Time: 1.5 days
Yield: 1 med loaf
This babka has a chocolate coconut almond filling, but you can use whatever filling you like!
Bread flour: 350g / 100%
100% hydration levain: 190g / 55%
Sugar: 70g / 20%
Salt: 7g / 2%
Milk: 70g / 26%
Water: 20g / 6%
Eggs: 100g / 29%, 2 large
Butter, cold room temp: 113g / 33%, 8 tbsp
Chocolate coconut almond filling:
Semi-sweet chocolate chips: 1 cup
Coconut oil: 2 tbsp
Sliced almonds: 1/4 cup
1 egg, dash of milk
Mix all ingredients EXCEPT for butter in standing mixer. Mix together on speed 2 for 4 min.
If wet, add flour 1 tbsp at a time. This dough should be sticky but not batter-like. If you added flour, scrape edges, turn on speed 2 for another 2 min.
Scrape edges, turn mixer on speed 4. Add butter 1 slice at a time until incorporated, about 6-7 min.
Turn on speed 6 for 2-3 min, until you see dough slapping at the sides.
Scrape edges, test gluten with window pane test. You likely won't have one at this stage, but if you do, skip to Step 7.
Continue mixing at speed 6 until dough becomes more cohesive. This dough takes a long time to develop strength - you will likely be mixing for 18-20 min.
Put in greased bowl (I save the butter wrapper from and use the buttered side to grease my bowl), cover, proof for 5-6 hrs. Should rise by at least 50%
Depending on your timing, you can retard in the fridge overnight at this point OR shape and then retard overnight.
If retarding overnight now, take saran wrap and place directly on dough before putting in fridge (you don't want to let dough develop a skin). Careful not to deflate too much.
If shaping first, chill brioche in fridge for 45min-1 hr.
Make chocolate filling: combine chocolate and coconut oil. Heat for 1 min in microwave, stir to completely melt the chocolate. Let cool to room temp.
Roll out cold dough into a rectangle, about 1/4-in thick. Spread chocolate filling, almonds, and coconut flakes on on dough, leaving 1/2-1/4 at edges. Roll dough up from long end. Transfer log onto parchment paper and pan, cover, put in freezer for at least 30 min.
Trim edges of log. Cut log lengthwise down the middle, so you end up with two long halves. Pinch one end of the halves together, then braid until you're at the other end. Pinch together, then twist the braid into a figure-8. Fold ends underneath dough.
Grease and line a medium loaf pan with parchment paper. Transfer shaped babka into pan. Cover with saran wrap, refrigerate overnight.
Next morning: Take babka out of fridge. Let it proof on the counter for 2-3 hrs. In last hour, preheat oven to 375F. Egg wash with 1 egg and dash of milk. Bake for 55-65 min (check the temp after 45 min - you're aiming for 190F).
Cool for 10 min in pan. Then, remove loaf from pan and cool on rack for hr. Do not cut into it until it is completely cool.