Love bread? Love mocha flavors? Youʻre going to LOVE this chocolate babka recipe with just a hint of espresso.
For another traditional yeast bread, try making this Italian panettone!
Babka is a yeast bread that can be filled with an assortment of flavors. Traditionally, babka was made in Jewish homes (primarily in Poland and the Ukraine) from leftover challah dough filled with fruit jam or cinnamon.
From those humble beginnings, babka has become popular in the United States and bakers have expanded on its simplicity, adding fillings like apple, almond paste, and cheese, even topping them with streusel.
Chocolate Babka with Espresso
This babka recipe features everyoneʻs favorite: chocolate! Add a bit of espresso powder and BOOM! Itʻs a delicious mocha bread.
Flour — When I bake with all-purpose flour I opt for the unbleached option. Bleached flour is very white, but it’s also treated with bleaching agents that I don’t really need in my food.
Milk — Use what you keep in the fridge. Low-fat or whole milk is fine, as is your favorite nut milk.
Sugar — Use your favorite brand of granulated sugar.
Active Dry Yeast — This is the ingredient that gives the bread loft, causing it to rise.
Eggs — Fresh eggs, store bought, use what you have readily available.
Chocolate chips — This chocolate babka recipe calls for milk chocolate chips, but if you prefer semi sweet (or even dark chocolate!), use those.
Espresso powder — Use your favorite brand or make your own. This ingredient is more readily available in European countries than the U.S. You can also consider it an optional ingredient, but youʻll miss out on that lovely mocha flavor.
Making the bread
Combine the yeast, milk, and sugar; allow to sit until it gets foamy.
Add proofed yeast to the flour and salt, along with the egg. Mix until a soft dough is formed.
You can use a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook until the dough is soft and comes away from the side of the bowl. Alternatively, stir by hand using a sturdy wooden spoon. If you go this route, at a certain point youʻll need to abandon the spoon and get your hands in the dough, kneading it on a floured surface until it’s smooth and soft.
Allow to rise for at least three hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to bake the babka, make the chocolate filling and the sugar syrup. Both of these require heating in a small saucepan.
Roll the dough out evenly and spread it with chocolate. Roll the dough up and cut in half lengthwise.
Twist these two pieces of filled dough and transfer to a loaf pan. Bake and then top with the sugar syrup.
Allow to cool somewhat before removing the loaf from the pan. Slice the bread and serve warm with butter.
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄2 cup butter (divided)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
For the sugar syrup:
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
For the bread
- Mix the yeast, milk and sugar in a small bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it gets foamy.
- Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and egg. Mix on low speed for 8 minutes
- Cut 1/4 cup of softened butter into small pieces and gradually add to the dough until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is soft.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge to rise at least 3 hours or overnight.
For the filling & syrup:
- Melt remaining butter (1/4 cup) and chocolate together in a small saucepan over low heat. Cool until it becomes thick enough to spread. Set aside.
- Combine 3 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoon water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.
Make the babka:
- Lightly grease and flour a loaf pan.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 8" x 12" (20x30cm).
- Spread the chocolate filling and dust it with espresso powder. Starting at the 8" side, roll the dough up into a tight spiral.
- Cut the dough in half lengthwise. Place side by side, lightly secure two ends together and twist the dough. Transfer to the loaf pan, tucking the ends under slightly.
- Cover and let it rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm place.
- Preheat oven to 350̊F/180 ̊C.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour the sugar syrup over the babka.
Alternatively, stir the dough by hand using a sturdy wooden spoon. If you go this route, at a certain point youʻll need to abandon the spoon and get your hands in the dough, kneading it on a floured surface until it's smooth and soft.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 395Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 16gProtein: 8g
Calculations based on 10 slices.