Sourdough Chocolate Babka Recipe

A delicious Chocolate Babka Recipe made with a sourdough starter. A rich brioche dough swirled with a creamy chocolate or hazelnut, sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. So good you will want to eat it for breakfast, snack or even dessert.

Babka bread on a wire rack with hazelnut cream in a jar with a spoon.

During the past year, I like almost half the world got onto the sourdough band wagon. I was actually a bit into it quite a few years ago so I thought this would be the perfect time to jump back in.

From making a simple basic Sourdough starter I learned to make bread, specialty breads and of course how to use the starter discard. You will need some extra time to make this Babka Recipe but it will definitely be worth the wait.

What is Babka

Babka means “little grandmother” in Slavic. It is a sweet dense yeast cake/bread with Jewish roots. It is usually made with a chocolate or cinnamon sugar filling. Twisted and braided, it is traditionally served on Easter Sunday although it can also be served during other times of festivities.

3 slices of babka bread on a wire rack.

Recipe Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – Flour adds structure and strength.
  • Sourdough Starter – I used my basic Sour Dough Starter
  • Granulated Sugar – Adds sweetness to the bread.
  • Salt – Helps add flavour.
  • Eggs – Adds fat and moisture to the dough.
  • Butter – Adds needed fat to the dough and helps make it soft and rich.
  • Milk – Also adds fat and moisture to the dough.

Filling

  • Hazelnut Cream Filling – Also known as Nutella but you make your own if you prefer.
  • Chocolate Filling – If you prefer this instead of Nutella.
  • Nuts – Adds a crunchy delicious taste to the bread.
  • Chocolate Chips – You can never have too much chocolate! It gives the Babka a rich and intense flavor.

What other fillings to use

If you prefer a Cinnamon Sugar filling, you can spread some soft butter on the dough, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and some chopped nuts if you wish, a chocolate ganache, chopped fruit or dried fruit would also work, try not to use anything too watery or it will make the baked loaf soggy.

What should the texture of Babka be?

Babka is considered an in-between a sweet yeast bread and a cake. It’s a braided rich dough containing a sticky and gooey filling made up of cinnamon or chocolate layers. Babka should taste decadent, soft but also a bit dry.

How to make it

In the stand up mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, sourdough starter, sugar, salt, eggs and milk. Knead for about 10 minutes, let the dough rest.

The ingredients in the mixing bowl and kneaded until combined.

Add the butter a little at a time, continue to knead between each addition. Then knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth but still a little sticky.

Adding the butter a little at a time & kneaded in.

Leave the dough covered in warm draft free area for about 2 hours, then refrigerate over night.

Dough in a glass bowl, rested and after refrigeration.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into into a rectangle. Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, spread with your favourite Hazelnut Cream Spread (Nutella) or Chocolate Cream Spread, leaving a bit of a border, sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips if desired.

Babka dough rolled and spread with chocolate cream and sprinkled with nuts & chips.

Roll the dough up lengthwise, then cut the rolled dough in half lengthwise.

Dough rolled and cut in half.

Twist it to form a braid.

The babka dough twisted to form a braid.

The braid is quite long so you can cut it in half and make two loaves or place it in a bundt, tube pan or pie dish and join the ends. Cover the pan and let rise in a warm draft free area until doubled in bulk.

The babka dough in a pie plate before and after rising.

Brush the risen dough with an egg wash and bake in the pre-heated oven until golden. Move the Babka immediately to wire rack to cool before serving.

Babka bread after baking in the pie plate.

What is a sourdough starter?

A sourdough starter also known as a Levain is a combination of flour. All purpose, bread, rye or even whole wheat flours are often used along with water. Together they attract the wild yeast that is in the air and surroundings. After about 6-8 days it becomes strong enough to produce breads and other baked goods, such as this Babka Bread.

How to feed the sourdough starter

To start baking with your refrigerated starter, first remove the Starter from the fridge there will probably be no activity since it is dormant, if there is liquid on top then either remove or stir into the starter either way be sure to stir the starter, then leave ½ cup (120 grams) of starter in the jar, discard the remainder, then add 1 cup (125 grams) of flour (all purpose, unbleached) and ½ cup (125 grams) water.

Stir well, cover lightly and place at room temperature for 12 hours then repeat the feeding, until it has almost tripled in volume. Make sure once your starter has risen to it’s peak it stays there for 3-4 hours that means it is strong enough to leaven the bread, if it peaks but only stays for an hour or so it is not strong enough, repeat the feeding.

Sourdough starter before and after feeding.

Remove the amount you need for your recipe, then feed the remaining starter, leave it at room temperature for about 1-2 hours then refrigerate. Repeat as above whenever you wish to make fresh bread.

