Making bread with a sourdough starter is usually lean bread. Don’t get me wrong, those are great. I love a wonderful sourdough bread with a crunchy crust, a chewy crumb, great tang, and a super developed taste. Sometimes you’d like something else. Something sweet. Something chocolaty. This is my recipe for a sourdough babka with a chocolate filling.
Baking enriched doughs with a sourdough starter is a bit next level. At the beginning of my sourdough career, I had a hard time with these types of doughs, simply because I underestimated how long you need to ferment a dough like that. So follow the instructions on proofing, because that is imperative to get a wonderful result.
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Babka? What is that?
Babka was developed in the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe in the early 19th century, where leftover challah dough was rolled up with jam or cinnamon and baked with the challah.
Before the end of the 1950s babka was largely unknown outside of Poland. At that point, European-style bakeries in the US and Israel started baking babka and they gained some traction. The chocolate babka was probably invented around this time, but it’s not known for certain.
In the early 2010s babka gained popularity and spread across the US. This resulted in many different babkas with meat, savory seasonings, and many different sweet varieties.
The babka that I am featuring in this article is a chocolate babka, but you can certainly freestyle it and put whatever you prefer inside the dough. For instance, meats, seasonings, and cheeses.
What makes up this sourdough babka recipe?
|Total weight||1057 grams|
|Yield||1 small babka|
The dough in this sourdough babka is a wonderfully enriched dough with egg, milk, sugar, and butter. The flour used in this recipe is all-purpose flour for a wonderfully tender crumb. since it’s baked in a pan it doesn’t require a lot of gluten development.
The estimated hydration is about 60% which should result in a supple, tacky, but not sticky dough, that’s easy to work with. The inoculation is 25% which is a bit higher than the “industry standard” of 20%, to promote a faster fermentation. Enriching the dough does retard dough development, so the dough needs all the help it can get, so this doesn’t turn into a multi-day project.
The salt content is 2.2% which is pretty standard.
|100g||skim milk (0.5%)||31.3%|
|80g||starter (100% hydration)||25%|
If you. want to change quantity, hydration, inoculation, or other things, you can do so here in my Bread Calculator.
The filling for this babka is a chocolate filling. Babka’s can be filled with anything your culinary heart desires.
Use the best chocolate you can get. If you don’t like dark chocolate, substitute it with a lower percentage of chocolate.
If you want to, you can also make a cinnamon-based filling, which kinda makes this into a cinnamon bun bread. Maybe putting frosting on top would take this to the next level?
The simple syrup
The syrup that’s brushed over the top of the babka gives the crust a sweet and crunchy texture, which is super pleasing. If you’ve never tried this before it’s a bit surprising, but in that wonderful, ‘What is this? Mmmh kind of way.
The conclusion of the sourdough babka recipe
So what would I expect from a sourdough babka?
- Wonderfully enriched dough with a well-fermented taste
- No sourdough tang
- A great chocolate filling with lots of taste and sweetness
- A gorgeous looking bread
Looking at the bread it just looks so inviting. Wonderfully caramelized exterior with random streaks of chocolate popping out.
Cutting into this babka reveals the wonderful inside. Just like a brioche, well-fermented a full of small and evenly distributed alveoli (aka bubbles or holes). Because of the braided shaping, each piece has a unique crumb with random spots of wonderful gooey chocolate.
Take a bite and the bread is soft as a pillow, but the crust is sweet and crunchy. The taste of the bread is delicious. The pockets of chocolate are pure heaven. Smooth, deep dark chocolate flavor balanced by just the right amount of sweetness.
This is something else. I think you should try baking this babka.
Please share this sourdough babka recipe on social media
This is my recipe for sourdough babka. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like-minded bread lovers on social media.
If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.
Ad links! Links for equipment and ingredients in this recipe are affiliate links, which means I will get a commission if you purchase the product!
- 320 g all-purpose flour
- 40 g sugar
- 100 g egg 2 large eggs
- 100 g milk any kind you like
- 80 g sourdough starter at its peak
- 60 g butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 50 g sugar
- 50 g water
- To the bowl of your stand mixer add: 320g all-purpose flour, 7g salt, and 40g sugar.
- Mix it a bit to distribute the salt.
- Then add: 100g egg, 100g milk, and 80g sourdough starter.
- The starter should be at or before the peak to eliminate any tang.
- Mix on two with a dough hook at 2 out of 10. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Then when the dough looks lovely and cohesive, add 60g of cubed butter, a couple of pieces at a time.
- When all of the butter is kneaded into the dough, move the dough to a bulking container with straight sides. Level the dough.
- Mark the top of the dough, mark where the dough will have grown 50%, and set the dough somewhere warm for proofing.
Prepare chocolate filling
- In a microwave safe bowl add: 75g dark chocolate, 75g granulated sugar, 75g butter, and 25g dutch processed cocoa powder.
- Put it in the microwave at full power for a minute until the butter is melted. Then mix it up so that everything is combined.
- Put it back in the microwave at full power for a minute more. Mix it until it’s smooth.
- When the dough has finished fermenting, flour your counter.
- Flip the dough out onto the floured counter. Flour the top of the dough.
- And roll it out into a rectangle of about 20 cms x 30 cms, about 8 inches x 12 inches.
- Spread the chocolate filling on top of the dough.
- Roll the dough up on the short edge.
- Put it in a pan lined with baking paper and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up the dough.
- Get a very sharp knife and slice the roll in half. Then braid it making sure the chocolate parts stay upright.
- Grab a small bread pan and spray it with baking spray. Move the dough to the pan.
- Cover it with plastic wrap, and do a second proof. The dough should rise 25% to 50%.
- It took around 5 hours in the proofer, but the growth is essential, not time.
- When the dough is about there, heat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Brush with egg wash by mixing one egg with one tablespoon of water.
- Put it in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until it’s done. Aim for an internal temperature of about 95°C/203°F.
Prepare simple syrup
- While the babka is baking, prepare the simple syrup:
- Add to a microwave-safe bowl: 50g sugar, and 50g water. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
- Take out the bowl and stir to make sure the last of the sugar is melted. Then leave it until you need it.
- When the babka is done, remove it from the oven, and put the pan on a wire rack.
- Brush the top of the babka with simple syrup. Leave it to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the babka from the pan to let it cool completely.
- Don’t wait longer than 5 minutes because it might get stuck because of the sugar in the syrup hardening. Enjoy!