortunately, as waste.

Were I to make it, I would definitely leave out the fruit and, if wanted, I would simply sprinkle whatever I did want on top of the mix after spreading it.

d.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

made my day..."Put everything except the butter in the robot and let it rot ...".  Love those translaters!    

The recipe and pictures look very good and tasty.

CharlotteS's picture
CharlotteS

 

I decided to join in on the community bake since the whole process of making babkas looked like so much fun. Notwithstanding that I’m Jewish, I’ve never had babka before (I think it’s more of a NY thing and I was raised in LA and live in the Bay Area) so I wasn’t really sure how it should come out. In any event I gave it a try. 

For my first effort, I used the same recipe (from the NY bakery Breads Bakery) that Dan made and commented on here: https://www.thefreshloaf.com/comment/492616#comment-492616. The recipe can be found at https://www.vice.com/en/article/bjw37d/perfect-chocolate-babka-recipe

Like Dan, I used King Arthur all purpose flour instead of half bread and half pastry flour. I also modified the recipe by cutting the sugar in the dough by 50%, as it seemed like the dough would be too sweet, especially given the sweetness of the filling—Nutella and bittersweet chocolate chips.  (I added an extra small pinch of salt to the dough to compensate for the reduction in sugar.) I also reduced by 50% the amount of Nutella called for. 

Like Dan, after a very long period of mixing to incorporate all of the sugar and butter, I still found the dough, while smooth and silky, to be quite wet and sticky, and I could not pull much of a window. I put it in the refrigerator to rest over night. Luckily, by the next morning, the dough was behaving quite well, although I still needed a fair amount of flour on my hands and countertop to handle it. 

Here is the dough with the Nutella and chocolate chip filling:

 

And here it is rolled up:

I then sliced the roll open. I forgot to refrigerate the roll before slicing—had I done so, I’m sure the slicing would have been neater. 

Babkas braided and in loaf pans:


Babkas out of the oven:

 


I was generally pleased with the outcome. It tasted good, the crumb was even and the swirls were pretty. However, the babkas would have looked better had they been cooked in a taller, narrower pan—the short fat profile is not very pleasing. And they were very heavy—not a light bread! A small slice went a long way.  I think this might be how traditional babkas are supposed to be, but in any case, I’m not sure I would make this particular recipe again. 

 

CharlotteS's picture
CharlotteS

For my second (and I think final effort) I used Maurizio’s recipe, which I followed as written and the results were outstanding! The loaf was light and airy. The bread itself was not sweet and the chocolate filling was very chocolately and not too sweet at all. A perfect amount of sweetness came from the sugar syrup glaze. I’m not sure it’s a traditional babka, but it’s definitely a much improved one in my view, and this recipe will be one I will make again. Thank you Maurizio for an excellent recipe!

Chocolate filling spread and rolling underway



Braided and into pan:

 

Out of the oven:

 

 

 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Both your babkas look lovely Charlotte.  I like Maurizio’s recipes in general including this one.  I agree, having a narrower tall pan does improve the appearance of this style of bread.  If you don’t have a Pullman pan, I think they are great for pan loaves.

Benny 

CharlotteS's picture
CharlotteS

Benny


I think I have quite a ways to go to achieve results comparable to yours, but I thank you for the nice words. I don’t make many pan loaves, but I think you’re right—it’s time I invested in a couple of Pullman loaf pans. 

Charlotte

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I also made a long braid or twist (rolling up the dough starting with the long side) in the first round and I think it has a direct effect on the height of the finished loaf.  The long twist doubled up in the pan seems to make a flatter babka.  Rolling up filled dough starting from the short end should make a shorter log to split with shorter halves to twist.  Twisting and handling seems to make the dough stretch and thin even more which was part of my problem, keeping the dough layer thick.

Mind set. While shaping the twists on the counter top, think about making a wide twist like a wide lazy "8" or "§" as opposed to two "88" next to each other. Scrunching the length shorter to fill the pan from end to end. That will be my next attemp.

Mini  

CharlotteS's picture
CharlotteS

Mini

I think you’re right. I rolled the dough out too thin, and my twists were quite long. I’m sure the profile of the loaf would be better if the dough was thicker to start with, and then was twisted more loosely. Always something to work on for next time! 

Charlotte

 

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

So let me see if I get the basics of the concept:

The dough is a brioche built to ~70% hydration and containing ~25% butter.

The filling is loaded with sugar and chocolate and butter and weighs about 60% of the dough.

Process: The dough is chilled, rolled out, filling applied, dough is rolled up, sealed and refrigerated to make it stiff enough to facilitate the next steps: slice in half lengthwise, plait, arrange in a pan of your choice, proof and bake with streusel on top; perforate freshly baked babka and pour over it a simple sugar glaze of about 20% the weight of the loaf/loaves.

