You’re not going to be able to get enough of this soft, sweet babka bread filled with luscious chocolate! With its beautiful swirled interior, it looks as good as it tastes!
I’m a sucker for sweet bread. Cinnamon bread, apple bread, and strawberry quick bread are a few more of my favorite recipes that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! They’re perfect for beginner and seasoned bakers alike!
What is Babka Bread?
If you’ve never tried babka bread before, you’re in for a treat! Babka is a type of braided bread that’s most commonly found in Poland, Ukraine, and Israel! It’s everything you would want in sweet bread- soft and moist with a delightful chew. It’s similar to brioche! You can find babka with all kinds of sweet fillings, such as apple and cream cheese, but today’s recipe is for chocolate lovers! A soft, sweet bread with swirls of decadent dark chocolate all throughout it.
I love making this gorgeous, swirled bread as a gift to friends and family! They’ll be hooked once they get a bite of its melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey flavor. It’s so good on its own. No need for toppings or spreads! The rich, fudgy filling really brings the flavor together. Trust me. This is one bread recipe you’re going to want to come back to time and time again.
Chocolate Babka Ingredients
Don’t be fooled by the long list of ingredients. I’m sure you have most of these ready to go in your pantry right now! My tip here is to use the highest quality chocolate you can since that’s the main flavor of the babka. See the recipe card below for the exact measurements you’ll need for each ingredient.
- Flour: I used all-purpose flour for a light and airy structure!
- Granulated Sugar: Gives your babka dough the perfect sweetness.
- Instant Yeast: Since we’re using instant yeast here, there is no need to activate it beforehand!
- Large Eggs: Help bind all of the dough ingredients together. I recommend using eggs that are at room temperature so that they mix into the dough more smoothly.
- Whole Milk: The high-fat content of whole milk will make your bread more soft and tender.
- Salt: Enhances the flavor of your babka.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter! You’ll want this to be at room temperature as well, so it mixes into your dough mixture easily.
- Butter: I used salted butter for the filling.
- Heavy Cream: Gives the filling a creamy flavor and rich, thick texture.
- Dark Chocolate: Use high-quality chocolate for the best flavor!
- Powdered Sugar: Adds sweetness and a smooth texture to the filling.
- Cocoa Powder: I used unsweetened cocoa powder!
- Bittersweet Chocolate: You’ll add chopped bittersweet chocolate to your dough right before you put it in the oven for an extra pop of chocolatey goodness.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds an extra hint of sweetness.
- Water: Adjusts the consistency of the syrup.
How to Make Chocolate Babka Bread
Like many other homemade bread recipes, this chocolate babka does require a bit of preparation. If you’re new to baking bread, don’t worry at all! The steps to make babka are very straightforward. All it needs is a little love! Keep in mind that the dough does need to proof overnight, so make sure to plan for this if you’re making your babka for a special event!
Preparing Your Dough:
- Combine Ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 4 cups of flour, sugar, and yeast. Add the eggs, warm milk (no warmer than 110℉), and salt. Use the dough hook to mix on low speed until it all starts to combine. Add in the additional ½ cup of flour if the mixture is too wet and won’t come away from the sides of the bowl.
- Mix In Butter: Add the soft butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, letting the dough absorb it before adding more. Once all the butter has been mixed in, mix on medium-low speed for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth. It will be quite sticky but have good stretch to it.
- Shape and Proof: Lightly oil a large bowl and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough into the bowl, turning it over to coat it in oil. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
How to Make the Chocolate Filling:
- Simmer: In a medium saucepan, add the melted butter and cream. Gently heat over low until steaming but not bubbling.
- Mix In Remaining Ingredients: Remove from the heat. Then, add the 8 ounces of dark chocolate, whisking until it is completely melted. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
- Let Cool: Transfer to a bowl and let cool for about 1 hour, until thick but still spreadable.
Adding Simple Syrup:
- Combine Sugar and Water: While the loaves are in the oven, prepare the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
- Boil: Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
- Brush Onto Bread: Once the loaves come out of the oven, immediately brush the tops of them generously with the syrup.
- Cool and Serve: Let the loaves cool for 25-30 minutes in the pan before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tips for Making the Best Babka
Chocolate babka bread is one of my favorite homemade bread recipes. It turns out soft, fluffy, and absolutely decadent every time! Here are a few extra tips and variations for your next loaf.
- Knead: Skip the mixer by stirring the ingredients together and then kneading by hand. It will take a good 10-15 minutes and some stamina, but the dough will be soft, smooth, and elastic when it is done.
- Adjust Chocolate Flavor: Omit the extra chopped chocolate if you desire, but I love the texture it gives the filling.
- Coat With Simple Syrup: Don’t skip the simple syrup! This will help maintain the moisture in the bread as well as give it a nice shiny exterior.
How Long Does Chocolate Babka Bread Last?
Leftovers are hard to come by at my house! This chocolate babka bread is always eaten in an instant! Here’s how to keep yours fresh and tasty if you still have some around!
- At Room Temperature: Leftover babka should be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- In the Freezer: Loaves of baked babka can be frozen by being wrapped in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, and into a large ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let it come to room temperature before unwrapping.
- 4-4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 packet instant yeast 2 ¼ teaspoons
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup whole milk warm
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup salted butter melted
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces dark chocolate high quality and chopped
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate high quality and chopped
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 4 cups of flour, sugar, and yeast. Add the eggs, warm milk (no warmer than 110℉), and salt. Use the dough hook to mix on low speed until it all starts to combine. Add in the additional ½ cup of flour if the mixture is too wet and won’t come away from the sides of the bowl.
Add the soft butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, letting the dough absorb it before adding more. Once all the butter has been mixed in, mix on medium low speed for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth. It will be quite sticky, but have good stretch to it.
Lightly oil a large bowl and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough into the bowl, turning it over to coat it in oil. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
In a medium saucepan, add the melted butter and cream. Gently heat over low until steaming, but not bubbling. Remove from the heat and add the 8 ounces of dark chocolate, whisking until it is completely melted. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for about 1 hour, until thick but still spreadable.
Spray 2 9×5 inch bread pans with baking spray and set aside. You may line the pans with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on either side if desired.
Divide the chilled dough into two equal portions. On a floured surface roll half of the dough into a 12×16 inch rectangle.
Spread half of the chocolate filling over the rolled dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one short side of the dough. Sprinkle 2 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate over the filling.
Starting from the short side opposite the border, roll the dough tightly, pinching the seam once the whole rectangle has been rolled.
Using a large, sharp knife, slice the log in half lengthwise. Set the two halves side-by-side with the cut side facing up. Twist the halves together 3-4 times, pinching the ends together.
Place the twisted dough gently into one of the prepared pans keeping the cut sides of the dough facing up. Repeat with the second half of the dough and the remaining filling.
Place a clean kitchen towel over the loaves and let them rise in a warm place for 1-½ hours.
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Once the loaves are done rising, bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. The internal temp of the bread should read 185℉ once they are fully baked.
While the loaves are in the oven, prepare the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
Once the loaves come out of the oven immediately brush the tops of them generously with the syrup.
Let the loaves cool for 25-30 minutes in the pan before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.