Chocolate and Hazelnut Babka

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This bread is one I have been working on for a while. Chocolate and hazelnuts are one of those ‘can’t go wrong’ flavour combinations and what better way to celebrate them than to bake them in beautiful layers in a babka.

Shaping this bread can be quite tricky and I have tried to describe it as clear as I can. Just remember... the thinner and wider you roll out the dough the more layers you'll get. Try to roll it up nice and tight to avoid losing too much of the filling as you cut it and twist. It'll all make sense when you do it.

I find sweet doughs a little easier to bake in small quantities since it’s tricky to tell when they are ‘done,’ and these little pie tins look very sweet too right? They are 20cm oblong pie dishes and this recipe will make two.

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Chocolate and Hazelnut Babka

This recipe makes 2 Babkas in 20cm oblong pie tins


Difficulty

Dough: Easy       Shaping: tricky

4 hours


Ingredients

For the dough

375g      Strong White Bread Flour

5g           Salt

50g         Caster Sugar

15g         Fresh Yeast or 1 x 7g sachet of dry easy bake yeast

200g      Room Temperature Milk

50g         Room Temperature Butter

For the filling

25g         Soft Butter

25g         Caster Sugar

100g       Dark Chocolate

50g         Toasted Hazelnuts

To finish

1              Egg


Method

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to make your sweet dough. Place a large bowl on your scales and weigh out your white bread flour, then stir through the salt and sugar
  2. Break your room temperature butter into the bowl in small pieces, don’t rub it in.
  3. Weigh your milk into a jug, and warm it slightly in a microwave or saucepan, just to take the chill off of it and bring it to room temperature. Whether your yeast is fresh or dry, pop it into the milk and stir to dissolve.
  4. Pour the yeasty milk into the bowl and use a dough scraper to mix everything together, then turn it out onto the table.
  5. Without dusting with any flour, knead the dough for 8 minutes. It will be a little sticky at first, but thanks to the butter it should come together into a smooth and springy, non-stick dough.
  6. Place the dough back into the bowl, dust the surface, and cover with a clean cloth. Rest your dough in a draft free place, at room temperature, for 90 minutes.
  7. While you are waiting you can make your filling. Normally I use a mini food processor to wizz up the chocolate until it resembles cocopop sized pieces, and do the same with the hazelnuts too. If you haven’t got a food processor you can chop them both with a knife.
  8. Cream together the butter and sugar with a spoon or spatula until it is light and soft, set aside.
  9. Grease your tins lightly with a little butter.
  10. When your dough has rested and risen up, turn it out of the bowl and divide into two equal pieces. Each piece will be one Babka. Shape each piece into a rectangle.
  11. Take a piece of dough and roll it out with a rolling pin into a large rectangle. The larger the rectangle and the thinner the dough, the more layers you’ll get in the final bread. I go for around 40cm buy 30cm.
  12. Now, spread half of your creamed butter and sugar over the dough rectangle and keep the other half for the other one later. It’s only a small amount but you’ll get right to the edges if your patient enough.
  13. Next sprinkle over half of the chocolate and hazelnuts, and again, set the rest aside. Spread it out, again to the edges, and press with your palm to stick down.
  14. Roll the dough up into a tight swiss roll, and pinch the seem closed.
  15. With a sharp knife, cut the dough sausage longways, right down the middle, into two pieces. Turn the cut sides outwards, and press each piece close to each other. Twist each end of the dough opposite ways. Bring the two ends together, and place the dough into your first pie tin. Then, repeat the process for your second babka.
  16. Cover loosely with cling film and allow 60-90 minutes for the loaf to prove up nicely. At some point during this time, preheat the oven to 180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6.
  17. When your babkas have risen nicely, remove the cling film and brush the top with beaten egg. Bake at or 25-30 mins.
  18. When your loaves are baked, pop them out of the tins and cool on a wire rack.
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