This Chocolate Challah Bread is a cross between Challah and Babka. A sweet yeast dough that is doubled and twisted, filled with a ganache, sprinkled with a streusel topping, basted with butter, then baked in a loaf pan to perfection!
If you would have told me a couple years ago how many rolls and how much bread I would be baking today, I would have laughed you out of my kitchen.
It’s happening pretty regularly, though. I’ve been going through so much yeast lately, I’ve graduated to from buying the packets to an actual container. It only took 47 years, but I definitely conquered my fear.
Ever heard of Babka? It’s an Eastern European yeast-risen coffee bread, often found in Polish and Jewish bakeries, which has like 20 steps and takes all day to make. It’s been on my bucket list for over a year, but kept getting shoved back into the files…because who has time for that?
So, I adapted my Challah to have a chocolate twist instead. Well, guess what? Still took all day! HA. But totally worth it, you guys! It’s amazing.
Really the only difference here is that my chocolate challah doesn’t have the sticky syrup that gets infused at the end. I might try that next time.
And there will be a next time. Haley’s 5th grade is hosting a cultural day at the end of the month and I’ve been “instructed” to bring something that represents our heritage. I can’t think of anything more perfect.
Chocolate Challah Bread
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm whole milk
- 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar , divided
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , plus more if needed
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs , beaten
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter , melted
FOR THE FILLING
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
FOR THE TOPPING
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter , melted
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and add the 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Let sit until a frothy layer develops on top; about 5-10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and butter. Mix together with a wooden spoon, pulling in a little flour at a time from the sides of the bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture. Mix to combine until a dough is formed.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well for about 5 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, work in a teaspoon of flour at a time until the dough is smooth, pliable, and not wet.
- Lightly butter the inside of a very large bowl. Place dough inside; cover with plastic wrap in a warm, draft-free place. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, re-cover and let rise in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- For the filling, place the chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and then 15 second intervals (if necessary) until melted. Whisk until smooth; stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder until incorporated and a spreadable paste is formed.
- On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough and cut in half with a bench scraper. Using a rolling pin, roll each half into a 12x16-inch rectangle.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate filling on both rectangles all the way to the edges.
- Starting from the long side, tightly roll each rectangle into a log that’s about 20-inches long. Cut each in half lengthwise.
- Twist the halves together a few times, starting from he middle and pinching the ends together, forming a rope.
- Gently transfer the braids to parchment-lined 9x5-inch loaf pans coated with cooking spray, pushing in the two ends so they fit. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise until double in size and pillowy, about another 30-60 minutes.
- Make the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar. Work in the butter with your fingers until coarse crumbs are formed. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush all over the challah with melted butter, making sure to get in the cracks and along the sides of the loaf. Sprinkle with the topping mixture.
- Bake for about 30-33 minutes until golden and a skewer in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Slice and enjoy!
adapted from my Challah Bread