Sunday, December 14, 2014

Challah Challenge: Babkhallah

When I was visiting my sister in San Jose she had her latest issue of Bon Apetit on display on her coffee table.  I couldn't help but pick it up, and I'm certainly glad I did, because it brought me... Babkhallah

Now, I made this recipe twice.  Or I should say I attempted to make this recipe twice.  And both times the dough would not rise.  It says to leave it to rise for 1.5-2.5 hours, but it never got much bigger than the ball I started with.

I thought it was my yeast, I thought it was the heat, hence trying it twice.

In the end, still delicious, but I'd do a few things differently.


  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more

Filling and Assembly

  • 6 ounces bittersweet Semi-Sweet (at least!) chocolate, finely chopped
  • cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • All-purpose flour (for surface)
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

Make the dough like you would a normal Challah dough.  Proof the yeast with the milk, add the eggs and the butter together with the vanilla, then mix all wet ingredients.

Then mix the salt and the flour together with the sugar.  Mix Dry into wet, and form into a dough ball.  Knead for 5-10 minutes.  Here it says 'knead until not shiny' but I couldn't get that to work.

Here's the mess I was left with after putting together the dough...

And my eager helper, making it all possible :-)

Then you take the chocolate and chop it up really fine. Add it to the sugar, and cinnamon.  When the dough rises (remember, I couldn't get mine to rise at all!) then you roll it out into three long sections.  Spread on some butter, pour on the chocolate/cinnamon and press it down into the dough.  Roll the dough up, pressing the seams together.

Then braid the challah the way you normally would.  I had to stretch out the three sections a lot to get them to braid.  And the ends didn't really come together the way I would have liked.  Spread with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

It's supposed to be done with it's golden on top, and sounds hollow. I'm not sure about when it was supposed to be done, but I think it turned out gorgeous.

In the end it turned out a bit bitter in the chocolate for me.  It also fell apart into three different pieces, not really staying together when you slice it.

Would you try Babkhalla?

I will try it again, maybe with better chocolate.  Any other thoughts?

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