Bon Appétit calls this the next cronut, I say this is my new BFF. This fluffy morsel is a hybrid between braided Challah and Eastern European babka. Only time will tell if the hipsters’ non-prescription glasses will fog up with trend envy, but for now, you NEED to make this.
No offense to the magazine (one of my personal favorites at that), but the chocolate version looked gross and burnt. So what did the inner squirrel in me do?? ADD NUTS… and lots of them! I have gone NUTS for this Babkallah. Literally, this thing is crack…. I can’t stop!!!! It’s like an oversized, braided version of pecan pie.
You can get the recipe here.
I followed everything except I substituted in toasted, finely chopped pecans for the bittersweet chocolate. Well, and a few other variations…
- Measure out sugar and add a pinch to the warm milk-yeast mixture. I don’t know why they excluded this…. Yeast feeds on sugar so adding it is the best way to see if your yeast is alive and healthy. You can kill your yeast with the wrong temperature liquid, I’ve done it before. Take out the thermometer, be patient, and feed your fungi some SUGAH! YES, YEAST are LIVING EUKARYOTIC ORGANISMS, don’t believe me? Look it up Bill Nye.
- Let dough autolyse, or rest, for 5-10 before kneading.
- Turn loaf 180° halfway through cooking. Check after 30 minutes, not much more. They suggest anywhere from 35-45 minutes of baking, mine was perfect after 33 minutes.
One last thing, kneading this dough was odd. At first it felt like I was kneading pie dough, but as the gluten developed, the dough softened substantially. The Challah will not feel as smooth and supple as say basic sweet dough, but it will work. Follow your instincts, when your dough starts telling you it’s ready, it is. Don’t PANIC, usually right when you are about to give up, it suddenly comes together.
After it doubled….
Freshly baked…..(are you?)
If there is some left, French toast in the morning??? Bread Pudding for dessert??? Oh just daydreaming over here……