BABKA

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I’ve wanted to bake this recipe for BABKA since the first night I sat down with Rose Levy Beranbaum’s latest Baking Book:

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While she list several options for filling the BABKA, an Almond Filling, an Apricot and Cream Cheese Schmear Filling, I am always partial to bittersweet chocolate, so I choose the Chocolate Almond Schmear Filling option.

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as 25 Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week I did NOT cheat and I followed the recipe as written.

We first began with a dough starter or a sponge.

Mise en Place for the dough starter

Mise en place for the dough starter

There was quite the controversy over the volume measurement of the King Arthur’s Baker’s Special nonfat dry milk vs. other brands; most Alpha Bakers stated that they used Carnation dry milk – as did I.  This type of clarification is one of the things I so enjoy in working with the other Alpha Bakers during the baking of recipes from The Baking Bible; we support each other fearlessly and offer advise as we are able.  Thank you Alpha Bakers!

The nonfat dry milk and flour were weighted for volume measurements and the water was added per the temperature range indicated in the recipe

The nonfat dry milk and flour were weighted for volume measurements and the water was added per the temperature range indicated in the recipe

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After the sponge was made, we covered it to allow the gasses from the yeast to begin to bloom, while making the flour blanket

Mise en place for the flour blanket

Mise en place for the flour blanket

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After the flour blanket had rested to ferment for 24 hours, the other ingredients were added using the dough hook attachment to create our first rise. The dough is measured to gauge when it reaches the doubling phase

After the flour blanket had rested to ferment for 24 hours, the other ingredients were added using the dough hook attachment to create our first rise. The dough is measured to gauge when it reaches the doubling phase

The glass measure is marked to indicate when the dough will reach the first rise, doubling in size

The glass measure is marked to indicate when the dough will reach the first rise, doubling in size

First rise complete. The dough is then deflated and allowed to rise again refrigerated for another 24 hour period; or up to it...

First rise complete. The dough is then deflated and allowed to rise again refrigerated for another 24 hour period; or up to it…

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Butter was cut into 28 cubes and placed in the wrapper on a thin plate on top of a 400 degree oven; Again, everyone joined in the conversation as to various methods for bringing butter to room temperature at fast rates

Butter was cut into 28 cubes and placed in the wrapper on a thin plate on top of a 400 degree oven; Again, everyone joined in the conversation as to various methods for bringing butter to room temperature at fast rates

Nancy takes advantage of her stone counter tops as items placed on the counter will find equilibrium temperature with the stones temperature.  Per Nancy, “… butter gets soft quickly without needing to add heat and risk melting. ”  Please visit Nancy’s blog at: Bread&Cake&More

Both Vicki Granny and Hanaa The Baker prefer the microwave method.  Per Hanna, “… I always use the ‘power level’ feature of my microwave. I used it just this past weekend to bring frozen butter to room temp. It takes a few minutes and patience but it works great. I start with 90 second at power level 1 or 10 (it means 10% power). And then I turn the stick of butter to a different side and repeat.

Please visit Vicki Granny’s blog at: Heavenly Cake Walk

and please visit Hanaa’s food blog at: Hanaa’s Kitchen

Peggy, who lives in Singapore, doesn’t have any problem bringing butter to room temperature as the climate is so hot, …” I usually don’t have this problem since butter soften less than 5 minutes on my counter top…and melts if i leave it longer. But even so, I always cut my butter into cubes so it soften faster..(cos I always do the fridge to the mixing bowl right away). Sometimes if I can’t even wait 1 minute, then I will use microwave, but microwave 2-3 seconds interval.”

Please visit Peggy Peg’s food blog at: diary of Faithy, the baker

See, isn’t the support for each other amazing!

Again, Thank you Alpha Bakers!

Mise en place for the Chocolate Almond Schmear Filling

Mise en place for the Chocolate Almond Schmear Filling

The filling called for cake crumbs; another discussion… I decided on Double Chocolate Cup Cakes for this portion as I didn’t have time to bake a cake for crumbs and well, why not?

I am bringing the egg to room temperature by using one of Rose’s recommendations; I place the cold egg in HOT water for about 5 minutes and it’s ready by the time my mise en place is collected.

The cupcakes and chocolate were measured for volume

The cupcakes and chocolate were measured for volume

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Let’s don’t mention the “Missing Cup Cake”  As Anne Burrell always says, “Quality Control….”HE HE

Bittersweet Chocolate chopped, Cup cake is crumbled and Almond Paste is measured

Bittersweet Chocolate chopped, Cup cake is crumbled and Almond Paste is measured

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Chocolate is melted, and all remaining ingredients, except the chocolate are added and processed until a smooth consistency is reached.

Chocolate is melted, and all remaining ingredients, except the chocolate are added and processed until a smooth consistency is reached.

After cooling, the chocolate is added and mixed well. At this stage, I would love to take these ingredients further and create a chocolate pudding using these ingredients as a base....but I digress...

