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. 

 

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.

 

 

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!

 

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

5 from 5 reviews

Double Chocolate Babka

January 25, 2020
: Two standard loaves
: Moderate

By:

Ingredients
  • Cocoa Challah
  • 1 cup warm milk or water (the former adds a slightly richer taste)
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast (instant)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 yolk at room temperature (reserve white for egg wash)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa, sifted if lumpy
  • 450g bread flour, plus more as needed
  • Dark Chocolate Filling
  • 3/4 cups dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup butter, salted (if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
  • Step 1 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the water (or milk), yeast and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes for yeast to foam.
  • Step 2 To the bowl add the oil or butter, honey, eggs and yolk and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  • Step 3 Add the flour, cocoa and salt to the bowl and knead on medium until dough starts gathering around the hook. It will be wet and sticky and fall as soon as you lift the dough hook it will fall off. Add flour as needed if the dough seems impossible to gather.
  • Step 4 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.
  • Step 5 After about two hours, the dough should be doubled in size. Punch it down and divide into two halves.
  • Step 6 Ready your loaf pans by buttering them and placing a parchment sling.
  • Step 7 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.
  • Step 8 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.
  • Step 9 Spread half of the filling over the dough leaving an inch border.
  • Step 10 Roll the dough from the short side to create a log. Slice it in half with a sharp knife lengthwise.
  • Step 11 Chocolate filling side up, twist the two logs around each other. Place your babka twist in the loaf pan.
  • Step 12 Repeat with the second dough. Set both in a warm place for a second rise, for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Step 13 Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Step 14 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).
  • Step 15 Bake for 25 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.
  • Step 16 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.


17 thoughts on “Double Chocolate Babka”

  • 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.

  • 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:)

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

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