The first time I heard of babka I was watching the Travel Channel, one of the hosts was in a Jewish Deli in New York City. In his hand was a slice of bread that had rings of chocolate swirled within it, now if you know me–you know that anything with chocolate is a game changer. Not to mention the look of it was unlike any bread I had ever seen, I just thought it was so pretty to look at.
Being that it is Rosh Hashanah I thought what better way to celebrate the Jewish New Year, as well as the coming of fall with a Chocolate Pumpkin Spiced Babka. Layers of homemade pumpkin butter and chocolate meld together between a buttery sweet dough.
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Babka
- 3/4 cup (6 oz) warm milk (NOT hot)
- 2 1/4 tsp (1/4 oz packet or 7 grams) active dry yeast
- 4 Tbsp (50 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 3 1/2 cups + 1 to 2 Tbsp (450 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 4 Tbsp room temperature butter, divided (3 Tbsp for batter, 1 Tbsp to brush tops)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cornstarch *to thicken*
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch sea salt
- In a bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, add ¾ cup warm milk, sprinkle top evenly with 1 packet yeast and let sit for 7 min. Whisk in ½ cup flour and 2 Tbsp sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp 30-40 min. It will be doubled in size and fluffy looking (if it’s not, either your milk was too hot and killed the yeast or you need to buy fresh yeast).
- Start mixer on speed 2, adding in eggs one at a time, the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla. Add remaining 3 cups flour slowly allowing to incorporate *To measure flour, spoon into a dry ingredients measuring cup then level the top with the blunt edge of a knife* (you will have to scrape down the sides of the bowl). Once flour is incorporated add cubed butter slowly to incorporate into the dough. Once all butter is in, continue kneading on speed 2 for 8-10 min.Dough should be shiny and elastic, and should not stick to fingertips or the sides of mixing bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place dough in the fridge for a half day or overnight to rise.
(This would be a good time to make the pumpkin butter since it should sit overnight to cool and thicken)
- Once dough has risen over night grease two bread pans with oil and line the bottom of each pan with waxed paper. Divide dough in half and keep one half covered in the fridge. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle measuring 15 x 11 inches. Position dough so that a long side is closest to you. Using a spatula, spread ½ cup of the pumpkin spice mixture over the rectangle, leaving a ¾ inch border all around. *Optional* at this point if you would like to add nuts or chocolate you may sprinkle them over the spread. Roll the dough up tightly starting with the shorter side Shaping the dough use both hands to roll up the dough like you would a cinnamon roll, starting from the long side closest to you and ending at the other long end. Use both hands to even out the roll, leaving the seam-side down. Place roll into fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.
- Cut chilled roll in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, then lift the right half over the left half. *see photos* Repeat this process, but this time lifting the left half over the right, to create a simple two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Carefully lift the cake into a loaf pan. Don’t worry if there are gaps in the pan since the cake will rise and will eventually look fine, even if you feel like it’s messy at this point. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours. Repeat to make the second cake. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp for 1 to 1½ hours or until puffy.
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Brush loaves with remaining 1 Tbsp melted butter and Bake at 350˚F on the center rack for 30 minutes or until tops are browned. Brush hot loaves with a 50/50 blend of maple syrup and water.
- Combine all ingredients and allow to come to a boil over medium high heat.
- Once the mixture is boiling reduce to a simmer and let sit until thickened
- Remove from heat and place mixture in a heat safe container
- Allow to sit overnight to cool and thicken further