Filed under: Babkas
January 25, 2020

Double Chocolate Babka

Double dose of chocolate: soft fluffy challah made with dutch process cocoa surrounds a dark chocolate sauce.

Yield: 2 loaves
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Chocolate babka, but double the chocolate! This very special babka has cocoa in the dough itself, lending an even richer chocolate taste to every bite. 

 

Trials of a double chocolate babka

This post is long overdue. I talked about the recipe first in early 2019 when I set a goal to figure it out. Adding cocoa to a dough can be tricky because cocoa inhibits yeast activation and dries out the dough and at the same time, you want to be able to taste the cocoa so you need to find the right amount and how to balance it with the rest of the ingredients. I probably made six doughs before I found my happy place.

In February, I finally landed on a recipe that worked. I was really excited about it, and then got distracted by well, life. My first trimester with my second daughter was a rough one and lasted all spring; I wasn’t baking much (morning sickness was all day, everyday sickness!) and if I did manage to bake I certainly didn’t want to eat any of it.

 

double chocolate babka

 

But in the summer, once I was feeling a lot better, I revisited my cocoa dough in a beautiful marbled challah and finally talked about it here. Back then I was convinced that the filling dominates regardless of the surrounding dough, both in taste and looks. I was fairly certain no one would be interested in the recipe. But after making my cocoa dough several times for these chocolate hazelnut spread rolls, I think the cocoa dough definitely brings something to the table. And, after posting it on insta, I noticed interest in the recipe and decided it needed a dedicated space on this blog.

A Double Dose of Chocolate is Always Welcome

What makes this special? First of all, the dough is wonderfully soft and pillowy in all the right ways – and still chocolatey! My husband had the best description for the challah: it tastes like chocolate without the sweetness. Second, who doesn’t want a double dose of chocolate? Here’s the thing about this bread; the chocolate flavor is amplified by the surrounding dough. As enjoyable as babkas are what is really special about them is the filling (in the same way the best part of a chocolate chip cookie is often the chocolate, if we are being honest). So why make this? For the same reason you’d make a double chocolate cookie or a double chocolate muffin: more chocolate!

double chocolate babka

 

Notes on making Double Chocolate Babka

  • What if you just want to make one loaf? In this case I’d ask you to use 1 egg and 1 yolk, and you may need to add a bit more flour to firm up the dough.
  • You can do a first rise in the fridge overnight. This firms up the dough and makes it a tad easier for rolling out.
  • All-purpose flour can substitute for bread flour.
  • The cocoa brand is important in this recipe, use good quality! I recommend Guittard Rouge, Rodelle Dutch or Saco’s Blend.
  • For the shape you see above, follow the method for the pinwheel donut shape I have in my double chocolate hazelnut rolls.

Recipe for Double Chocolate Babka

Double Chocolate Babka

Chocolate babka, but double the chocolate! This very special babka has cocoa in the dough itself, lending an even richer chocolate taste to every bite. 
double chocolate babka
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Rising Time: 4 hrs
Yields: 2 loaves
5 from 7 votes

Ingredients

Chocolate Dough

  • 250 g milk warmed
  • 1 package active dry yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup dutch process cocoa 35g
  • cup boiling hot water 80g
  • ½ cup canola oil 110g
  • ¼ cup honey 85g
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 450 g all purpose flour scant 4 cups

Chocolate Filling

  • 170 g dark or semi-sweet chocolate chopped
  • 113 g unsalted butter 1/2 cup
  • ½ cup dutch process cocoa 50g
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 75g
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch fine sea salt

