Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Random Food Gift #9

I couldn't resist making this bread for my friends Jonathan, Alex, Scott, and Jason. They all live in an apartment together and two of them love baking. All four of them love food. I knew it would be a pain to post this recipe due to the long ingredients list and the multiple steps of directions, but I just had to try this Chocolate Babka. It was worth it. My hot oven made it just a touch overdone, but the flavor of the bread still shone through. It was delicious and I would really love to make it again sometime. The chocolate-cinnamon combination is unique and quite pleasing. It took me a whole afternoon to make because it wasn't rising quickly enough in my cold apartment. Hopefully if you try it out, it won't take quite as long.

Chocolate Babka

Ingredients for the Dough

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
3/4 cup warm low-fat milk (105 - 110 degrees; it should be pleasantly warm but not hot - otherwise, it will kill the yeast)
6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
5 tablespoons softened Earth Balance (trans fat free margarine)

Ingredients for the Filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate

Ingredients for the Streusel

2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon Earth Balance

Directions

1) Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar with yeast in warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; let it dissolve for five minutes. Stir in the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla, salt, and egg yolk.

2) Add bread flour, whole wheat flour, and 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour to milk mixture. Beat with a dough hook attachment on medium speed for about two minutes. Add softened Earth Balance and beat well until blended.

3) Scrape dough onto floured surface (dough will be sticky). Add about 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour to dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking. Knead until smooth and elastic.

3) Place dough in a large, oiled bowl. Turn once to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

4) When you think the dough is ready, gently press two fingers into the dough. If the indentation remains, the dough has risen enough. Punch dough down, cover, and let rest for five minutes.

5) Line the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Oil the sides of the pan.

6) Prepare the filling in a medium bowl and set aside.

7) Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out to a 16-inch square. Sprinkle the filling over the dough and leave a 1/4-inch border. Starting at one edge, roll up the dough, and pinch the seam and ends to seal it shut.

8) Holding the roll of dough by the ends, twist it four times as if wringing it out. Fit the dough into the loaf pan, even if it's a tight squeeze. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

9) Mix streusel together with a fork or pastry cutter until it is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the dough. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf is browned and it sounds hollow when tapped (my hot oven baked the bread in about 35 minutes).

10) Let cool 30 minutes on wire rack. Enjoy the Babka warm from the oven, or heated up in a toaster oven up to three days later.

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