Everything else is optional including photos.

Anything else?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Glaze makes it more desireable, increases salivation, like sizzle on a steak.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

It is hard to believe that it will absorb that much sugar, though a babka is apparently intended to be only a temporary resting place for the sugar and chocolate on the way to your mouth.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Things are getting back to semi-normal since the hurricane. Unfortunately, many others are not so fortunate. In short - the Hurricane devastated our area.

My first bake back was Babka. I really like it best sliced and frozen. And eaten straight from the freezer.

I found a babka formula that had a twist and looked interesting.THIS FORMULA used a tangzhong! The dough has not come together well for the last 3 bakes. The gluten is pitted after mixing, although it rolls out nicely after fermented. Since each back used different formulas, the problem probably arises from my method, but no idea how to remedy this. Below is a typical image (some less blotchy) of the dough after mixing.

Every babka I’ve baked tasted excellent! Beginning to think “bad babka” is a misnomer :-)

alfanso's picture
alfanso

The ring babka looks like a decadent coffee ring.

Regardless of the pitted dough in its rawest form, the final product is where the money is.  When I pinch open the picture of the interior of the ring, the feathery characteristic of the crumb is there.

Leila's developed dough is definitely less pitted, although a few are still evident.  Are you certain that you are mixing it long enough or at the right speed, or does your order of ingredient incorporation play any roll - as in holding off on the butter/oil until late in the game? (silly Q's to ask you I know, but I had to ask).

At the very least, a just reward for having lived through a miserable experience.

Benito's picture
Benito

Glad to see you back Dan and happy that you and your family got through the horrible ordeal of the hurricane.  Terrible what it did to your community.

What do you attribute the pitting of the dough to?  Is it from over kneading or some other factor?  I don’t recall experiencing that with any enriched dough I’ve worked with.

The baked babkas look quite delicious.

Benny

Yeast_Mode's picture
Yeast_Mode

I've made enriched dough with tangzhong before, and I had the same experience with the dough having that pitted look. I found it much easier to work with after giving it some rest.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and came to the same conclusion, the flour needed longer to hydrate. 

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Danny, you prove that a hurricane can't keep a good baker down.  Glad to see you posting (and baking) again.  I was in Miami in August 1992 when Andrew arrived, and the devastation from one of these events cannot be described and must be seen in person to be believed.  Looking forward to more postings from you.  Happy baking.  Ted

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The dough was mixed in a spiral mixer. I estimate ~30 minutes or more. The dough was not over mixed, it was strong. The butter was mixed in after the gluten was developed 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough temp was never higher than 76F.

If brioche type doughs don’t normally produce pitted doughs, then there is probably something wrong with my method/procedures. I have tried KAAP and also strong flour(s) with higher gluten. The end product works out fine but I would like to solve this issue.

Another thought -
My doughs are allowed to rise quite a bite before baking. That may explain why I fail to get the thin layers of chocolate and dough. I wonder if the layers of dough are rising so much that the layers of dough are much thicker than the layer of chocolate. I have read in this CB that some bakers write that their babka doesn’t rise very high. I estimate mine quadruple. NOTE - the OP detailing the last bake has an image of a slice. Keep in mind that the single slice is laying down on the plate.

Any thoughts or ideas appreciated.

OH! I learned from this CB that freezing the roll before slicing was helpful. It is the only way to go, IMO. The dough is easier to cut and especially easier to twist into shape.

The tangzhong seems to be a nice addition to babka. The dough is more moist and tender. The author I followed said she thought is also latest longer before staling. No idea about that, my bread is sliced and frozen after it is baked.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I can only base my experience on the Melissa Clark version, so I can't speak for any other style or method.  These are the first two instructions in the process.  I have the old Kitchen Aid J-hook...

  1. Electric mixer with dough hook - mix flour, IDY, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg. (Or use large bowl and wooden spoon.) Beat in milk and eggs until dough comes together in a soft mass, about 2 minutes. If dough sticks to the side of the bowl and doesn’t come together, add a tablespoon more flour at a time until it does, beating very well in between additions.

  2. Add half the butter and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 min, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Beat in remaining butter and continue to beat until dough is smooth and stretchy, 5 to 7 min. If dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

As you can see, the mixing time for the M.C. formula is the polar opposite of yours.  Sure there are likely a pair of minutes more here and there, but not nearly in the same ballpark as your 30 minutes.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

At sometime in the future I may give Melissa Clark’s version a try. Right now my freezer has quite a bit of Babka. I’ll use my KitchenAid to mix it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Fresh from the bake.  I dont know how "white" the first round was but this second round was 300g w700 white spelt.  With 20g fresh yeast, only one tablespoon sugar and one teaspoon baking powder, 200g skim milk, pinch salt.  One shapes straight from kneading up the dough.  Fun and fast. Got the nutella thinner this time and about 150g and two tbs water with one teaspoon oil. That made for a lot of slip-sliding around during cutting and twisting. Wee! My pan is longer than recommended 24cm for the dough.  (next time) 

The crumb is cake soft. Photo is half risen and I waited until it was peeking over the edge before baking, a good doubled in bulk. 

