All you need in this life is a fresh slab of bread slathered with a generous helping of chocolate. Every school-aged child in France grows up with a 4 o’clock gouter, made even more decades in the cold months when a chocolat chaud is provided for dunking.
1packetActive dry yeast7g
2-¾cupAll purpose flour 330g (OR 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 white whole wheat flour)
2eggs whisked, for egg wash
Mix it all together.
Place the milk, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand.
Add the flour, eggs and yolks and salt and mix for about 6 minutes with the dough hook.
Check for a windowpane and add the butter until incorporated.
Cover the dough and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To shape, first flour your work table and a rolling pin. Grab your babka filling and a spreading spatula or spoon.
At this stage, you can choose to either make one large babka (in a 10″ round cake pan or large loaf pan) or split the dough into two smaller babkas in regular rectangular loaf pans. Line the loaf pans with parchment paper.
Roll out the dough into one large rectangle (about 10″x15″) or two smaller ones. The rectangle should be wider from side to side. Spread the babka filling everywhere except the last 1″ on the top of the rectangle. Roll the rectangle up in a tight log and pinch the naked edge up into the exposed dough.
Divide the roll in two and twist them together. Place the dough into your pan(s). Proof at room temperature for about 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 375F. Brush the top of the loave(s) with egg wash. Place in the oven and turn the heat down to 350F immediately. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the bread cool for at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
I haven’t grown out of this custom (though these days we indulge a little earlier in the day, and with Ruth’s craft chocolate bars), but I have graduated to making a few loaves of chocolate-infused babkas. These loaves are a marvel in snack engineering, ensuring that every bite is chock full of creamy chocolate swirls. Have a delicious time perfecting your brioche and rolling your chocolate dreams up into it!