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A favourite from the Waitrose Kitchen magazine test kitchen
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
150g dark brown soft sugar
10g easy bake yeast
125ml whole milk
3 eggs, beaten
150g unsalted butter, softened
CHOCOLATE NUT SPREAD
200g blanched hazelnuts, roasted
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), finely chopped
100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
150ml whole milk
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp honey
1. Mix the flour, salt and 75g sugar in a large bowl; make a well in the centre and add the yeast. Warm the milk to just before boiling, then pour into the well, followed by the eggs; mix together to a smooth dough. Gradually knead in the butter with your hands – it will be become quite sticky but will eventually stiffen up. (Or mix everything in a freestanding mixer with the dough hook for 6-8 minutes, until smooth). Cover with cling film and leave for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4. Roast the hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes until golden. For the chocolate nut spread, blend 150g hazelnuts, 100g dark chocolate and the remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth (if made in advance it will thicken, so add a splash of milk to loosen). Roughly chop the remaining nuts.
3. Knock the dough back, then roll on a well-floured surface to a 60cm x 40cm rectangle. Spread the chocolate nut spread over the dough, then scatter with the reserved hazelnuts and chopped dark chocolate. Roll up tightly like a swiss roll, starting from one of the shorter sides.
4. Trim the ends and halve lengthways using a floured knife. Tightly twist the 2 strips over each other so that the filling faces outwards. Shape into a round, pressing the 2 ends together, and lay on a parchment-lined baking tray. (See page 93 for step-by-step, illustrated instructions.) Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden; cover with foil after 30 minutes if it browns too quickly. Put the remaining 75g sugar in a small pan with 75ml water; boil for 2 minutes, until syrupy. Brush ½ the syrup over the babka, then leave for 15 minutes and repeat with the remaining syrup. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
FYI: Babka means grandmother in Polish, and this traditional Eastern European bake conjures up a sense of family, celebration and sharing.
This recipe first appeared in Waitrose Kitchen magazine. myWaitrose members can download the Waitrose Kitchen app edition for FREE. Find out more.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in February 2015.