Babka Bread / Chocolate Babka / Krantz Cake

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This Chocolate Babka is a sweet bread made with enriched dough, filled with decadent chocolate filling, is braided into loaf and baked until golden brown. Topped with sugar syrup to preserve freshness and to make bread moist.

Sharing 16 different filling ideas from sweet to savory you can use to make this decadent babka at home. 

 

Chocolate babka

 

BABKA BREAD [KRANTZ CAKE] / CHOCOLATE BABKA

A Babka is a sweet braided bread or cake, popular among Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine. It is made with enriched dough similar to challah or croissants, filled with fruit jam or cinnamon, and baked into a braided loaf bread, topped with sugar syrup to preserve the freshness and to make bread moist. Some of the popular filling variations includes chocolate, cinnamon, fruit, nuts, or cheese.

Recently, I published Star bread recipe, and it was a huge hit. Many of my readers tried the recipe, and absolutely loved it. After a huge success of Star bread, I got many requests for Babka bread. So, here’s a straightforward, relatively easy recipe to end this great year -2020!!

INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE BABKA

FOR THE DOUGH

2 1/4 cup (285 g) all purpose flour; plus 1-2 tablespoon, as needed

1/2 cup (118.5 ml) warm whole milk [100 F – 110 F]

1 1/2 teaspoon (4.6 g) Active Dry Yeast 

2 tablespoon (25 g) sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (76 g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 tablespoon neutral oil, to grease the bowl

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, to grease the baking pan

FOR THE FILLING:

1/2 cup (85 g) 70% or higher dark chocolate, chips or chopped

4 tablespoon (56.5 g) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup (50 g) sugar

1/4 cup (25 g) cocoa powder

FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP

3 tablespoon (37.5 g) sugar

3 tablespoon (44 ml) of water

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE BABKA

It is extremely straightforward and relatively easy to make, this classic chocolate babka at home. Follow my foolproof recipe and make this crowd pleaser, babka in just 6 easy steps.

1. PREPARE THE FILLING

2. PREPARE THE DOUGH [BY HAND OR USING STAND MIXER]

3. FIRST PROOFING [TRADITIONAL OR USING INSTANT POT]

4. SHAPE BABKA

5. SECOND PROOFING

6. BAKE BABKA

Pic Shown: Chocolate Babka

 

Chocolate babka

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHOCOLATE BABKA

STEP 1: PREPARE THE FILLING

Using a double boiler method, simmer a pot filled a little less than halfway with water. Place a heatproof bowl, that sits well on bottom pot. Add butter, chocolate and sugar to the bowl. Reduce the heat to low, stir chocolate until silky smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cocoa, and allow it to cool and thicken.

STEP 2: PREPARE THE DOUGH [BY HAND OR USING STAND MIXER]

In a cup, stir in warm milk [100*F – 110* F], sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, or until it turns frothy, and doubles in volume.

Note: If the yeast is active, the mixture turns frothy, and doubles in volume. If the mixture does not double in size, start the process again with fresh yeast.

In a bowl, add flour, salt, yeast mixture, and eggs, using a spatula mix until the flour is incorporated.

Transfer the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Add softened butter, and knead the dough until it is soft, elastic, springs back when pressed, and is not sticky, around 15-20 minutes. If using a stand mixer, knead the dough for 5 minutes.

Note: If the dough feels too sticky, add some flour and if it is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoon of warm milk, and knead the dough, until it is nice, and soft.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl.

STEP 3: FIRST PROOFING

Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it once to grease the top.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and place it in a warm place, for 60-90 minutes or until it doubles in volume.

If using Instant Pot for proofing, place the dough in the greased inner pot, and turn it once to grease the top. Place lid, and cover the pot. Turn ON YOGURT (normal) for 1 hour.

Note: I used a glass lid that fits, to cover the inner pot.

STEP 4: SHAPE BABKA

Grease a 9*5 inch baking pan with some softened butter.

Transfer the dough onto work surface and punch it down. Lightly flour the work surface, roll the ball into a 16 * 12 inch rectangle.

Apply chocolate mixture evenly on the top, leaving about 1/4 inch of the edge of rectangle bare.

