How to Make the Best Sourdough Babka with Chocolate Filling

Today it’s getting chocolaty: With this recipe, you can create a sourdough babka. The dough is made entirely without yeast and is only leavened with sourdough. The sourdough brioche is super fluffy thanks to a tangzhong and is marbled with a creamy, chocolaty filling with a light cinnamon flavour. If you’re not as big of a chocolate fan as I am, you can also fill your babka with sugar and cinnamon or with homemade jam.

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What is Babka?

The word “babka” is Polish and actually means grandmother. However, it also refers to a yeast cake that is traditionally eaten at Easter. The yeast cake is often baked in a bundt tin. One theory explains the name by saying that the shape looks like a grandmother’s pleated skirt. This version of a babka is more like a yeast braided sweet bread. It consists of a brioche-like dough filled with a butter and chocolate mixture.

How is the sourdough babka shaped?

The first steps are similar to cinnamon buns: The sourdough is rolled out into a large rectangle and spread with a mixture of (vegan) butter and chocolate coating. The edges of the dough are left uncovered. The rectangle is then rolled up and the dough roll is cut in half lengthways – unlike with cinnamon buns. The two halves of the dough rolls are twisted together a few times and baked in a greased loaf tin. This can be a pretty sticky business, but don’t worry! Perfectionism is not necessary at all. It doesn’t matter if the filling oozes out a little or the dough strands are not evenly intertwined. The main thing is that the dough and filling somehow end up in the loaf tin. In the end, even an uneven layer will turn into a wonderful babka.

Tip: Because the pastry is fresh from the fridge, the filling may set quickly on the surface of the pastry. But that’s no problem! It will become soft and creamy again when baked.

Twist the two halves of the dough rolls together a few times and place in a greased loaf tin.

Poppy seeds, nuts or jam: Use your favourite filling

The recipe contains the ingredients for a chocolate and cinnamon filling. However, you can fill your babka with anything you would fill a brioche with. How about a poppy seed or nut filling? Or would you prefer a sugar and cinnamon mixture and a pinch of cardamom in the dough? If you want to bake a summery, fruity babka, you can use all kinds of jam as a filling. Very liquid jams can be boiled down a little before you fill the babka, which makes shaping easier.

What you need for the chocolate babka

  • Tangzhong: The technique originally comes from Asian cuisine. To make tangzhong, one part flour is cooked with five parts water to form a thick paste. The additional water makes the finished rolls extra soft and, together with the sourdough, ensures that they remain tasty and fresh for days.
  • Wheat flour: The best flour for this recipe is bread flour or wheat flour 550. The higher the type number of the flour, the more husks are still contained in the flour. If you want to use wholemeal flour, you may need to increase the proportion of water in the recipe by 5 to 10 per cent.
  • Sugar for sweetness.
  • Sourdough starter: The sourdough doesn’t have to be freshly fed, but it shouldn’t have been more than a week since it was last refreshed. If you have discard left over, I have the right recipes for you here. I feed my sourdough with equal parts water and flour. For the flour, I use a mixture of wheat flour and wholegrain rye flour. If you feed your sourdough with a different water-to-flour ratio, you will need to adjust the amount of water in the recipe accordingly.
  • Butter or a vegan butter.
  • Water – cold in summer, lukewarm in winter.
  • Salt for the flavour.
  • Dark chocolate
  • Cocoa powder – unsweetened.
  • Cinnamon optional
  • Milk or a vegan milk alternative.
Brush the surface with (oat) milk and place in the fridge overnight.

In three steps: How to make sourdough babka with chocolate filling

Mix the dough

To make the tangzhong, mix 20 g flour with 100 g water and bring to the boil briefly while stirring. Cover the tangzhong and leave to cool completely.

Mix* all the ingredients into a homogeneous batter. Cover the dough and leave to rest at room temperature for four to six hours. Stretch and fold once after 30 minutes. Then place the dough in the fridge overnight.

Fluffy sourdough babka

Filling and shaping the sourdough babka

For the filling, melt the (vegan) butter and chocolate and mix with the cinnamon and cocoa powder. Place the filling in the fridge until it has a spreadable consistency. You should make sure that the filling does not become too firm.