Method

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm milk and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes for yeast to foam. In a small bowl combine the cocoa and boiling hot water. Stir it until it's a paste.
  • To the bowl add the oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add the flour, cocoa mix and salt to the bowl and knead on medium until dough starts gathering around the hook, about 10 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of flour as needed if the dough seems impossible to gather.
  • Set the dough in an oiled bowl and turn around a few times to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for a few hours.
  • After about two hours, the dough should be doubled in size. Punch it down and divide into two halves. Ready your loaf pans by buttering them and placing a parchment sling.
  • Make the filling: over low heat add the butter to a small pot. Once it has melted add the chocolate and stir until it’s melted. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out to a large rectangle with the shorter side being just a bit longer than your loaf pan. The longer side can be as long as you can get without tearing the dough.
  • Spread half of the filling over the dough leaving an inch border. Roll the dough from the short side to create a log. Slice it in half with a sharp knife lengthwise.
  • Chocolate filling side up, twist the two logs around each other. Place your babka twist in the loaf pan.
  • Repeat with the second dough. Set both in a warm place for a second rise, for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Once the babkas are tender and puffy, add a bit of water to the egg white and use it to brush over the babka (avoiding the exposed filling).
  • Bake for about 35 minutes. Check for doneness with a thermometer, a fully baked bread will register at 190F. If they aren’t there yet, cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Allow loaves to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack. Babka is best day of baking but will warm up nicely in a microwave the next day.

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  1. Hello, i’ve been on the hunt for a chocolate brioche/babka, as a professional I just have a couple questions. Why is only part of the recipe in grams? Do you not weigh the honey, oil and cocoa powder? Also when you say oil or butter does that mean melted butter?

    • Hi Rachel, you caught the recipe at a time when I was updating it with gram measurements – they’re all there now! As to the other note, previously I had a version which gave the option for melted butter but I omitted it recently.

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks For Sharing this Amazing Recipe. My Family Loved It. I will be sharing this Recipe with my Friends. Hope They will like it.

  3. 5 stars
    After having something similar at a favorite local bakery, I’ve been trying to track down some type of chocolate babka recipe to no avail avail. When I wasn’t about to give up, Sam shared this with all of us and it didn’t not disappoint! I’m still nailing downmy rise times and roll/cut technique, but when I do, I think it will turn out just as pretty as pictured.

    Regardless it still tastes delicious and goes perfect with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Or for lunch. Or for dinner.

  4. 5 stars
    This is perfectly chocolatey and an easy recipe to follow!! It’s like brownies made into bread! I personally ended up doubling the filling part because I love chocolate maybe a little too much! Give this one a try:)

  5. 5 stars
    Absolutely a joy to make! I shaped half into the little pinwheels and the other half into a loaf. Everything came together so nicely. The dough is light and fluffy while the filling is perfectly decadent and flavorful. I ended up making a bit more of the filling than the recipe called for because I am a filling glutton.

  6. 5 stars
    This was my second-ever babka recipe that I’ve tried and I loved it. Give me all the chocolate! Also, I grated in some orange zest to the dough and it was absolutely wonderful.

    • Hi Apruva, if you find the brownie babka post there is an egg substitute (yogurt!) in the notes for a vanilla challah, but I have not tried it in the double chocolate yet so couldn’t say!

  7. Hello! I’d love to try this recipe but I have a couple of questions. In the directions it says to add the water, yeast and sugar but the recipe says milk. Does it matter which I use? Also, do you have a preference about using oil vs butter? Is there better flavor with the butter? Thank you!

    • Hi Erin! I use either water or milk in the recipe which is why you see both (I made a lil note now!). As for oil vs. butter. TBH I don’t think it makes a huge difference! You could even use olive oil as that compliments cocoa so well.

  8. 5 stars
    Hi hi!

    Just made this and it came out great! Couple of questions:

    1) my color is not quite this rich, upon baking, it looks more like a golden brioche color rather than chocolate. Any fixes?
    2) the filling really wasn’t spreadable at all for me. It had more of a play dough consistency. Although. The taste is great, I didn’t get that even spread layer like I would with Nutella for example. So it’s in pieces. Hope this makes sense. Perhaps some milk?

    Thank you?

    • Hi Elpin! The color depends on your cocoa and how alkalized it is. If you used natural, it will be very light. Dutch will make it darker. Black cocoa will turn it, black! As for the filling – the cocoa butter percentage in the chocolate could make a difference as well as how much you ‘cooked’ the butter (it could have lost some moisture). If you find it too thick, add another tablespoon of butter.