Roll the dough into a tight roll, starting from the long edge, seam side down.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll lengthwise in half; carefully turn each cut-sides facing upwards. Pinch top ends together to seal, then twist strips around each other, to make a two-stranded plait. Press the bottom ends to seal. Carefully, lift the shaped dough, and place it in a greased baking pan.

STEP 5: SECOND PROOFING

Cover the shaped bread with a plastic wrap, and place it in a warm place, for 1.5 – 2 hours or until it doubles in size and becomes puffy.

Note: Lightly spray the plastic wrap (side that goes on the bread) with some cooking spray.

STEP 6: BAKE BABKA

Pre-heat the oven to 375*F.

Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Note: If the top is browning quickly, loosely tent the bread with the foil.

While bread is baking, make sugar syrup. In a sauce pan, over medium heat, stir together water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and cook the syrup for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Remove the bread from the oven, immediately brush with sugar syrup and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Pic Shown: Chocolate Babka

 

Chocolate Babka

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKE AHEAD DOUGH

Follow STEP 1 & STEP 2 of the recipe as discussed. After the dough has risen, punch it down to remove air bubbles, shape it into a ball, and place it in a air-tight container. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. To freeze the dough, place the dough ball in a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag and freeze it. You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months. To use it, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then let it sit on the kitchen counter for around 30 minutes. Punch it down, the dough is now ready to be used. Continue with STEP 3.

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

Click on the image (Amazon links) for details.

 

PRO TIPS FOR BEST BABKA

For measuring the flour, do not scoop the flour, instead lightly fill the measuring cup with the flour, and level it with back of the spoon. See FAQ – HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR RIGHT WAY

If the yeast is active, the mixture turns frothy, and doubles in volume. If the mixture does not double in size, start the process again with fresh yeast.

Check the consistency of the dough after kneading it for 4-5 minutes. If it feels too sticky, add some flour and if it is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoon of warm milk, and knead the dough, until it is nice, and soft.

Do not over-knead the dough. As soon as the dough is soft, elastic, springs back when pressed, and is not sticky. You know the dough is kneaded well.

Proof the dough until it becomes double in volume, do not over proof it.

Whatever filling you choose sweet or savory, make sure it does not have too much moisture, and is not too runny. If the filling is too moist or runny, it will ooze out and make it messy.

If using stand mixer to prepare the bread dough, double the recipe. I use a 5 quarts stand mixer, and find making dough in larger quantity, works better. Proof the dough, and divide it into two equal portions and use it in the recipe as suggested. You can freeze the extra dough for later use. See FAQ (below) on how to freeze the dough.

Use sharp serrated knife to cut the bread into pieces. This bread is quite delicate and has a mix texture somewhere between bread and cake. Serrated knife gives clean cut pieces, without tearing them apart. 

Pic Shown: Chocolate Babka

 

Chocolate Babka

 

16 BABKA FILLING VARIATIONS

Sharing 16 different filling ideas from sweet to savory you can use to make this decadent babka at home. Feel free to add filling of your choice.

This is very important, whatever filling you choose sweet or savory, make sure it does not have too much moisture, and is not too runny. If the filling is too moist or runny, it will ooze out and make it messy.

Secondly, do not overstuff the filling, a thin layer of filling, is all you need to add some flavor to this bread. Overly stuffed or filling that has large chunks will be difficult to shape and as a result you will not be able to achieve desired shape.

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT [OR WALNUT] BABKA

I love addition of nuts to this chocolate babka. Nuts add a nice crunch and added flavor to this decadent chocolate babka. Sprinkle around 1/2 cup of roughly chopped, toasted hazelnuts, or walnuts on top of the chocolate mixture.

CINNAMON SUGAR

By far one of the most devoured flavor – Cinnamon-sugar. Easy, yet delightful filling to cheer you up.

Mix 4 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Apply some softened butter on top, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly.

CINNAMON SUGAR + ORANGE + CRANBERRIES

Love this combination of cranberries, orange, and cinnamon. We are so in the holiday mood ? Mix 4 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 tablespoon dried cranberries. Apply some softened butter, and sprinkle the mixture evenly on top.