Babka bread on wire rack, with hazelnut spread in a jar.

Tips for making the Best Babka

  • Don’t start the bread or any sourdough bread unless you have the time to prepare and wait for it to rise.
  • Make sure your sourdough starter is active, depending how long your starter has been refrigerated you it may need a couple of feedings.
  • Make sure to have your ingredients at room temperature.
  • When you fill the dough, be sure to use a filling that isn’t too watery, that will end up making a soggy dough.
  • Be sure to cool the bread on a wire rack, this also prevents a soggy dough.
  • When cutting the bread dampen your knife after every cut, that way it won’t stick to the bread.
A slice of bread on a black plate.

How to store it

As most homemade breads, Babka will be best consumed the same day, but it will last once it is cooled completely, stored in an air tight container or wrapped in plastic at room temperature. It should keep for up to three days

How to freeze it

To freeze the bread, make sure it has cooled completely then wrap it in plastic wrap then either wrap again in foil or place in a freezer safe bag or container. It will keep for up to a month in the freezer.

I hope the next time you reach for your sourdough starter, you give this tasty Chocolate Babka Recipe a try and be sure to let me know what you think of it. Enjoy!

Babka bread on wire rack, with hazelnut spread in a jar.

More Delicious Sourdough Recipes

Babka bread on wire rack, with hazelnut spread in a jar.

Sourdough Chocolate Babka Recipe

Rosemary Molloy
A delicious Chocolate Babka Recipe made with a sourdough starter. A rich brioche dough swirled with a creamy chocolate spread, chocolate chips & nuts.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Rising/Chilling Time 11 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Eastern European
Servings 2 loaves
Calories 1770 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • cups all purpose flour (325 grams)
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon active sourdough starter (see post for instructions)** (125 grams)
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt*
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ cup + ½ tablespoon butter (softened) (120 grams)
  • cup + 1½ tablespoons milk (I used 2%)(room temperature) (100 grams)

*If using unsalted butter then add ¾-1 teaspoon.

    EXTRAS

    • ½-1 cup Nutella or Chocolate Spread (294 grams)
    • ¼-½ cup coarsely chopped nuts (38-75 grams)
    • ¼-½ cup chocolate chips (42-85 grams)

    EGG WASH

    • 1 large egg
    • 1-2 tablespoons water

    Instructions
     

    • In the stand up mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, sourdough starter, sugar, salt, eggs and milk. Knead for about 10 minutes, let the dough rest, then add the butter a little at a time, continue to knead between each addition. Then knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth but still a little sticky. Leave the dough covered in warm draft free area for about 2 hours, then refrigerate over night.
    • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll on a floured flat surface into into a rectangle (10×18 inches/25x45cm), about ¼ inch thick. Spread with your favourite store bought or homemade Hazelnut Cream Spread (Nutella) or Chocolate Cream Spread, be sure to leave a bit of a border (½ inch/ 1 cm) sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips if desired.
    • Grease and flour 2 loaf pans (8-9 inches/ 20-22cm), a bundt or tube pan (9½ inch / 24cm) or a pie dish (8-9 inches / 20-22cm).
    • Roll the dough up lengthwise, then cut the dough in half again lengthwise, twist it to form a braid. The braid is quite long so you can cut it in half and make two loaves or place it in a the prepared pan and join the ends.
    • Cover the pan and let rise in a warm draft free area until doubled in bulk, approximately 3-6 hours.
    • Pre-heat oven to 375F (190C).
    • Brush the risen dough with an egg wash and bake 25 minutes, lower the oven to 350F (180C) and continue to bake 5-10 minutes or until golden. Move the Babka immediately to wire rack to cool before serving. Enjoy!

    EGG WASH

    • In a small bowl beat together the egg and water.

    Notes

    For room temperature ingredients, remove from the fridge 30-60 minutes before using.
    Babka will be best consumed the same day, but it will last once it is cooled completely, stored in an air tight container or wrapped in plastic at room temperature. It should keep for up to three days.
    To freeze the bread, make sure it has cooled completely then wrap it in plastic wrap then either wrap again in foil or place in a freezer safe bag or container. It will keep for up to a month in the freezer.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 1770kcalCarbohydrates: 201gProtein: 35gFat: 91gSaturated Fat: 37gPolyunsaturated Fat: 21gMonounsaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 286mgSodium: 1282mgPotassium: 720mgFiber: 10gSugar: 61gVitamin A: 2480IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 226mgIron: 12mg
    Keyword babka made with sourdough, chocolate babka, sourdough chocolate babka
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    4 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Wonderful babka! We made ours with Nutella and a little bit of chocolate chips, followed the recipe exactly and it came out delicious! Definitely will make again.

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