Chocolate Babka

1.5 cups warm milk, 110 degrees

2 packages of active dry yeast (50mL)

1 ¾ cups-plus a pinch-of sugar

3 whole large eggs, room temperature

2 large egg yolks, room temperature

6 cups flour, plus more for work surface

1 tsp. salt

1 ¾ cups (3.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and pans

2 ¼ pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped

2 ½ tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 tbsp. heavy cream

Streusel topping

 

  1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together ¾ cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture and whisk to combine.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the four is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks butter and beat until flour mixture and mutter are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  5. Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives, or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1.5 sticks butter until well combined; set filling aside.
  6. Generously butter three 9 by 5 by 2 ¾ inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tbsp. cream; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 2 equal pieces. Keep two pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16 inch square, it should be 1/8 inch thick.
  7. Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble one third of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a quarter inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tbsp. filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough and remaining filling.
  8. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place 20-30 minutes.
  9. Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 -20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.

STREUSEL TOPPING

1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/3 cups flour

12 tbsp. (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.

 

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