While I have been working on various brownie recipes, I made a detour into babkas. First up was Bread’s, which has been heralded as the best babka in New York, i.e. babka capital of the world. If this is the actual recipe it’s a bit disappointing coming out with more of a roll-like texture, both in the dough and the shaping.
Next I went with Wise Son’s deli and made enough dough for two loaves and added a bit more sugar. The first loaf I was using left over chocolate from first babka (and the first one still had too much chocolate) and even added a bit of nutella, but it still needed more filling. I did a croissant roll out and then typical babka twist, folding the ends under the babka. I also tried the streussel in the above recipe but it turned out to floury for my taste and I am not really sold on streussel with babkas even though it seems to be a thing.
Then my wife came over for the weekend and we used the other half of the dough I had frozen. This was going to be the epic babka we always wanted to make. Our lofty goal was to replicate the Zucker bakery babka. I think we cracked the code and got pretty damn close. Also I am pretty sure ours has a better ratio of chocolate to bread. Some babkas are chocolate delivery vehicles (most of the commercial ones like Green’s) and other are more like bread with some chocolate in there (Zucker’s). I think ours hits the sweetspot between the two. Take a look:
Here is the “secret”. Most babkas use actual unmelted chocolate, but it’s impossible to roll out this way, so I melted it all in a saucepan first or made it completely with cocoa powder. Now roll out your dough of choice into a square and lay on half of chocolate paste. Fold up like a croissant, pinch openings closed. Roll out again, this time into a rectangle (or if you are brave maybe try another croissant roll-out). Put rest of chocolate paste down. Roll up long edge ala traditional babka, pinch edges. Now flatten and widen and your roll until it is wide enough for three braids. Cut three long braids.
Braid your dough such that the layered edge showing chocolate and dough is flaring up
We didn’t do middle part correctly, but you can see it on the ends. Now fold the ends under and place in loaf pan and bake.
It’s not very time consuming to make. Dough is like a 15 minutes process, let it sit for a day and then you do the above process. Then you bake for a little over an hour or until about 185 degrees interior temperature. The result is beautiful and pretty tasty.