Not exactly a “quick” recipe… But entirely worth the day it takes to make. Original recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Chocolate Babka has been having a moment - and we want it to last forever. Baking babka in a cast iron pan adds a layer of crisp to the outer crust of this multi-layered, braided loaf of divine goodness.


The Dough

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • grated rind (zest) of 1 small lemon

  • 4 1/3 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 10 2/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 3/4" cubes

The Chocolate Filling

  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

The Glaze

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar


To make the dough

  1. Use your fingers to rub together the sugar and lemon zest until all of the sugar is moistened. Combine the lemon sugar with the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade. Mix on low speed to combine, about 1 minute.

  2. Add the eggs, water, and salt, and mix on low speed briefly. Increase to medium speed and mix for 5 minutes, until the dough comes together (it will appear very dry and shaggy at first; that’s OK).

  3. Switch to the dough hook. Add the butter a few cubes at a time, kneading until each cube is completely incorporated into the dough. Continue kneading on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic, and shiny.

  4. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning to coat it, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

To make the filling

  1. Place the chocolate, butter, and cocoa powder into a medium heat-proof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring after each (it will take around 2 minutes).

  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Set aside to thicken, about 30 minutes; the mixture should be malleable, the consistency of soft ganache.

  3. To assemble the babka: Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15” x 11” rectangle.

  4. Use an offset spatula to spread half the chocolate mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2” border around the edges. Brush a little bit of water along the long edge of the rectangle farthest away from you.

  5. Starting from the long side closest to you, roll the dough into a log. Press to seal the dampened end, then use both hands to even out the roll. Rest the log on its seam.

  6. Trim about 3/4” off each end of the roll using a serrated knife. Using the same knife, gently cut the roll in half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam underneath.

  7. With the cut sides facing up, gently alternate crossing the pieces over each other to create a two-strand braid.

  8. Repeat with the second piece of dough and remaining chocolate filling.

  9. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently transfer the two babka braids to the prepared pan and shape them into one large circle, braiding together the ends for continuity.

  10. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours; the babka won’t double in size, but will rise by about 20 percent. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

  11. Remove the plastic wrap. Bake the babka for 25 to 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean and all of the exposed chocolate swirls are firm to the touch.

  12. While the babka is baking, make the glaze. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the sugar is fully dissolved, remove from the heat and set aside.

  13. As soon as the babka comes out of the oven, brush all of the glaze over the babka; it will seem like a lot, but just keep brushing!

  14. Slide the parchment paper from the baking pan to a cooling rack. Allow the babka to cool completely before serving.

May 05, 2021 — Matt Cavallaro