How life got all tangled up... or Cinnamon Chocolate Babka

How life got all tangled up... or Cinnamon Chocolate Babka

Sometimes life gets weird. 

Sometimes, you want to plan every meticulous step and know exactly where your going and control everyone's thoughts. You want to be comforted that the path your headed down is the exact one you planned. And sometimes, it works. 

Your boss gives you a promotion, the boy you've been talking to finally asks you out and your Postmates delivery contains exactly what you ordered. 

But most of the time, your boss gives the promotion to the "more experienced" guy, the boy you've been talking to introduces you to his girlfriend and Postmates forgets the guac, again. 

I have been recently dealing with the fact that I cant always plan everything perfectly. Despite numerous attempts to find the perfect opportunities and the one best path that will get me exactly where I want to go, I have accepted the fact that the best path is usually the one I never even planned.

I bet my babka felt this way. The brioche dough probably thought that it was just going to be like any other bread and just baked as is. But then it got rolled out and stuffed up with the rich, decadent chocolate sauce, topped with sweet, plumped currents, and twisted around itself.

The end result was approximately 1,000,000 times better than the original.  Although there are certainly steps we all need to take to ensure that the end result is better than we expected (writing a baller cover letter, making sure the dough has had enough time to rise), sometimes we need to embrace the tangled, crazy mess that life becomes (the side of guac would still be nice though). 

Ingredients

Leaven:

  • 30 g 100% hydration starter
  • 85 g water
  • 85g half bread flour, half whole wheat flour

Babka Dough: 

  • 200 g leaven 
  • 170 g whole milk 
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g sugar
  • 305 g bread flour
  • 55 g whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 9 g salt

Chocolate - Current Filling

  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 140 g high quality bittersweet chocolate 
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 90 g dried current, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten

Method 

  1. When leaven is active and bubbly, add milk, eggs, butter, sugar, and stir to combine. Add flours and cinnamon and mix until no lumps remain. Cover with plastic and autolyze for 20 minutes. Sprinkle in the salt and knead on work surface for about five minutes*.
  2. Cover with plastic and bulk proof for 4 hours, turning and folding every 30 minutes. The dough will be much, much stiffer in comparison to your typical artesian bread. 
  3. Grease your loaf pans and set aside and prepare the filling. Soak the currents for 10 minutes with boiling water. Melt chocolate and butter together in a microwave or double boiler. Add cinnamon and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.  
  4. Transfer dough onto a well floured work surface. Roll out to a large rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick. The short side should be as long as your loaf pan.  Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the dough and top with currents. Roll up from the short side and pinch the seam to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough straight down the middle. Take a moment to smile at the beautiful layers of chocolate. Lay both with the interiors facing up next to each other. Pinch the far ends together and then, as if twisting hair, pull the piece to the left up and over the one on the right. Take the piece now that is on the left and repeat the same action until you dont have enough dough to keep twisting. Tuck the ends underneath the loaf and using a bench scraper, transfer to greased loaf pans. 
  5. Place in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 8 hours. When ready to bake preheat oven to 365˚F, remove from fridge, and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 55-60 minutes, rotating halfway through. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Or dont. ;) 

Would ya challah for a slice?

A video posted by @wandershoottaste on

 

*For kneading, I used the slap and fold method in which you lift the dough to about eye level and then throw it on the work surface. When it hits the surface fold any remaining dough in your hand back into it. With sourdough, this type of kneading actually typically makes the dough less likely to stick to itself as with dry yeast it tends to stick to itself more.