- In a large bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a small saucepan heat and stir the milk, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt until warm (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F) and butter almost melts. Add to flour mixture along with 1 egg. Stir with a sturdy spoon until combined. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining flour to make a soft dough that is smooth and elastic (about 3 minutes). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (1 1/2 to 2 hours).
- Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup sugar and the cocoa powder. Roll dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cocoa mixture and chocolate pieces. Roll up rectangle, starting from a long side. Cut roll in half crosswise. Make an "x" with the pieces. Twist each end together. Place dough twist in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (45 to 60 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk together 1 egg and the cream. Brush over loaf. Bake 70 to 75 minutes or until golden and bread sounds hollow when gently tapped (internal temperature of bread should be 180 degrees F to 190 degrees F), covering with foil the last 20 to 25 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Loosen loaf from pan and remove. Cool completely on a wire rack.
From the Test Kitchen
Cinnamon Streusel Babka
Prepare as directed except omit the cocoa powder and chocolate pieces. Stir 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon and 1 tsp. ground cardamom Into the 1/3 cup sugar. Sprinkle over dough after brushing with butter. Fill and shape dough as directed. For streusel, in a small bowl stir together 1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Stir in 1 Tbsp. melted butter. Add 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour and toss until small clumps form. Sprinkle over shaped loaf after brushing with egg mixture. Bake as directed.
Per serving: 284 cal., 12 g fat (7 g sat. fat), 62 mg chol., 323 mg sodium, 38 g carb., 1 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 5 g pro.
8% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 3% calcium, 10% iron
Prepare as directed except omit the melted butter, the 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate pieces. Spread dough with 2/3 cup purchased cookie butter or chocolate-hazelnut spread and sprinkle with 1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts. Shape and bake as directed.
Per serving: 364 cal., 21 g fat (7 g sat. fat), 54 mg chol., 275 mg sodium, 38 g carb., 2 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 7 g pro.
7% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 3% calcium, 11% iron
Dried Fruit Babka
Prepare as directed except omit the melted butter, the 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate pieces. Stir together 1/3 cup apricot preserves, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, and 1/8 tsp. ground cloves. Spread over dough. Sprinkle with 1 cup dried mixed fruit (chopped apricots, chopped tart red cherries, cranberries, raisins, and/or golden raisins). Shape and bake as directed.
Per serving: 279 cal., 10 g fat (6 g sat. fat), 54 mg chol., 280 mg sodium, 44 g carb., 2 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 6 g pro.
12% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 3% calcium, 11% iron
Substitute water for milk and shortening for butter in the dough. Brush rolled out dough with water. Choose nondairy chocolate, if using. Use shortening or margarine in the Cinnamon Streusel Babka. Omit cream from the egg wash.
Per serving: 324 cal., 14 g fat (5 g sat. fat), 31 mg chol., 208 mg sodium, 45 g carb., 1 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 6 g pro.
1% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 1% calcium, 12% iron
After shaping and placing in pan, cover and chill 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours or until nearly double in size. Brush and bake as directed.
If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can use it to mix the dough and work in the last 1 cup of flour. If necessary, turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until a soft dough forms.
Prepare as above, except after cutting dough roll in half crosswise, cut each piece lengthwise into thirds (some of the filling will fall out). For each loaf, braid three pieces together and sprinkle with some of the filling that falls out. Place each braid on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let rise and bake in the 325 degrees F oven for 45 minutes or until done (180 degrees F to 190 degrees F).
Nutrition Facts (Babka)
- Per serving:
- 345 kcal ,
- 16 g fat
- (9 g sat. fat ,
- 1 g polyunsaturated fat ,
- 3 g monounsaturated fat ),
- 59 mg chol. ,
- 291 mg sodium ,
- 46 g carb. ,
- 1 g fiber ,
- 19 g sugar ,
- 6 g pro.