Chocolate-Babka aka Chocolate-Twisted Bread
A delicious and fluffy chocolate-babka – it has been on my wish list for a long time! And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing the last few days! 😉
I was inspired by a “babka” or “baba”, which is traditionally an Eastern European cake with yeast and is served in Poland and Bulgaria for Easter breakfast on Easter Sunday. Fortunately, it is only served figuratively, because “Baba” means “grandmother” or “grandma” in many Slavic languages. 😉
With this in mind, have fun baking! 😉
- small pot and bowl for melting chocolate in a water bath
- Rolling Pin
- sharp knife
- baking sheet with baking paper
- 320 g wheat flour or spelt flour
- 7 g dry yeast or ca. 20 g fresh yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- 20 g agave syrup
- 180 ml oat milk
- 80 g vegan butter lukewarm, or rapeseed oil
- 60 g vegan butter or rapeseed oil
- 100 g dark chocolate or 40 g cocoa powder and 60 g cocoa butter
- 100 g hazelnuts chopped
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
Prepare the dough
- Mix the flour, dry yeast, and salt in a bowl.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan so that it is about lukewarm. Add your vegan butter to make it softer. You can also add the agave syrup and mix everything well.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the flour and knead everything well into a smooth and elastic dough. You should knead with your hand for at least 15 minutes, with the dough hook you need about 5 minutes. The dough should no longer stick to your hands. Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
Prepare the filling
- While your dough rests, roast the chopped hazelnuts in a pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Chop your dark chocolate and place it in a bowl, add the cinnamon and salt and slowly melt it in a warm water bath. Let your melted chocolate cool down well.
Roll and twist it
- After the dough has risen, roll it out in a rectangle shape on a lightly floured worktop.
- Brush your dough with the chocolate sauce and spread the hazelnuts on top so that about 2 cm remain free at the edge.
- Carefully roll up your dough from the long side.
- Cut your roll once in the middle with a sharp knife, leaving out about 3 cm at the top.
- Twist the two strands into a braid. Make sure the cut sides are facing up. Let your chocolate-nut yeast plait rise again in a warm place for about another hour.
- Preheat your oven to 355 °F or 180 °C and bake your chocolate-babka for about 35 minutes till golden. Enjoy!
A few tips for the success of your braided yeast bun
The chocolate-nut yeast bun didn’t really rise the first time because I didn’t pay enough attention to the “warm place”. Especially in the colder seasons, this can be one of the reasons why your twisted yeast bun might not rise. Therefore, I let my oven run briefly until the temperature feels like a “warm summer day” and put my dough in the oven, which is then switched off, to rise. Because yeast – just like me – likes it warm and without drafts.
But not too warm. “Too warm and not warm enough” means that your chocolate-babka will not rise and will remain very compact. But we don’t want that: it should be fluffy! For this reason, I briefly preheat my oven, for example, and then switch it off when it has reached about 30-35 degrees (hot summer day) and let my dough rise slowly covered. No circulating air: yeast just likes it warm without wind. Somehow, yeast and I are very similar, but that’s another matter altogether… 😉
It is also important that you knead the dough well so that all the ingredients mix well. My brother, who is a baker man, recommends about 15 minutes by hand or 4 minutes with the dough hook. You can find more about him on his YouTube channel called “Milans Backwelt” (German only).
If feasting, then do it right!
As you have already noticed, I am a big fan of a balanced and healthy diet. That’s why I try to refine all my recipes with this in mind. That’s why I use dark chocolate in this recipe, for example – the higher the cocoa content, the better! Dark chocolate is usually not only vegan but also provides plenty of cocoa flavonoids. Here you should look for high-quality chocolate that is the best organic and fair traded. In addition, it should only have a maximum of 3 ingredients: cocoa, cocoa butter, and any kind of sweetener/ sugar.
Alternatively, you can use about 40 g cocoa powder and about 60 g cocoa butter, which you melt in the same way and use to spread the dough. Cocoa powder contains a particularly large amount of cocoa flavonoids, which is why cocoa is considered “healthy”. Cocoa flavonoids belong to the phytonutrients and thus to the antioxidants that protect our heart, regulate our blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol levels. There will be more about cocoa soon – it is not for nothing that cocoa ends up in many of my recipes and has been revered as a superfood for thousands of years! 😉
Of course, you can also use whole wheat flour to make my chocolate-babka recipe a little healthier. I still have to experiment a little, because I’m not really happy with my result as whole wheat flour is a bit more tricky for me. So it could happen that some updated recipes are coming soon! 😉
Happy baking and as always enjoy the fullest! Have you already seen my other recipes? 😉
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Sources on cocoa
Grosso G. (2018). Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Foods on Human Health. Nutrients, 10(8), 1089.
Latif R. (2013). Health benefits of cocoa. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 16(6), 669–674.