Chocolate-Pecan Babka



Ingredients

Brioche (yields 2 coffee cakes)
2 and 3/4 Cups Bread Flour
One .25 oz. packet instant dry yeast
2 large Eggs, room temperature
1/3 Cup Milk, room temperature
1 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
8 oz. Butter, soft but pliable
Egg wash, as needed

Chocolate Filling for Babka
4 oz Butter, softened
4 oz Light brown sugar
1 oz Flour, a/p
1 oz Cocoa powder
1 oz Honey
1 Egg ea., grade A large
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Directions

Brioche
1. Combine the flour and yeast in a bowl. Add the eggs, milk, sugar and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, then add the flour and yeast mixture. Mix with the dough hook attachment for 4 minutes, until the strong gluten development is evident.
2. With the mixer running on medium speed, gradually add the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The butter will take several minutes to incorporate. When completely mixed, the dough should become quite smooth and shiny.
3. Allow the dough to ferment for 30 to 40 minutes. Punch down and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the piece to a 10 by 12-inch rectangle, then place it on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 – 6 hours.

Chocolate Filling for Babka
Make the filling the day before needed.
1. In the bowl, mix the butter and sugar until light.
2. Add the flour, cocoa, honey and mix until completely combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
3. Add egg and vanilla and mix to incorporate
4. Refrigerate in a covered container until needed.

Babka make-up instructions
1. Bring the dough and the chocolate filling (recipe following) out and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to an 18” square piece. Spread the filling onto the bottom half of the dough piece, leaving a ½” border at bottom and sides. (If the filling is still too firm to spread, it can be warmed gently in the microwave or over a warm water bath until it is of spreadable consistency.)
3. Sprinkle pecan pieces over the filling and brush the edges with egg wash.
4. Fold the top edge of the dough down to the bottom, pressing down lightly to tighten, and sealing around the edges. Repeat folding, top to bottom until there is no more dough to fold over. At this point, cut the dough log in half crosswise, place seam side down on a sheet pan and refrigerate long enough to firm the dough and filling. (20 or 30 minutes – coffee break time!)
5. Prepare 2 - 4 x 8 x 3 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Remove dough logs from refrigerator and place on lightly floured surface, seam side down. Lightly press each piece to flatten it. Cut the dough into 3 strands, keeping the strands connected at the top with an uncut portion.
7. Braid the three dough strands together and pinch the ends tightly together.
8. Place the dough braids into the pre-greased bread pans and proof in a warm place, (85°F) covered with plastic until the dough is almost doubled in size and springs back slowly to the touch.
9. Bake in a 375°F oven for 40 minutes, to an internal temperature of 205°F. (if the loaves start to get too brown, they can be covered with parchment after about 25 minutes)
10. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes in the pan. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a rack. While still warm, the coffee cakes can be brushed lightly with a simple glaze and/or drizzled with melted chocolate.