The May 2021 Bake Off Box challenge was a chocolate and hazelnut babka – a sweet plaited brioche bread filled with homemade chocolate spread and toasted hazelnuts!
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This month’s Bake Off Box contained ingredients to help me make a chocolate and hazelnut babka! I was a little nervous about trying this one as I’ve not made babka before, but I’m really glad this box gave me the opportunity to try it as it was fun to make!
(This is not a sponsored/affiliate post so I don’t get anything for sharing this blog post – it’s just me sharing my experience!).
THE MAY 2021 BAKE OFF BOX CONTENTS
This month my box contained the following:
- Recipe card
- Pre-measured dry ingredients for the recipe (I needed to supply oil, butter, salt, eggs and milk)
- A blue coated 900g/2lb loaf tin
MAY 2021 BAKE OFF BOX: CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT BABKA
I enjoyed making a different kind of bread recipe from what I’m used to, such as my Simple White Cob Loaf or Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia. Babka is a sweet, braided brioche bread and the combination of chocolate and hazelnut is a winner for me! You’ll need a 2lb/900g loaf tin to make this recipe.
I’ve typed up the full recipe and instructions (recipe created by The Great British Bake Off, not myself) – you can find it at the bottom of this post!
BAKE OFF BOX CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT BABKA: MY VERDICT
Having not made brioche bread before, I don’t have much to compare this to. I really liked the flavour and texture of the bread, and would definitely make it again! I enjoyed the process of creating the plaited loaf and seeing it rise in the tin. The pattern created inside by plaiting the dough is pretty too 😊
One step I found really strange and unfamiliar was the process of kneading the butter into the babka dough. I was convinced I’d done something wrong as the dough became so soft and messy from the butter! However, I stuck with it and kept kneading until the butter eventually incorporated into the dough. So don’t panic on this step like I did!
Overall I really enjoyed this month’s box and feel inspired to create a brioche or Babka recipe of my own soon!
Baker Jo bread recipes to try:
- Simple White Tin Loaf
- Simple White Cob Loaf
- Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
- Bacon, Cheese and Spring Onion Soda Bread
- Classic Irish Soda Bread
The Bake Off Box: Chocolate and Hazelnut Babka
- Scales and a measuring jug
- Non-stick baking or greaseproof paper
- Baking tray
- Large sharp knife
- Small saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- 2 small bowls
- 2 large mixing bowls
- Clean tea towel
- Rolling Pin
- Pastry brush
- Wire cooling rack
- 50 g blanched hazelnuts
- 75 g unsalted butter
- 110 g caster sugar
- 60 g dark chocolate chopped
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 275 g plain flour plus 25g for dusting
- 6 g fast-action dried yeast
- 25 g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 2 medium eggs
- 50 ml whole milk
- 80 g unsalted butter cut into 1cm cubes, at room temperature
- 100 g caster sugar
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6. Use a little oil to grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin (23cm long), then line the base and ends with a strip of baking paper, leaving an overhang at each end. Set aside.
- Tip the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and bake for 4-5 minutes, tossing halfway through, until toasted. Remove from the oven, tip out onto a chopping board and leave to cool (about 5 minutes).
- Once cool, use a large, sharp knife to finely chop half the hazelnuts and roughly chop the remaining half. Set aside.
- Place the 75g of butter, 110g of caster sugar and the chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat. Melt everything together very slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth (about 5 minutes).
- Pour the chocolate mixture into a small bowl and stir in the cocoa powder. Leave to cool and thicken slightly while you make the dough.
- Tip 275g of the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the 25g of sugar and the salt to the other side. Crack the eggs into a separate small bowl, add the milk and beat together with a fork.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the egg and milk mixture.
- Using a table knife, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a flaky dough.
- Tip out the dough onto a work surface and bring it together with your hands. Knead it for 5-8 minutes, until smooth.
- Pat the dough into a rough 15cm round and add 4 or 5 cubes of butter to the centre. Fold the dough over the butter and knead to incorporate. Repeat, kneading well between each addition, until you have used all 80g of the butter and have a soft, slightly sticky dough.
- Once you have added all the butter, continue to knead through the sticky stage, until you have a ball of smooth, silky, shiny dough.
- Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place the dough inside, cover with a clean tea towel and leave at room temperature to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Tip out the risen dough onto a work surface, pat it down and press out the air all over with your fingertips.
- Sprinkle some of the remaining 25g of flour over your work surface (you may not need it all), place the dough on top and, using a rolling pin, roll it out to about a 30 x 35cm rectangle.
- Using the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate mixture over the dough, leaving a 1cm border around the edges. Sprinkle both the roughly and the finely chopped hazelnuts evenly over the top.
- Using your hands, roll up the dough tightly, keeping the seam underneath as you finish. Turn the roll through 90° to position it vertically on the work surface, like a clock hand pointing to the 12 o'clock.
- Trim about 2cm off each end and discard the trimmings. Using the large knife and starting at the end of the roll farthest from you, cut through the middle, down the full length, dividing the roll into two long pieces.
- Turn each piece so that the cut side faces upwards. Gently press the top ends of the two halves together to seal. Then, lift the right half over the left half followed by the left half over the right half, repeating the process to make a two-stranded plait. When you get to the bottom, gently press the bottom ends together to seal.
- Carefully lift the plait into the prepared loaf tin, squishing the length to fit if necessary, and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise again at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until puffed up and doubled in size.
- Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas 5. Once the babka has risen, bake it for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 170°C/150°C fan/Gas 3 and bake for a further 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tin on a wire rack while you make the syrup.
- Pour 100ml of water into a small pan. Add the remaining 100g of sugar and place over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to a syrup. Remove from the heat and leave to cool (about 10 minutes).
- Brush the syrup over the warm babka, then leave in the tin to cool completely. Use the overhanging baking paper to remove the babka from the tin, peel away the paper and serve.