After cooling, the chocolate is added and mixed well. At this stage, I would love to take these ingredients further and create a chocolate pudding using these ingredients as a base….but I digress…

All of my Classic American Bundt Pans seemed too small for this recipe so I looked and found my Mother's ceramic Classic American Bundt Pan that I've actually never used before. What a delight, her memory lives on though Rose, the Alpha Bakers any my good fortune...

All of my Classic American Bundt Pans seemed too small for this recipe so I looked and found my Mother’s ceramic Classic American Bundt Pan that I’ve actually never used before. What a delight, her memory lives on though Rose, the Alpha Bakers any my good fortune…

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The Chocolate filling was supposed to sit at room temperature for an hour and the dough was to come out of refrigeration for at lease 30 minutes in order to become malleable. So I cut the time for the chocolate filling and placed it covered in the refrigerator while allowing the dough to warm on the counter

The Chocolate filling was supposed to sit at room temperature for an hour and the dough was to come out of refrigeration for at lease 30 minutes in order to become malleable. So I cut the time for the chocolate filling and placed it covered in the refrigerator while allowing the dough to warm on the counter

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The dough was rolled but I had chosen to use a pastry cloth instead of the counter. I was worried that the large mass of dough would stick to the counter, even if floured and I thought the pastry cloth was safer; the cloth however didn't allow the full measurements indicated in the recipe; I will explain my solution below

The dough was rolled but I had chosen to use a pastry cloth instead of the counter. I was worried that the large mass of dough would stick to the counter, even if floured and I thought the pastry cloth was safer; the cloth however didn’t allow the full measurements indicated in the recipe; I will explain my solution below

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Using a cleaned and sanitized fuller for support, we rolled the dough from the top using the ruler to pull up the dough and then a pastry brush to remove any flour during each roll

Using a cleaned and sanitized ruler for support, we rolled the dough from the top using the ruler to pull up the dough and then a pastry brush to remove any flour during each roll

The continuation of the rolling process using the ruler

The continuation of the rolling process using the ruler

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Almost finished...

Almost finished…

The top and bottom ends are pinched to form a seal, then flattened out. The seal is placed up in the bundt pan; well at least that was the plan

The top and bottom ends are pinched to form a seal, then flattened out. The seal is placed up in the bundt pan; well at least that was the plan

While carefully picking up the rolled dough and placing it in the prepared bundt pan, it was VERY clear that the roll was not long enough to fill the ring; My quick thinking solution was to lift the ring vertically and hold it with one hand while pressing into the roll with the other which stretched and elongated the rolled dough to fit the entire span of the ring. Rose had indicated that the dough would overlap by about two inches; I did not have this problem. The dough then was pressed down to form an even layer; My dough was about 2 full inches from the top of the prepared bundt pan

While carefully picking up the rolled dough and placing it in the prepared bundt pan, it was VERY clear that the roll was not long enough to fill the ring; My quick thinking solution was to lift the ring vertically and hold it with one hand while pressing into the roll with the other which stretched and elongated the rolled dough to fit the entire span of the ring. Rose had indicated that the dough would overlap by about two inches; I did not have this problem. The dough then was pressed down to form an even layer; My dough was about 2 full inches from the top of the prepared bundt pan

The dough was placed in a warming environment for the final rise

The dough was placed in a warming environment for the final rise

Unveiled, the dough has risen to the top of the bundt pan as per the recipe instructions

Unveiled, the dough has risen to the top of the bundt pan as per the recipe instructions

In order to facilitate a nice, golden brown crust, 1/2 cup of ice cubes were tossed into a prepared pan sitting on the base of the oven, to produce steam during the first 15 minutes of baking.  The bread was baked for 15 minutes then turned to ensure even baking and covered with aluminum foil to prevent over browning.  The bread was then left to bake for another 15 minutes; it wasn’t quite ready so I left it in the oven for an additional 10 minutes  until the desired internal temperature was achieved.

The HOUSE SMELLED SO WONDERFUL as the bread baked away.  I love the fact that I am a baker and an Alpha Baker!

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2 thoughts on “BABKA

  1. Tony, what a great looking Babka! The crust is the perfect color. I really like your bundt pan. I always have trouble with the heavy metal ones over baking things even when I take them out early. Good idea using cupcakes; making a note of that. This bread is so good it’s going on the make again list for holidays. So glad you’re feeling better.

    • Vicki, thank you SO much for your comments! I LOVED making this; I also LOVED your post on Facebook of the various BABKA’s out there; those look amazing and I am most definitely going to try them if I can find the recipes. The roll looks much tighter than our recipe here and the depth of flavor must be simply amazing; I wanted to use a cake crumb that was double chocolate and when I saw those cup cakes at The Fresh Market, I just snatched them up! I am feeling much better thank you; Migraines could take down the Jolly Green Giant!

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