Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

 

Babka, a brioche bread of Polish-Jewish heritage, literally translates into "Grandmother". Rightfully so, Babka is delightfully sweet and soft, and has a wonderfully comforting touch.

Serves: 1 loaf - You'll need a large loaf tin, approximately 24cm (l) x 14cm (w) x 7cm (d)

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:

  • 355g plain flour

  • 65g caster sugar

  • 6g instant dried yeast

  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 80 ml water

  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (table salt)

  • 100g butter, divided into 8 pieces, at room temperature

  • extra butter for greasing

  • 20g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

 

For the filling:

  • 90g Nutella

 

For the syrup:

  • 75g sugar
  • 85ml water

 METHOD

  1. Put the flour, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix to combine

  2. Put the vanilla, eggs and water in a jug, whisk lightly then add to flour mixture, mix until the dough comes together

  3. Switch to the dough hook, on low speed add the salt, then butter, a piece at a time

    increase the speed to medium, mix for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, if the dough is very sticky you may need to add a little extra flour

  4. Grease a rectangular dish or container that is at least double the volume of your dough, tip the dough into the container, lightly press the dough to the corners, forming an even layer, cover and pop in the fridge overnight (you can use a bowl for this step, but I find it much easier to roll the dough into a rectangle if it is approximately rectangular when I start)

  5. Lightly flour your bench, carefully remove the dough from its container, using a rolling pin, roll to form a rectangle approximately 30cm by 40cm

  6. Spread the Nutella over the dough rectangle, leaving a 1 cm border clear at the top of the 30cm edge

  7. Using a pastry brush, lightly bush the 1cm border with water

  8. Starting with the edge closest to you, carefully roll the dough into a log

  9. Gently press along the damp edge to seal, carefully lift onto a baking tray and put into the fridge for approximately 20 minutes to firm up, this will make it easier to cut and shape

  10. While your babka is chilling, grease your loaf tin and line with baking paper

  11. Once firm, using a serrated knife, trim the ends of the log, then cut the log in half vertically to give you two long strips; turn the strips cut side up, place one over the other to form an X, then make a couple of twists with each end, this can be a little messy, don’t worry it will still look fabulous once baked

  12. Lift your babka into the loaf tin, tucking the ends under if you need to, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to proof, you want the babka to almost double in size

  13. After about an hour pre-heat your oven to 180ºC, once the babka has puffed up, sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts then bake in the centre of the oven for 45-55 minutes

  14. While the babka is baking, make the syrup. Put the sugar and water in a small pan, stir over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves, bring to the boil, remove from heat and cool slightly

  15. Test with babka with a skewer after 45 minutes, if it comes out clean the babka is ready, if not pop it back in the oven and re-test at approximately 3-5 minute intervals

  16. Remove from the oven, set aside for 5 minutes then brush with warm syrup and leave to cool

 

Babka is best eaten the day it is made, but will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days

 

Recipe by Sally Boyle. Visit her site here & Instagram here.

Styling by Kayla Cameron. Visit her site here & Instagram here.

Photography by Bonnie Coumbe. See her site here & Instagram here.