Recipe: Chocolate Babka


We've had a bit of an argument in the SORTEDfood studio about Babka bread. It's such a rich, buttery dough that the end result is more like a cake. Laced with chocolate and cinnamon it's pretty darn impressive when you cut into it. We serve ours drizzled with a gorgeous sticky syrup studded with cloves. It's the perfect treat to serve alongside a cuppa when your mates pile into your kitchen.


For The Bread

  • 200 g strong white flour
  • 300 g plain flour
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 7 g dried instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 large eggs
  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For The Filling

  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g soft brown sugar
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

For The Syrup

  • 75 ml water
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 cloves
Make the Dough

Step 1

Make The Dough

Tip the flours into the bowl of a stand mixer. Tip the sugar and yeast into the bowl on one side, and the salt onto the other side. Zest in the lemon, scrape in the seeds from the vanilla pod and begin to mix with a dough hook. Add the eggs and the milk, whilst kneading gently, and continue to knead until the dough comes together. Add the softened butter, a little at a time, allowing it to incorporate (it will remain sticky).

Knead and Prove

Step 2

Knead And Prove

Knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Shape into a ball, cover and prove for 3 hours at room temperature, then another 1 hour in the fridge.

Make the Chocolate Spread

Step 3

Make The Chocolate Spread

Heat the butter, sugar and chocolate together in a microwave in 30 second blasts, until just melted into a smooth glossy mixture. Stir in the cocoa and cinnamon powders to make a spreadable paste, then leave to cool.

Roll out the Dough

Step 4

Roll Out The Dough

Lightly grease two loaf tins with the vegetable oil, then line the bottoms with greaseproof paper. Divide the dough into two balls and leave one in the fridge. Generously dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a thin rectangle, roughly 30x25cm.

Fill and Roll

Step 5

Fill And Roll

Spread half of the chocolate mix over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Brush the far end of the sheet with a little water and, starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, finally sealing the damp edge. Transfer to a floured baking tray and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough and chocolate mix.

Slice and Shape

Step 6

Slice And Shape

Slice one of the dough cylinders in half lengthways and place two halves next to each other, cut side facing up. Pinch the two ends together and twist twice to form a helix, then transfer to one of the prepared loaf tins, folding into an ’S’ shape to fit it in. Repeat with the second half of the dough, then cover both loaves and leave to rise for another 2 hours at room temperature.


Step 7


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Uncover the tins and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the Syrup

Step 8

Make The Syrup

Tip the sugar, water and cloves into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the liquid thickens a little to a syrup. Scoop out the cloves with a spoon and discard.

Cool and Serve

Step 9

Cool And Serve

As soon as the loaves come out of the oven divide the syrup between the two tins. Leave to cool for 20 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before having a taste! Makes 2 loaves

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