If you know, you know the light and tender embrace of a freshly-baked dark chocolate and pecan babka, an Eastern European bread that pairs deliciously well with a pot of hot coffee. The process of baking babka is just as therapeutic, requiring thought and utmost care to shape a braided dough so beautiful, just the very sight can make your heart sing! And who better to guide us through the process than the Rachelle Andrade.
Also known as Rach The Baker, Rachelle is the Head Baker at Qualia Mumbai and is credited with crafting some of the city’s finest artisanal breads, among other creative bakes (including the Cruffin!). Here she shares with us her detailed recipe for a soft and pillowy babka enveloping a rich filling of dark chocolate and toasted pecans. While babka is often baked with a brioche dough, here Rachelle is catering to reader requests for eggless recipes with a milk loaf base.
Of course, iIf you’re new to baking, I would highly recommend having a read of her “bread baking basics” before you get started!
Tips For Making This Dark Chocolate & Roasted Pecan Babka
- Prepare the dough: Start by correctly measuring out and mixing together the dough (in your stand mixer) until smooth. Check to see if the gluten has developed by doing the window pane test: when you can stretch the dough without it breaking, the gluten is well-developed and your dough is ready to rise.
- While the babka dough is resting for the first dough rise, prepare the chocolate ganache. Met chocolate and cream and mix until smoothly combined, with no chocolate bits to be found. The ganache should not be too runny or too set but of spreadable consistency.
- After the first dough rise, deflate and roll the dough out to as long a length as possible to ensure that the baked babka has a proper dough to chocolate ratio, instead of it being too doughy in certain areas. Spread the ganache and toasted pecans onto the rolled dough.
- Gently roll the dough inwards and place it in the refrigerator for 30 mins so that the chocolate filling can set slightly. This makes it easier to braid the loaf.
- Once the dough is firm enough, make a straight cut down the middle of the length of the loaf, then twist the halves together as if you were braiding them.
- Next, place dough into a greased baking tin/ mould and let it rise again for 30 to 45 mins.
- Bake the chocolate & toasted pecan babka in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 mins. Once baked, glaze the top with a simple sugar syrup (of equal parts water and sugar, mixed with some cinnamon); or simply dust with some icing sugar!
Dark Chocolate Roasted Pecan Babka
For the dough (makes one dough of 227 gm)
- 125 gm all-purpose flour
- 2.5 gm salt
- 7 gm sugar
- 2.5 gm fresh yeast/ 1.25 gm active dry yeast
- 70 gm milk
- 20 gm butter
For the chocolate ganache
- 100 gm dark chocolate
- 50 gm fresh cream
- pinch of salt
Extra for the babka dough
- 30 gm roasted pecans
- 30 gm chopped dark chocolate
- Weigh out all your ingredients together and place in the mixing bowl.
- Start to mix the ingredients on slow speed to form a dough. When there are no dry ingredients that can be seen, begin to mix the dough on medium speed (this will take about 5 mins).
- Check to see if the gluten has developed by doing the window pane test: when you can stretch the dough without it breaking, the gluten is well-developed and your dough is ready to rise.
- If it passes the test, take the dough out from the mixing bowl and form it into a firm round ball; place it in a dry bowl and cover with cling wrap, leaving it for about 30 mins.
- While the dough rests, make the chocolate ganache by heating the chocolate and cream together in the microwave. Mix to combine until smooth, with no chocolate bits to be found. The ganache should not be too runny or too set but spreadable consistency.
- After 30 mins the dough will have risen in size and will feel pillowy.
- Lightly dust the work area with flour, deflate and roll out into a rectangle with the short side facing you. Roll the dough out to as long a length as possible to ensure a proper dough to chocolate ratio.
- Spread the ganache on the rolled out dough, sprinkle with chocolate and roasted pecans.
- Gently roll the dough inwards from the side that is closest to you; place it in the refrigerator for 30 mins so that the chocolate filling can set slightly, making it easier to braid the loaf.
- Once the dough is firm enough, make a straight cut down the middle of the length of the loaf. This will expose the filling.
- Holding one half in either hand, cross each side over so it begins to look like a rope, turn it around and do the same on the other end.
- Place in a greased baking tin/ mould and let it rise again for 30 to 45 mins
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Once final proofing is done, bake the babka in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 mins.
- Once baked, glaze the top with a simple sugar syrup (of equal parts water and sugar, mixed with some cinnamon); or simply dust with some icing sugar
We’d love to hear from you! Do let us know if you try this recipe – you can leave a comment below and/ or tag us in your delicious creations on Instagram @the_foodiediaries.
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