My sister and I are big on trying babka from as many different pastry shops/jewish delis as possible. We've hit up a couple places near our house in suburban New Jersey, and we've gone to some of the main ones in New York City: Russ and Daughters, Breads Bakery, and of course, Sadelle's. If you're as obsessed with Jewish food as we are, you can understand why we made it our personal mission to eat the best babka ever.
Sadelle's by far has the densest, most indulgent babka out of the ones we've tried. The dough is yeasty and dense and every bite tastes like a combination of rich cake and fluffy challah bread. If you decide to visit, don't get discouraged by the line pouring out the door. To sit down at the restaurant, you need to book a table weeks in advance. Instead, peep your head in and make your way to the "to go" section where you can grab a slice of babka and a quick bagel for the road.
I adapted this recipe from pastry chef Melissa Weller who is responsible for Sadelle's great babka, and it makes two full-sized loaves.
- Prep Time:1 hr
- Cook Time:6 hrs
- Total Time:7 hrs
- 4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoon room temperature
- 1 medium jar nutella
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 16 oz chocolate milk/dark/combination - your choice
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
Combine yeast, milk, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl and let stand until foamy (at least 5 minutes).
In another bowl whisk together flour, remaining sugar, and salt. Add milk/yeast mixture and egg and egg yolk to dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are incorporated and dough is smooth.
Add all of the butter all at once, and continue mixing and kneading until tacky dough forms.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and break the dough into two equal parts. Pat each into a compact circle on the parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Line two 9-by-4 inch loaf pans with parchment paper, allowing some to hang over the sides of the pan.
Roll each circle of dough into a large rectangle. Try to get the dough as thin as you can without tearing it.
Spread the Nutella onto each rectangle nice and thick. Leave a border of dough with no Nutella on it so that you can roll the babka cleanly. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
Roll each rectangle into a tight log and cut in half. You should have four babka logs total.
Take two logs and slather the top of one with Nutella. Place another log on top of the first one and twist into spirals. Put into loaf pans. Repeat with the other two logs.
Cover the loaves with a towel and let rise in a warm place for two hours. The loaves should double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 C. Bake the loaves for 45 minutes until they are browned. Let the loaves cool and then lift them out of the pan by the ends of the parchment paper.
Make the glaze by melting together the 16 oz of chocolate, 1 1/2 sticks of butter and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small pot.
Spread glaze over babkas and let set, about 30 minutes. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!
You can decide whether you want to share that extra loaf of babka with your friends or make this pretty awesome french toast instead to up your brunch game.