PUMPKIN SPICE

Love pumpkin spice? Pumpkin spice, a blend of amazing spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and all-spice, adds warmth to this recipe. You will need 4 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice, mix well. Apply some softened butter, and sprinkle the mixture evenly on top.

NUTELLA

Absolute favorite! Tastes amazing on its own or as a bread filling. Spread around 4 tablespoon Nutella, leaving about 1/4 inch of the edge of the rectangle bare. If you find it difficult to spread it, simply microwave Nutella for few seconds to achieve spreadable consistency.

I also like to spread some homemade strawberry jam on it. Yum!!

GARLIC BUTTER

Simple and packed with garlic flavor. Love the addition of fresh garlic to this bread. Apply some softened butter, top with some fresh minced garlic and some parsley. Top it with some of your favorite cheese for a boost.

HERBED BUTTER

Fresh herbs add a ton of flavor to this bread. Love the combination of fresh herbs smeared on the bread! I love thyme and rosemary with some garlic butter, tastes amazing. Finish it off with some sea salt. You can use fresh or dried herbs of your choice such as thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives, etc.

Mix 4 tablespoon of softened butter with some fresh or dried herbs of your choice. Spread this mixture evenly, and sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top. Bon-Appetit!!!

PESTO

Love the combination of pesto and some Parmesan cheese, absolutely crowd pleasing! I also like to add some walnuts for an extra crunch. You can use nuts of your choice, pine-nuts, walnuts, pecan, add a nice flavor and crunch to this bread.

Spread a thin layer of pesto, top with some Parmesan cheese and some nuts of your choice. Use thick pesto instead of thin, for more flavor.

Pic Shown: Chocolate Babka

 

Chocolate Babka

 

CHEESE AND HERBS WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS

Ricotta cheese, with some fresh or dried herbs make a great filling. Love to top it off with some caramelized onions!

CREAMY CHEESE FILLING

Love creamy, cheesy bread? This is all cheese filling. Pick your favorite cheeses, combination of two or three or even more cheese.

FAVORITE BUTTER

Use your favorite nut butter or any butter as filling. Apple butter, pumpkin butter, peanut butter, almond butter, are a great addition.

JAM OR PRESERVE

Pick your favorite jam or preserve and use it in the recipe. Any combo you like on your sandwich can be used here as a filling.

MORE CHOCOLATE

I love the addition of chocolate chips or freshly chopped chocolate to add an extra layer of chocolate. Sprinkle some chocolate chips or chopped chocolate on top of the chocolate spread.

CHAI SPICE

Love Chai (Indian Tea)? I could have chai anytime of the day ? Inspired by my roots, here’s a great addition of filling made with all my favorite spices, I use to make chai. You will need 1/4 teaspoon each of ground ginger, ground green cardamom, ground cloves, ground cinnamon. Mix all the dry spices along with 4 tablespoon of sugar. Apply some softened butter, and sprinkle the mixture evenly on top.

MITHAI (INDIAN FUDGE) FILLING

Love Indian sweets? I just had to share this one, being one of my family’s favorite mithai – badam katli (almond fudge). You will need 3 tablespoon of almond flour, 1/2 teaspoon of ground green cardamom, 4 tablespoon of sugar, mix everything together. Apply some softened butter, and sprinkle the mixture evenly on top.

ZA’ATAR SPICE

Love Mediterranean food? Try this Zaatar spice filling savory star bread. Commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, zaatar spice is a blend of dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, along with toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, and salt. Apply some olive oil, and sprinkle around 3-4 tablespoon of zaatar spice blend evenly on top.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR RIGHT WAY

It is important to measure the flour using a right method. To avoid over-measuring, do not scoop the flour straight from the container. First loosen the flour by giving it a good stir with a spoon or a spatula. Next, spoon the flour into the measuring cup, fill the cup slightly over the rim. Now, level the flour using back of the spoon or a knife.

CONSISTENCY OF THE DOUGH

The consistency of the dough is soft, elastic, and non-sticky. When you poke the dough, it springs back and does not stick.

Check the consistency of the dough after kneading it for 4-5 minutes. If it feels too sticky, add some flour and if it is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoon of warm milk, and knead the dough, until it is nice, and soft.

