Chocolate and Hazelnut Babka
After seeing this recipe on Bake Off, I knew I wanted to give it a go. I had the luxury of time the day I made it, so I followed the recipe really carefully and took my time following each step meticulously. The recipe I used was Paul Hollywood's and I was really pleased with the result. The bread is light and fluffy. The chocolate is sweet and the nuts add lovely texture.
Ingredients for the filling:
65g blanched hazelnuts
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
80g dark chocolate
40g cocoa powder
Ingredients for the dough:
275g plain flour
25g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
80g butter, cubed and softened
Ingredients for the syrup:
100g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 200/180 fan.
2. Put the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Tip onto a chopping board, leave to cool, then roughly chop and set to one side. Turn off the oven.
3. To make the filling, place the butter, caster sugar and chocolate into a saucepan and melt together on a medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Transfer to a small bowl and leave on one side to thicken and cool.
4. To make the dough, put the flour in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the sugar and salt to the other.
5. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk and beaten eggs. Mix on a low speed until a dough starts to form.
6. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the butter, a little at a time. Make sure the butter is fully incorporated before adding more. Continue to knead the dough on a medium speed until you have a smooth, silky ball of dough. (This can take a little while!)
7. Lightly flour your worktop and roll the dough out into a 40cm x 30cm rectangle, with the longest side closest to you.
8. Leaving a 1cm border around the edge, spread the cooled chocolate mixture onto the dough. Sprinkle with the chopped toasted hazelnuts. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight spiral, leaving the seam underneath.
9. Trim 2cm off each end to neaten it up and then rotate the dough roll so that it is portrait rather than landscape on your worktop and the shortest end is closest to you.
10. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut down the middle of the roll, creating two equal pieces.
11. With the cut sides facing up, gently plait the two strands together, keeping it nice and tight all the way down. Gently press the bottom ends together to seal.
12. Carefully lift your dough into a greased and lined loaf tin. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
13. 15 minutes before the end of the proving time, preheat the oven to 190/170 fan.
14. When the babka has finished proving, bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 170/150 fan and bake for a further 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
15. While the babka is baking, make the syrup. Tip the sugar and 100ml of water in to a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to a simmer and, without stirring, leave for 5 minutes until syrupy, then leave to cool.
16. When the babka has finished baking, transfer it, still in the tin, to a wire rack and brush the hot babka with the cooled syrup. Leave it in the tin until warm enough to handle. Remove it from the tin and serve warm or at room temperature.