Roll out* the dough into a large rectangle and spread with the filling. The edges of the dough remain blank. Then roll up the rectangle and cut the dough roll in half lengthways. Twist the two halves of the dough rolls together a few times and place in a greased loaf tin*.

Brush the surface with (oat) milk and leave to rest at room temperature for two to three hours.

Bake the chocolate babka

Preheat the oven to 200°C using a steam tray consisting of a stainless steel oven dish* and lava stones* and bake the babka for about 20 minutes with steam and 20 minutes without steam until golden brown.

For the glaze, mix the sugar with hot water. Immediately after baking, brush the warm glaze generously onto the hot babka with a pastry brush. Leave the babka to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes.

Babka with chocolate filling

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Direkt nach dem Backen die warme Glasur mit einem Backpinsel großzügig auf die heiße Babka streichen.

Recipe: How to Make the Best Sourdough Babka with Chocolate Filling

Today it’s getting chocolaty: With this recipe you can make a sourdough babka. The dough is made entirely yeast-free, using only sourdough. The sourdough brioche is super fluffy thanks to a tangzhong and is marbled by a creamy, chocolaty filling with a light cinnamon flavour. If you’re not as big of a chocolate fan as I am, you can also fill your babka with sugar and cinnamon or with homemade jam.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting Time 14 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 15 hours 30 minutes
Course Babka, Cake, Sourdough Babka
Cuisine Polish
Servings 2 Babkas

Ingredients
  

Ingredients for Tangzhong

  • 20 g cake flour
  • 100 ml water or (oat) milk

Ingredients for the dough

  • Tangzhong
  • 500 g wheat flour
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g sourdough starter
  • 60 g butter or a vegan alternative
  • 220 g water
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Filling

  • 200 g Chocolate dark
  • 100 g butter or a vegan alternative
  • 5 tsp. cocoa powder unsweetened
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon optional

Glaze

  • 3 tbsp. (oat) milk for brushing
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g hot water

Instructions
 

Day 1

  • To make the tangzhong, mix 20 g flour with 100 g water and bring to the boil briefly while stirring.
  • Cover the tangzhong and leave to cool completely.
  • Mix* all the ingredients into a homogeneous batter. Cover the dough and leave to rest at room temperature for four to six hours.
  • Then place the dough in the fridge overnight.

Day 2

  • For the filling, melt the (vegan) butter and chocolate and mix with the cinnamon and cocoa powder. Place the filling in the fridge until it has a spreadable consistency. Make sure that the filling does not become too firm.
  • Roll out* the dough into a large rectangle.
    Der Teig zu einem großen Rechteck ausrollen.
  • Spread the chocolate filling onto the dough. Leave the edges of the dough uncovered.
    Den Teig mit der Schoko-Füllung bestreichen. Die Teigränder bleiben dabei frei.
  • Then roll up the rectangle and cut the dough roll in half lengthways.
    Dann wird das Rechteck aufgerollt und die Teigrolle wird der Länge nach halbiert.
  • Twist the two halves of the dough rolls together a few times and place in a greased loaf tin*.
    Die beiden Hälften der Teigrollen werden ein paar Mal mit einander verschlungen und in eine gefettete Kastenform gelegt.
  • Brush the surface with (oat) milk and leave to rest at room temperature for two to three hours.
    Oberfläche mit Hafermilch bestreichen und über Nacht in den Kühlschrank stellen.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees using a steam tray consisting of a stainless steel oven dish* and lava stones* and bake the babka for about 20 minutes with steam and 20 minutes without steam until golden brown.
  • For the glaze, mix the sugar with hot water.
  • Immediately after baking, brush the warm glaze generously onto the hot babka with a pastry brush.
    Direkt nach dem Backen die warme Glasur mit einem Backpinsel großzügig auf die heiße Babka streichen.
  • Leave the babka to cool* in the tin* for about 30 minutes.
Keyword brunch recipe, easy, no yeast, with sourdough

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The perfect sourdough babka

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I’m Theresa and I bake – preferably with sourdough. I share my favorite recipes with you on my blog Krümelig.

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