The Perfect Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Babka Recipe

Rich with tradition, symbolism, and treasured ingredients, different variations of Easter bread are prominent in many cultures’ celebrations. From Russia to Spain, these yeast-risen breads are the perfect reward following Lent. Impress your customers during the springtime holidays with our favorite recipe for Chocolate Babka.

Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Babka

Yields 12 loaves

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 3 cups Milk, whole
  • 4 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 13.5 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 12¾ cups Cake Flour
  • 12 Eggs
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon fine Salt
  • 4 sticks unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 9.75 sticks Butter, unsalted

For the filling

  • 9 cups Nutella
  • 6 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped

For the Finishing Syrup

  • 4½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups of water

Instructions

This is a recipe that benefits from advanced preparation. That being said if you plan your days accordingly you should have no problem producing a large quantity of superior babka for your pastry case or breakfast menu.

Make the Dough

In the bowl of a standing mixer, warm up the milk slightly until it reaches a temperature somewhere between 100-110F. Stir in the yeast and allow to rest for several minutes. Once the yeast has had time to activate, add your vanilla, flours, eggs, sugar, salt and finally half of your butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix these ingredients together on low until the mixture is well combined (approximately 2 minutes). Add in the remaining butter and turn up the mixer to medium. The dough should start coming together into a smooth elastic ball.

Turn out your babka dough onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with more flour and begin kneading your bread until it becomes quite elastic. A small piece can be stretched quite thin without tearing. About five minutes of kneading should do the trick. Shape the dough into six plump round balls and place them in floured bowls. Cover each with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Chill the Dough

After the dough has risen, set it out onto a lightly floured surface. Using pieces of plastic, wrap each dough ball and using your hands, flatten each ball into a rectangle. Wrap the dough with more plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.

The Butter Block

To prepare the butter blocks, place 1 stick and 5 Tablespoons of butter into 6 small square plastic bags. Using your fist, smash the butter until it reaches the edges of the bag. Using a rolling pin flatten the butter into an even block.

Folding the Dough

When ready, place the thoroughly chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 7 x 16-inch rectangle. Attempt to keep the sides as straight, and the corners as sharp as possible. Place your prepared butter block on one end of the rectangle, placing it near the edges so the dough just peaks out around the butter.

Fold the dough up over the butter, pressing around the edges of the dough to seal the butter inside. This is what’s called a “Simple Fold” do this with each remaining rectangle of dough and block of butter.

The Envelope Fold

Roll the butter and dough out into another large rectangle of dough. Be careful not to allow the butter to seep out the edges. Once the rectangle is rolled, visually divide it into thirds. Fold down the top third of the dough, then fold the bottom third up, giving you a neat little envelope of dough.

Wrap the dough up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes, before rolling out and repeating the fold again. Do this at least three times in order to get as many layers of butter and dough as possible. Once that’s done, chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Rolling the Dough

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the babka dough into a 10 x 28-inch rectangle. Endeavoring to keep the sides straight and the corners sharp. Because you’re rolling out such a long rectangle, you only need to roll it in one direction. The width will naturally increase to a sufficient length as you roll.

Filling the Dough

With the long side of the rectangle facing you, place dollops of the Nutella evenly across the surface of the dough. This makes it easier to spread the Nutella evenly and helps to prevent tearing your dough. Sprinkle chocolate chips in an even layer over the Nutella. Working from the edge, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. When completely rolled, grab both ends of the cylinder and picking it up, stretch it slightly to make it tighter and longer.

Slicing and Braiding

Now that your dough is tightly rolled, and stretching endlessly down the countertop, use a large knife to slice down the center of the roll, lengthwise. Leaving you with two even halves, and the interior now exposed. Divide the babka again, crosswise, in even thirds. This should leave you with six fairly identical pieces of the babka cylinder.

Using two strips of dough at a time, form an “X”. One strip overlapping the other, the exposed chocolate interior facing up. Grabbing each end, twist the two ends of dough around each other. Between all the swirls of dough and chocolate, this simple twist looks quite intricate and really impressive. When the dough is twisted on both ends, place it in a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining strips of dough.

Cover the whole lot with plastic wrap and put in a warm place where they can rise undisturbed for the next 2-3 hours. You’re looking for the dough to roughly expand by about a third, rising nicely an inch or two above the rim of your loaf pan.

Bake the Babkas

Preheat your oven to 350F and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Check them around 25 minutes to ensure they are not getting too dark. Though you want your babkas to achieve a relatively dark shade when all’s said and done, you do not want them to burn. Tenting them with aluminum foil halfway through can prevent burning and allow your babka to bake thoroughly.

Make the Simple Syrup

While the babkas are baking, you are presented with the perfect time to make your syrup. In a small pan set over high heat bring the sugar and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to simmer for a moment or two, making sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Once this has taken place, remove the syrup from the heat and allow to cool.

Once the babkas are finished baking brush them with simple syrup. This gives them an enticing sheen and helps lock in moisture.

Lastly, just slice and serve!

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Hannah Abaffy

Hannah Abaffy

Pastry Chef & Recipe Development

Hannah Abaffy is a pastry chef and an active member of the culinary community. From working in kitchens to developing recipes, and creating menus for restaurants, she has been involved with food in one capacity or another for the past decade. After starting a food history blog, Hannah has been continuously writing and learning about the ever-changing realm of cuisine, its history, and its future. Since then her appetite to learn about and share all things that touch upon the world of food can only be described as voracious.

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