Chocolate Babka (Polish Bread) by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Christ is risen!

I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try! I started to first make bread with the sun dried tomato bread recipe I posted recently. I felt inspired to keep learning about bread making. The kneading, to be quite frank, is the part that discouraged from making bread but having a stand mixer for a couple of years now has made it less intimidating. I have shoulder issues, so that’s one of my reasons for not wanting to knead. If I can get away with using a stand mixer in place of kneading by hand, I’m convinced to try the recipe.

I brought this to church today to have Father and my friends try it. It may be a dish asked for time and time again at trapeza. It is wonderful that this is so easy to make in addition to which you can make this in advance.

Colleen Patrick-Coutreau Notes: Though this bread can be “stuffed” with delicious fruit-based jam, my favorite is chocolate. having both Christian and Jewish associations, this wonderful bread, baked in a Bundt pan, is often served during the spring holidays. Even if you don’t add a filling, this buttery bread will be enjoyed by all.

Note from me: You can add poppy seeds to this! Sprinkle them before rolling them. If you really want to be adventurous, try adding them on top as well! This is a very common bread in Poland.


Yield 1 large Bundt loaf 

1 cup (235 mL) non dairy milk

5 tbsp (70g) non hydrogenated, non dairy butter 

6 tbsp plus ½ tsp (77g) granulated sugar, divided 

¼ cup (60 mL) warm water 

1 packet active dry yeast 

5 ½ cups (690 g) unbleached all purpose flour 

1 tsp salt 

1 ½ cups (265 g) non dairy semisweet chocolate chips 

¼ cup (32g) unsweetened cocoa powder 

In a small saucepan, add the milk and heat it to just the point where it is about to boil. Add the butter, remove from the heat, and give it a little stir. Set aside to cool, or put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes. 

Stir the ½ tsp sugar into the warm water. Once it has been evenly distributed, add the yeast and allow it to dissolve, than whisk it and let it sit for 10 minutes. After this time, the yeast should begin to form a creamy foam on the surface of the water. If there is no foam, the yeast is dead and you should start over with a new packet. 

If you have an electric stand mixer, it makes this recipe much easier, but you can do it by hand. To your mixing bowl, add the flour, the remaining 6 tbsp (75g) sugar, and the salt, and stir to combine. Pour in the yeast mixture and the cooled milk (the milk should not be hot), and stir from the center outward, incorporating the liquid ingredients into the flour. Mix until you form a soft dough. Add a small amount of water if the dough is too dry or a bit of flour if the dough is too sticky.

Turn out the dough onto a floured counter (or continue using the stand mixer). For best results, knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes. The dough should should be elastic and smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot so the dough can rise about 2 hours. The dough should double in size. 

Generously grease the bottom, middle, and sides of a standard-sized tube or Bundt pan.

Add the chocolate chips to your food processor or blender, and chop them until they resemble a coarse meal. Add the cocoa and stir to combine. 

After the dough, doubles in bulk, punch it down and return it to the floured surface or your stand mixer. Knead for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large oval, 9 to 10 inches (23 to 25 cm) wide and 16 to 17 inches (41-44 cm) long. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate as evenly as possible over the dough, leaving a ½ inch (1.3 cm) rim around the outer edge. Roll it up tightly the long way, and pinch the edges to seal them.

Lift carefully and ease the dough into the pan, making as even a circle as possible. Pat it firmly into place, and than seal the two ends together with a little water. If you want to bake the babka the same day, cover it with a towel, and let it rise for another hour. If you want to bake it in a day or two, wrap it tightly in a plastic bag, and refrigerate until baking time. (It will rise enough in the refrigerator and can go directly from the fridge to a preheated oven.) 

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped. 

Remove from the oven and unmold your bread by inverting it onto a plate. Let it cool for 20 minutes.

Because you want the chocolate to be melted when serving it, simply heat up individual pieces in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS & VARIATIONS
  • Add ½ to 1 cup (75 to 150g) chopped nuts of your choosing. 
  • Add 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • Add 1 cup (320g) fruit preserves or jam instead of chocolate

Sources

“The Joy of Vegan Baking” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

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