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Chocolate Babka

 
The best part of this Babka, is its exact definition – the bread is tender and pulls apart in luscious, buttery pieces. It’s filled with chocolate which makes it extra delicious and tempting.   
 
 
SERVES: 2 Loaves
 
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
Dough  
3/4 cup warm milk  
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar    
3 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages) 
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting  
2 whole large eggs  
1 large egg yolk  
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 3/4 teaspoon salt  
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
 
Egg Wash
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream of whole milk
 
Chocolate Filling
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, well softened   
2 (3 1/2- to 4-oz) bars bittersweet chocolate, chopped 1/4 cup sugar 
 
 
INSTRUCTIONS:
 
Dough
 
In a small bowl, stir together warm milk and 2 teaspoons sugar.
 
Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast).
 
 
Add 1/2 cup flour to yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until combined. 
 
Add whole eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until combined. 
 
Reduce speed to low, and then add remaining 2 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time. 
 
Then, increase speed to medium, add butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat for about 4 minutes (dough will be very soft and sticky). 
 
Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
 
 
Babkas
 
Line each loaf pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper (1 lengthwise and 1 crosswise). Punch down dough with a lightly oiled rubber spatula, then halve dough. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 18- by 10- inch rectangle and arrange with a long side nearest you.
 
In a small bowl, beat together yolk and cream. Spread 2 1/2 tablespoons softened butter on dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Brush some of egg wash on long border nearest you.
 
Sprinkle half of chocolate evenly over buttered dough, then sprinkle with half of sugar (2 tablespoons). Starting with long side farthest from you, roll dough into a snug log, pinching firmly along egg-washed seam to seal. Bring ends of log together to form a ring, pinching to seal. Twist entire ring twice to form a double figure 8 and fit into one of lined loaf pans.
 
Make another babka with remaining dough, egg wash, butter and chocolate in same manner. Chill remaining egg wash, covered, to use later. Loosely cover pans with buttered plastic wrap (buttered side down) and let babkas rise in a draft-free place at room temperature until dough reaches top of pans, 1 to 2 hours.
 
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
 
Brush tops of dough with remaining egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (when loaves are removed from pans), about 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack and cool to room temperature. 
Posted by: / June 04, 2010

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