Poland: Chocolate Babka

chocolate babka

If you’re like us, you know Chocolate Babka from the episode of Seinfeld called The Dinner Party.  Jerry and Elaine make a stop at Schnitzer’s Bakery on their way to a dinner party to purchase a Chocolate Babka.  They forget to take a number, and as a result the bakery is sold out when they reach the counter.  They’re forced into buying a Cinnamon Babka, which Elaine considers ”a lesser babka.”  Here’s a clip:

Chocolate babka is a Jewish dessert popular in Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Czech Republic, Belarus and Poland. Babka is sweet yeast bread, popular in most of Eastern Europe, similar to coffee cake. Arthur Schwartz, author of Arthur Schwartz’s Jewish Home Cooking wrote, “Babka, in its original form, was stout and round, just like grandmothers used to be before they went to aerobics classes and practiced yoga.”

Chocolate Babka
 
Ingredients
  • DOUGH:
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 4 C. flour
  • ¼ C. butter
  • ¼ C. white sugar
  • ¼ C. water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • FILLING
  • ¼ C. butter, softened
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ C. sugar
  • GLAZE
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup butter, chilled
  • 1 egg beaten with
  • 1 tablespoon water for glaze
Instructions
  1. Add yeast to warm milk and allow to foam for 5-10 minutes. Next, add flour, butter, sugar, water, eggs and salt. Mix using a dough hook until smooth. Set aside to rise for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut dough in half and roll each section into 10x18 inch rectangles. Spread butter evenly on both halves. Spread chocolate pieces, cinnamon and sugar on top of the butter. Roll lengthwise, sealing ends shut. Place each loaf in a parchment-lined bread pan.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, butter and egg/water. Brush the tops of each loaf with glaze before placing in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

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