This Chocolate Challah is a cross between Challah bread 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!
Chocolate Challah Bread
What could be better than fantastic challah bread? Perhaps when you slather the dough with a chocolate ganache and sprinkle it with a cocoa-butter-crumb topping!
Babka is an Eastern European yeast-risen coffee bread, often found in Polish and Jewish bakeries along with challah. This chocolate challah recipe is a delicious cross between the two. Instead of infused with a sticky syrup (babka) or topped with sesame seeds or poppy seeds (challah), this bread has a streusel-like topping. As you can imagine, it’s wonderful.
You’ll need just a handful of kitchen staples to make this bread recipe:
(To make this recipe, scroll down to the easy printable recipe card for all the measurements and details.)
- Flour: Simple all-purpose flour should be spooned and leveled, not scooped, when measuring.
- Dry yeast: Active dry yeast is needed in order for the bread to rise.
- Water: Lukewarm water is used to activate the yeast. The temperature should be around 110°F – warm to the touch, but not hot.
- Granulated sugar: Adds subtle sweetness to the dough.
- Eggs: This provides richness and structure to bind the dough.
- Unsalted butter: Adds richness and helps create a softer texture.
- Kosher salt: For flavor.
- For the filling: Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, unsalted butter, and chocolate chips.
- For the streusel topping: Flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, unsalted butter, and mini chocolate chips.
This sweet pillow-y yeast bread is wonderful slightly warm with a cup of coffee or tea. It has plenty of flavor to be enjoyed plain, but a little swipe of butter is nice too. Since you’ve got two loaves, use one of them to make chocolate challah french toast!
- Storing leftovers: Chocolate challah is best eaten 24 hours after baking, but you can store it on the counter for up to 3 days. Secure it tightly in plastic wrap, in a ziploc bag, or another airtight container to maintain freshness.
- To freeze: You can freeze an entire loaf or individual slices. Wrap it in both plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. It will keep in the freezer for 2 months. Thaw on the counter before enjoying.
More Jewish Food:
Chocolate Challah Bread
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 cup lukewarm water (around 110°F)
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar , divided
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled (plus more if needed)
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs , beaten
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter , melted
- vegetable oil (for greasing the bowl)
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 (for basting)
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and add the 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Let sit until a frothy layer develops on top; about 5-10 minutes. (If the yeast doesn’t foam, it isn’t good anymore. Toss it and start over.)
- 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 melted 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 shaggy dough is formed.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for about 6-8 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, work in a teaspoon of flour at a time until the dough is smooth, pliable, not wet, and holds a ball-shape.
- Lightly oil the inside of a large bowl. Place dough inside; cover with plastic wrap in a warm, draft-free place. Let rise until doubled in size, 60-90 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the filling: place the chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Whisk until smooth; stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder until incorporated and a spreadable paste is formed.
- Lightly coat 2, 9×5-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray, then line with parchment paper, leaving a couple inches of overhang on the long sides, for easy removal once baked. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough and cut in half with a bench scraper. Lightly dust the top of the dough and a rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough out to a 12×16-inch rectangle.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate filling on both rectangles all the way to the edges.
- Starting from the short side closest to you, using both hands, tightly roll the rectangle into a log, pressing to seal where the seam is.
- Cut each log in half lengthwise so you have 4 even halves with the filling exposed.
- Position the halves with the cut sides and chocolate layers facing up. Twist two halves together a few times, starting from the middle and gently pinching the ends together. Repeat with the other two halves.
- Gently transfer each braid to the prepared loaf pans, 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 1 hour.
- 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 with the rack in the center position.
- Brush both loaves all over 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 30-35 minutes until deep golden brown and and a skewer in the center comes out clean. (The very middle should register 190°F with an instant-read thermometer.)
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then using the parchment paper, lift out the loaves and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.