Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chocolate Babka ,The Best Jerry!

Today is my first full day of work and cooking. I still can't taste without it tasting like soap, but I am thrilled to be back at my normal routine. Ok, everyone that knows me, knows I LOVE Seinfeld. One of my favorite episodes is "The Dinner Party". I re-watched this episode last night and was inspired to try making a chocolate Babka. The infamous cake that Elaine fought over in the bakery prior to the dinner party. Elaine always cracks me up. Babka is a Jewish tradition cake/bread is made from a doubled and twisted length of yeast dough and is typically baked in a high loaf pan. Instead of a fruit filling the dough contains cinnamon or chocolate. So after watching Elaine throw her fit over not getting the Chocolate Babka for the 1,000th time, I decided I better make one.
Here is the process I used:
Chocolate Babka
For dough
3/4 cup warm milk (105–115°F)
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
2 whole large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

For egg wash
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk

For chocolate filling
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, well softened
8oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar

Pour warm milk bread machine and add 2 teaspoons of the sugar and 3 tsp active dry yeast.
Stir with your spoon to mix. Then add flour, whole eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and start the dough cycle on your bread machine.
After dough rises assemble babkas with filling, you can either use 2 loaf pans, or make 2 loafs and put them in a lasagne pan. My bread pan is busy, so I am using the lasagne pan.
Line each loaf pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper (1 lengthwise and 1 crosswise).
Punch down dough with a lightly oiled rubber spatula, then halve dough. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 18- by 10-inch rectangle and arrange with a long side nearest you.

Beat together yolk and cream. Spread 2 1/2 tablespoons softened butter on dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Brush some of egg wash on long border nearest you.

Sprinkle half of chocolate evenly over buttered dough, then sprinkle with half of sugar (2 tablespoons). Starting with long side farthest from you, roll dough into a snug log, pinching firmly along egg-washed seam to seal. Bring ends of log together to form a ring, pinching to seal. Twist entire ring twice to form a double figure 8 and fit into one of lined loaf pans.

Make another babka with remaining dough, some of egg wash, and remaining butter and chocolate in same manner. Loosely cover pans with buttered plastic wrap (buttered side down) and let babkas rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of pans, 1 to 2 hours. I sprinkled one with sugar, the other with chocolate.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Brush tops of dough with remaining egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (when loaves are removed from pans), about 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack and cool to room temperature.

I understand now why Elaine threw a fit about the chocolate Babka. They are THE BEST JERRY!!!!!!!