HOW LONG DO YOU KNEAD DOUGH

Depending upon the method used for kneading, the time will vary. If you are using a stand mixer to knead the dough, it takes somewhere from 8-10 minutes to knead the dough. If kneading the dough by hand, it takes around 20-25 minutes for a soft, non-sticky dough.

Pic Shown: Chocolate Babka

 

Chocolate Babka

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE DOUGH IS KNEADED ENOUGH

A well kneaded dough will be soft, elastic, springs back when you poke your finger, and it won’t be sticky. If the dough does not pass this simple test, it means it needs more kneading.

Here are few ways you can tell that the dough is kneaded well:

First, it forms into a nice smooth dough, the dough will start to leave the sides of the bowl (stand mixer).

Secondly, poke a finger, and if the dough springs back, and is not sticky, the dough is kneaded well.

Lastly, you can also do a windowpane test. Take a small piece of dough, and stretch it as thin as possible. If the dough does not tear, and you can see a thin layer of dough, it means the dough is kneaded well.

WHY DO YOU KNEAD THE DOUGH

It is important to knead the dough before rising, as kneading develops the gluten in the dough. Gluten is made of long strands of protein, which makes the dough stretchy. The stretchy dough can hold the bubbles created by the yeast, thus making the dough to rise.

WHY IS MY DOUGH TOO STICKY

Too much liquid, can cause a sticky dough. Also, if you used cold, or room temperature milk, it can result in leaking of gluten’s, causing the dough to be sticky.

MY DOUGH IS TOO TIGHT

When using a stand mixer chances are that you overworked the dough. The change in composition of gluten molecules, results in a non-stretchy dough. Overworked dough often feels too tight, and tough and breaks when you try to pull, or roll.

WHY BREAD IS DENSE AND CHEWY

For a nice, soft and fluffy bread, it is important to knead the dough enough. When the dough is not kneaded enough, either using a stand mixer or by hand, the dough will lack the strength. When you make bread using this dough, chances are it will turn out chewy and quite dense in texture.

WHAT MAKES BREAD LIGHT AND SOFT

As the yeast grows, it produces gas, carbon dioxide. Depending upon how much gas is produced in the dough, the bread will turn out light and soft.

HOW TO STORE BREAD

Once the bread cools completely, place it in a Ziploc bag, or in a air-tight container. Bread lasts for few days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.

Bread freezes beautifully. Store it in a freezer friendly storage bags or container, and it will last for couple of months.

Defrost, reheat, and enjoy homemade Chocolate Babka.

HOW TO REHEAT BREAD

To reheat bread, preheat the oven at 350*F. Place the bread on a baking sheet, and tent it loosely with some foil. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until warm through.

Pic Shown: Chocolate Babka

 

Chocolate Babka

 

★ If you tried this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback. Please rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below.

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SOME MORE RECIPES FROM BLOG!! 

STAR BREAD

GINGERBREAD WINTER WONDERLAND CHEESECAKE

HOMEMADE NAAN BREAD [GARLIC NAAN]

BRIOCHE ROLLS [DINNER ROLLS]

STRAWBERRY JAM

HOMEMADE CHERRY PIE FILLING

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE

HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER   

 

 

 

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5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Babka [Krantz Cake]

This Chocolate Babka is a sweet bread made with enriched dough, filled with decadent chocolate filling, is braided into loaf and baked until golden brown. Topped with sugar syrup to preserve freshness and to make bread moist.
Course Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword babka, babka bread, bread recipes, chocolate babka, holiday baking, instant pot recipes, krantz cake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Proof TIme 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 1 loaf; 9*5 inch
Author Jyoti Behrani

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE BABKA

    FOR THE DOUGH

    • 2 1/4 cup (285 g) all-purpose flour; plus 1-2 tablespoon, as needed
    • 1/2 cup (118.5 ml) warm whole milk [100 F – 110 F]
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon (4.6 g) Active Dry Yeast 
    • 2 tablespoon (25 g) sugar
    • 2 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup (76 g) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 tablespoon neutral oil, to grease the bowl
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, to grease the loaf pan

    FOR THE FILLING

    • 1/2 cup (85 g) 70% or higher dark chocolate, chips or chopped
    • 4 tablespoon (56.5 g) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
    • 1/4 cup (25 g) cocoa powder

    FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP

    • 3 tablespoon (37.5 g) sugar
    • 3 tablespoon (44 ml) of water

    Instructions

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHOCOLATE BABKA

      STEP 1: PREPARE THE FILLING

      • Using a double boiler method, simmer a pot filled a little less than halfway with water. Place a heatproof bowl, that sits well on bottom pot. Add butter, chocolate and sugar to the bowl. Reduce the heat to low, stir chocolate until silky smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cocoa, and allow it to cool and thicken.