   
Benito's picture
Benito

So interesting that you added baking powder Mini, were you hoping to give it more of a cake crumb by doing so?

Benny

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was just following a recipe but didn't add all the sugar.  I added a 20 min. rest allowing flour to hydrate before a 5 min knead working in more flour.  Another quick rest and then right into rolling out the dough. It went quickly.  Came out very good.  Baked in 23 minutes.  Shorter pan needed so I can scrunch it more and get more height. 

I'd like to bake it again with pandan juice and german chocolate cake coconut frosting as filling. Maybe with a little chocolate for contrast.  

Benito's picture
Benito

By the way Mini, based on your post of your pandan in a can along with Apple Translate on my iphone, I was able to find myself a can of pandan extract.  At first all I could find were small bottles of artificial pandan essence.  I eventually found canned pandan extract that wasn’t artificial. Now I have to figure out what I’d like to bake with it.  Thanks again for showing me that it comes in a can.  Oh they did have fresh as well, but since I’m not planning to use it right away, I didn’t buy it.

Benny

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Neither one of us has used this canned pandan juice before.  Should be interesting.  It sounds very liquid so can probably replace water one to one.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

putting pandan in the dough. Green faded away. Made a tangzhong using pandan juice as well which made a lovely crumb.  So I guess I've got the diet version of the dough.  Yup, trying to keep calorie count down and sticking to white spelt flour. MIL didn't like it...but she's not keen on coconut shrimp either. It looks kind of messy and the pan is still too big for the recipe. (Better to scrunch the loaf than to stretch to fill...sway back loaf.)  I added a little chocolate for contrast and it overpowered the delicate pandan. I used apple sauce in the filling with toasted coconut and slathered too much applesauce on top to protect coconut from burning. Oh well, at least I'm getting better with my dough to filling ratio. I will try again sometime with the green filling instead and the previously proposed linked loaf looks so much prettier with green filling.  Halloween?

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Very original ideas for your babka mini, creative!  

Benny

Mariel's picture
Mariel

Shalom alejem.

When it comes to babka I can't pass the guilt of using butter in the dough so I end up using the challah dough.

In one occasion I used coconut milk but grapeseed oil instead of butter. The fat in the coconut milk was evident and the dough wa ls silkier. But still no butter in it.

Does a babka has to have butter or can I use any other fat substitute and still call it babka?

May Y' bless all of you.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

  If you followed my initial babka bakes you know that I had problems with poor gluten development (pitted dough) after the completion of machine mixing. This happened on the 3 initial bakes. After following Melissa’s instructions and switching from a spiral mixer to a KitchenAid the dough turned out much better. NOTE - on all occasions the dough behaved well during the roll out.

Interesting - - -
Normally I am not a big fan of Nutmeg. But in this case it added a very distinct and tasty addition. Left out the lemon, though.

The distribution of chocolate swirling is improved. BTW, Nutella was used instead of her version. Love Nutella! Left out the crumble topping because of caloric concerns. It was decadent enough as is. Even without the chocolate the Brioche type dough was excellent.

 

 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Dan, glad you tried it.  Looks overall to be a big improvement and they look great in all the pictures here.  As far as the streusel being left out - add it next time and just cut smaller slices!  The streusel clearly takes away from the top view but what it adds in flavor satisfaction makes up for it.

Much more consistent swirling of the layers vs. the Maurizio version.  To each his own, but I prefer this look much more.

vaya con perros 

Benito's picture
Benito

Well done Dan, much better than previous babkas, I bet it was delicious.  You probably can’t wait to freeze some and eat it frozen!

Benny

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

Hopefully this isn't considered a travesty, lol. This is a Halloween candy corn themed chocolate coconut babka. NO candy corn used in this recipe (I'm not a fan). Details about this bake on my blog post

I couldn't resist at least trying it, lol. Crumb shot tomorrow, it's going to a family gathering. The kids will have it devoured before they go Trick or Treating. 😁

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

They loved it, both the appearance and the taste! It was a fun experience, though not likely to be something I will do very often. 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The babka turned out nice, both outside and in!

That bread is a special treat. I freeze it sliced and eat it a piece at at time.

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Now if only you had made it with spinach, tofu and B-complex vitamins, it might have been a tad healthier for growing bodies. 🤓

Really cool looking, and another in a long list of creativity at work here on TFL.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That crumb shot is what I was waiting for!  Wow!  Candy corn look for sure!  

That is powerful!  

SueVT's picture
SueVT

Laminated challah dough, sd starter added.