Whenever I see the chocolate babka episode of Seinfeld (which happens approximately every 23 days because the show is on a constant loop at my house) my curiosity about the bread is piqued. Same thing with the marble rye episode. And while I’ve actually eaten marble rye, the same couldn’t be said about chocolate babka. At this point, it’s purely legend, but after watching Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Making course on Craftsy it moved one more notch into the must-bake category.
Last weekend I made a whole wheat yeasted sweet dough for sticky buns, and had a half-recipe of the dough left to try this babka. A quick online search uncovered Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate babka experience, and since I often find myself on the same baking page as Deb, I leaned on her post for direction. She even spoke of trying to replicate a childhood favorite in her kitchen, a quest I know well, and gave the Martha Stewart recipe she used to make her bread a big stamp of approval.
I already had my dough, so that part isn’t taken from the MS recipe. But it was my source for the filling, shaping, and finishing instructions. My loaf is on the small side, so I cut her recipe down to 1/6 of the original amounts. After shaping, I placed it in the pan and froze it until I was ready to bake it.
Chocolate Babka from Martha Stewart (for filling, shaping, and finishing)
- used a different recipe for whole wheat yeasted sweet dough (with home-milled hard white wheat flour)
- made 1/6 of the original recipe for the filling and topping
- used Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips
- froze the loaf after shaping, before topping and baking
Oh, wow. This is a very special bread, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out. The streusel topping is perfect, and the swirly center is almost too pretty to eat. The chocolate softened, but didn’t get all melty and runny. A scoop of plain vanilla ice cream would be a nice complement to the deep chocolate flavor…not that it needs more richness.