I’ve been making versions of Babka for years. It’s very similar to a Romanian staple – cozonac. I shared the recipe for a traditional cozonac, which is very similar to Babka, both in ingredients and how it is made, in a braid. Furthermore, I shared the recipe passed down in my family, from my great-grandmother (maybe it’s older than this, but I don’t know).
According to wikipedia, babka is a sweet braided bread or cake which originated in the Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine. It is popular in Israel and in the Jewish diaspora. It is an enriched dough filled with chocolate. I will make babka again because it differs from the Romanian cozonac, so I will alternate between these two.
Unlike the versions of cozonac I shared, this babka is vegan. We are having a mainly vegan diet. The dough doesn’t need the eggs, as you can see. As for dairy, changing the butter and milk with vegan alternatives is very simple. My mother used to put oil in cozonac instead of butter and that works great, as I saw over the years.
Ingredient for 1 loaf of Babka:
– 450g strong white flour
– 300ml soy milk at room temperature
– 100g sugar
– 10g Easy bake yeast
– 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
– 25g vegan butter
– 50g vegan butter (for the filling)
– 100g dark chocolate
Make the dough using a stand mixer, if you have one. Put the flour in the mixer bowl and make a well. Add the yeast, the sugar, the milk, the vanilla paste, and the butter. Start to mix at the lowest speed, then increase the speed to 2, when the ingredients start to incorporate. Leave it to knead for about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, oil a bowl. When the dough is ready, put it in the oiled bowl, cover it with a tea towel, and leave to rise for 45 minutes to an hour. The dough should double in size.
Meanwhile, put the remaining vegan butter and the dark chocolate in a glass bowl and heat it in the microwave until it melts, taking it off and stirring with a spoon to homogenise the mixture. You can use a Bain-Marie if you want to. Leave to cool.
When the dough has risen, flip it onto the floured worktop. Flatten it with your hands or using a rolling pin. I prefer using my hands as it will not remove as many air bubbles from it. Spread the chocolate on top, as evenly as you can. Roll the dough, cut it in half lengthwise, and make a braid. Put the braid in an oiled bread baking tray. Leave to rise again for 20 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven at 200C or 180C for fan ovens. Put the babka in the oven and leave to bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check to see if it’s baked. You can flip the babka front-to-back so it bakes evenly.
When baked, take it out of the oven, transfer it onto a cooling rack and leave it for 30 minutes or so to cool completely. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate, vegan, of course.