      STEP 2: PREPARE THE DOUGH [BY HAND OR USING STAND MIXER]

      • In a cup, stir in warm milk [100*F – 110* F], sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, or until it turns frothy, and doubles in volume.
        Note: If the yeast is active, the mixture turns frothy, and doubles in volume. If the mixture does not double in size, start the process again with fresh yeast.
      • In a bowl, add flour, salt, yeast mixture, and eggs, using a spatula mix until the flour is incorporated.
      • Transfer the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Add softened butter, and knead the dough until it is soft, elastic, springs back when pressed, and is not sticky, around 15-20 minutes. If using a stand mixer, knead the dough for 5 minutes.
        Note: If the dough feels too sticky, add some flour and if it is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoon of warm milk, and knead the dough, until it is nice, and soft.
      • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl.

      STEP 3: FIRST PROOFING

      • Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it once to grease the top.
      • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and place it in a warm place, for 60-90 minutes or until it doubles in volume.
      • If using Instant Pot for proofing, place the dough in the greased inner pot, and turn it once to grease the top. Place lid, and cover the pot. Turn ON YOGURT (normal) for 1 hour.
        Note: I used a glass lid that fits, to cover the inner pot.

      STEP 4: SHAPE BABKA

      • Grease a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan with some softened butter.
      • Transfer the dough onto work surface and punch it down. Lightly flour the work surface, roll the ball into a 16-by-12 inch rectangle.
      • Apply chocolate mixture evenly on the top, leaving about 1/4 inch of the edge of rectangle bare.
      • Roll the dough into a tight roll, starting from the long edge, seam side down.
      • Using a sharp knife, cut the roll lengthwise in half; carefully turn each cut-sides facing upwards. Pinch top ends together to seal, then twist strips around each other, to make a two-stranded plait. Press the bottom ends to seal. Carefully, lift the shaped dough, and place it in a greased loaf pan.

      STEP 5: SECOND PROOFING

      • Cover the shaped bread with a plastic wrap, and place it in a warm place, for 1.5 – 2 hours or until it doubles in size and becomes puffy.
        Note: Lightly spray the plastic wrap (side that goes on the bread) with some cooking spray.

      STEP 6: BAKE BABKA

      • Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
      • Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
        Note: If the top is browning quickly, loosely tent the bread with the foil.
      • While bread is baking, make sugar syrup. In a sauce pan, over medium heat, stir together water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and cook the syrup for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
      • Remove the bread from the oven, immediately brush with sugar syrup and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

      Video

      Notes

      Please refer to the post for the following:
      1. INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKE AHEAD DOUGH
      2. PRO TIPS FOR BEST BABKA
      3. 16 BABKA FILLING VARIATIONS - Sharing 16 different filling ideas from sweet to savory you can use to make this decadent babka at home. Feel free to add filling of your choice.
      4. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

       

       

       

       

      Jyoti Behrani

      Hello!! Welcome to my blog, my journey Living Smart and Healthy! Cook with me easy and authentic Indian food and around the globe. Will be sharing tips and tricks on easy authentic cooking, without spending hours in the kitchen or comprising on authentic flavors. Keeping things simple and healthy is what I am all about. Life is simple, so lets keep cooking simple too!!

      This Post Has 2 Comments

      1. Mary

        5 stars
        I made it yesterday, and it is fabulous. The video helped immensely as I needed to see how to braid the two pieces. Thanks for the stellar recipe and your clear directions.

        1. Jyoti Behrani

          Awesome! I am so glad you liked my recipe 🙂 Thanks for sharing your feedback!

      Leave a Reply

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