Chocolate babka twist bread is easier than it looks, it is a soft, citrus-infused bread, spread in the middle with real chocolate. Time and patience and you'll be eating a delicious quality sweet bread. If you plan to make this ahead of time is well worth the effort and wait.

This traditional Jewish sweet bread is also known as chocolate babka, chocolate braided bread, chocolate swirl bread. You can add your take on this bread by adding cinnamon and sugar butter or add your favourite chocolate hazelnut spread.

My recipe has been tweaked from the original Chocolate Krantz Cakes from Totam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's book Jerusalem. I have halved the recipe, but show how you can make it with wholemeal Spelt flour or strong white bread flour, infused with  of a hint orange zest instead of lemon, This traditional Jewish sweet bread is also known as chocolate babka, chocolate braided bread, chocolate swirl bread – it soft, delicious, citrus-infused bread, spread in the middle with real chocolate. You can add your take on this bread by adding cinnamon and sugar butter or add your favourite chocolate hazelnut spread. If you would like to make two loaves, double my recipe and keep one dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or the bread would be suitable for freezing for up to two weeks, ensure your bread is well wrapped.

Ingredients for 1 loaf

  • 50g castor sugar
  • 7g packet of instant yeast
  • 300g spelt flour (or strong white bread flour) + extra for dusting
  • 1/2 zest of an orange (or lemon)
  • 1 large or medium egg
  • 60ml water room temperature
  • 75g unsalted butter (cut into 2cm cubes)
  • sunflower for greasing
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Filling

  • 25g icing sugar
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 60g quality, dark chocolate melted
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp dk brown or castor sugar

Sugar Syrup

  • 130g castor sugar
  • 80ml water

Method

  1. Place yeast, sugar and water in your large mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Add flour and zest then mix for 1 minute on a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes until the dough comes together. Add the salt and start adding the butter. You will need to stop the mixer to scrap down the bowl. Add a little more flour to the sides of the bowl so the dough comes away.
  2. Once the dough has formed, remove from the mixer and place in a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight or half a day.
  3. Grease a 1 kg loaf tin (23cm x 10cm) with some sunflower oil or similar and line the bottom with a piece of baking paper.
  4. Prepare the chocolate spread filling by mixing the icing sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, melted chocolate and butter. You will form a paste (allow to cool to room temperature before using, to quicken up this process pour into a small bowl or jug and place in the freezer for 10 minutes).
  5. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface approx 38cm x 28cm rectangle. Trim the sides to get rid of any unevenness and place the dough so that the short end is close to you. Spread the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leave a 2cm border all around the edge.
  6. Brush a little water over the long end that is the furtherest away from you. Use both hands to roll up the rectangle, starting from the long side that is closest to you, and ending up at the other long side at the other end. Press the wet seal of the tube and then use both hands to make the dough more even, sitting on its seam.
  7. Trim both ends of the dough with a knife. Now cut the roll lengthways starting at the top and dividing the dough into two even long halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently twist the dough, it will be messy but don't worry even if it twists too much once cooked it will taste fine. The end result is a two sided plait. Now carefully lift the twisted dough into the lined tin. Cover with a damp tea towel, and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough will rise slightly, around 20%.
  8. Pre-heat oven 170˚C.
  9. Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean from the bread.
  10. While the bread is baking, prepare the syrup. In a small saucepan over a medium heat boil the water and sugar until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove and allow to cool down. As soon as the bread is baked and out of the oven, brush the bread with the sugar syrup, before removing from the tins, and allowing to cool down completely.