advice on babka
if you are looking for a baking project with moderate effort and maximum reward give babka a try. it's not super complicated but just requires a bit of forethought for rising. if you live in nyc or any city you may have easy access to good babka. but i can't say i've found anything desirable in btv.
this is america in 2018
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pretty good advice and also a shoutout to burton luggage
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the way to go
used smitten kitchen's recipe but made a couple of tweaks
makes 2 babkas
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
zest of 1 small orange
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
canola oil or butter, for greasing
for the filling
4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
for the syrup
1/3 cup water
6 tablespoons sugar
to make the dough combine flour, sugar, yeast, and orange zest in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer. add eggs and 1/2 cup water, mixing with the dough hook until it comes together. about 3 minutes. the dough should form a big ball, if it doesn't add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. with mixer on low add salt and then butter, a little at a time. mix until it’s incorporated into the dough. then, mix on medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is smooth. scrape sides of bowl when needed. mix on medium until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl.
place dough inside of a large bowl that has been coated in oil. cover with a dishcloth and refrigerate overnight. dough should increase by about a third of size.
to make the filling melt butter and chocolate together until completely smooth. mix in powdered sugar and cocoa. set aside but don't let cool completely, needs to be slightly warm to spread easily.
to assemble babka loaves coat two 9"x4"inch loaf pans with canola oil or butter, and line the bottom of each with parchment paper. remove dough from fridge and cut ball in half, put one half back in bowl in fridge while you work with the other half on a floured counter surface. roll dough out to a 10 inch x 10 inch square.
spread half of slightly warm chocolate mixture as evenly as possible over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. with a pastry brush or finger brush the top edge with water (all the way across). roll the dough up from the bottom edge into a long tight log. with your fingers seal the dampened edge onto the log. place whole log onto a baking sheet in the freezer and chill for 15 minutes. repeat the whole process with the second half of the dough.
remove both logs from the freezer and slice 1 log in half lengthwise and lay on side, with cut side up. pinch the top ends together. and then twist the 2 sides together by lifting one side over the other, keeping chocolate sides up. secure the ends once you reach end of the log. place whole thing into prepared loaf pan. repeat with second log.
cover with a dishcloth and let rise one last time for at least an hour.
preheat oven to 375 degrees. place uncovered loaf pans on the middle rack of your oven. bake for 30 minutes, testing with a skewer and removing from oven when skewer comes out of babka clean.
make the simple syrup by simmering water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. let cool. once babka has cooled for about 15 minutes coat each loaf with half of the simple syrup. let cool another 5-10 minutes then dig in.