Slightly modified from Cooking Light, December 2009
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm 1% low-fat milk (105° to 110°)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
7 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 2/3 cups), divided
6 ounces bread flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and egg yolk. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 6 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour and 6 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) of bread flour to milk mixture; beat with dough hook attachment at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add 5 tablespoons butter, beating until well blended. Scrape down bowl and using the dough hook, begin kneading the dough, adding 1.5 ounces (about 1/3 cup) all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to to the sides of the bowl. Total kneading time will vary, check for springiness of dough.
2. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough. Punch dough down; cover and let dough rest 5 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°.
4. If using, line the bottom of a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with parchment paper; coat sides of pan with cooking spray. Otherwise, spray 4 mini loaf pans with cooking spray.
5. To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.
6. Place dough on a generously floured surface or on a silicone baking mat. If making mini-loaves, portion dough out into four equal balls. Roll dough out into a square of the appropriate size for your pan. Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Roll up dough tightly, jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam and ends to seal. Holding dough by ends, twist dough 4 times as if wringing out a towel. Fit dough into prepared pan. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
7. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.
8. Cool bread completely on wire rack before slicing. This step is very important! If you do not wait, you will completely mangle the lovely chocolate swirls. Resist the temptation to nom it!
Have you ever had Chocolate Babka bread? Let me know in a comment down below! :)