Babka!

Updated: Nov 14, 2019



What has happened to my baking mojo? Last night I started on the bakes for our Roarsome Alldayer next week and managed to nearly burn a traybake and get a soggy bottom on my bakewell slices. And yet, dear reader - in the name of National Sticky Bun Day this year I ploughed on to make a double batch of Babka.


I first tasted these when my friend Robyn made them as part of an epic new years day brunch. I chased her for the recipe and she told me that she used Smitten Kitchen's recipe. Now, I urge you to look at that post and check out the bee-yoo-tee-ful images on there. This is what these little guys ought to look like, but like I said - my baking mojo seems to have gone on holiday, so be kind!! The good news is that even if things go horribly wrong in prep it'll probably still taste absolutely brilliant, let's face it, it's chocolate and a brioche dough = *chomp*.


I have tweaked the original recipe and also include the details for the additional Cinnamon Bun filling that I used on one of the batches of buns.


INGREDIENTS

One batch of bun dough

120 ml milk, preferably whole

50g plus a pinch of sugar

7g sachet active dry yeast

1 large egg at room temperature

250g all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1/2 teaspoon salt

45g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for bowl and muffin tins


Chocolate Filling for one batch of bun dough

45g unsalted butter

50g sugar

225g semisweet chocolate

Pinch of salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)


Cinnamon Filling for one batch of bun dough

150g unsalted butter, at room temperature

150g sugar

1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon


1 egg, beaten, to glaze


METHOD

Prepare your dough:

Foamy yeast and egg / sugar mix

Gently heat the milk and a pinch of sugar - you want it to be warm to the touch but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 50g sugar, then slowly whisk in the yeast mixture.


In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine your flour and salt. Run the mixer on low and add the egg mixture, mixing until combined. Add the butter and mix for 10 minutes on low speed.


After 10 minutes, it should be glossy, sticky and stringy. Don't worry! It will firm up a bit after it rises. Cover the bowl loosely with a lint-free towel or plastic wrap and let rise at least until doubled which will probably take an hour. I often let my dough rise overnight.


Before and after.

Preparing the chocolate filling:

Put the chocolate, butter, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl over a pan of boiling water to melt. When it's melted set the mixture aside to cool. You're looking for it to be the consistency of peanut butter - it needs to be easy to spread.


Preparing the cinnamon filling:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mash together. If the mixture feels too firm put it in the microwave on a low setting for 30 seconds or so to loosen it up.


Generously butter a standard 12-muffin tin; set aside.

Dough with cinnamon butter spread over it!

Form your buns:

Once your dough is doubled, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and gently deflate it with floured hands. Let it rest for another 5 minutes. Once rested, roll dough into a large, large rectangle. The short sides should be a scant 11 to 12 inches. The other side can be as long as you like - the longer it is, the more dramatic the swirl BUT you need it not to be so thin that it tears when you spread the filling on.


This is the bit that usually presents problems for me. These have included:

- The dough sticking to the work surface when trying to roll it up - so really flour that work surface!

- The filling being too hot when spreading it on and leaking everywhere

- The filling being too cold when spreading it on and going lumpy and hard making it impossible to roll (this happened today)



Spread the filling evenly over the dough’s surface using a palette knife if you have one. Tightly roll the dough back over the filling from one short end to the other, forming a 12 to 13-inch log. With a sharp knife, gently divide the log into 12* little rounds and place each one in a prepared muffin cup. Loosely cover buns with plastic wrap or a lint-free towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes until puffed up and pleasing.


Chocolate and Cinnamon Babka - don't let their innocence fool you! They did not behave themselves today!

* this was the other thing that happened today, I cut 16 rather than 12. Duh!


Preheat your oven to 180°C


Bake:

Egg wash the buns and bake them for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and brown. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take the buns out when it reads 185 to 190 degrees in the middle of each bun.


If you're doing the cinnamon bun filling place a roasting tray under your muffin tin to catch the butter that will drip off.


Do ahead:

These buns can be formed, placed in the muffin cups and refrigerated (loosely covered with plastic, which you might want to oil to keep it from sticking) the night before, to bake in the morning. You can bake them directly from the fridge. They can be baked and frozen until needed, up to 1 month.


One again, massive credit to Smitten Kitchen for this recipe. She is the bomb.


These are well worth the effort of making, but if you really can't be arsed, come along to our Roarsome Alldayer next Friday and you can have one of mine. xx

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