Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Vegan Chocolate Babka
My idea of heaven: rich, buttery bread dough filled with a swirl of chocolate and cinnamon and topped with crispy, sugary streusel. This dough also makes a lovely French brioche (see variation at the end).
makes four small 3"x5" loaves or 24 muffin babkas
for the dough:
¼ cup warm water
1 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ cup plain nondairy milk
4 TB plain mashed potatoes
8 TB nonhydrogenated margarine, at room temperature
for the chocolate filling:
one 12 oz. package vegan chocolate chips, ground in a food processor until finely chopped
¾ tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
4 TB nonhydrogenated margarine, at room temperature
for the streusel topping:
3 TB all-purpose flour
3 TB sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 TB nonhydrogenated margarine
If making small loaves, spray four 3"x5" loaf pans with nonstick spray. If making individual muffin-sized babka, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners and (important!) spray the muffin papers with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Whisk the warm water and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Measure out the sugar and sprinkle a pinch of it into the water. Allow the yeast to proof for five minutes.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt together, and in another bowl mix the nondairy milk and mashed potatoes together (no lumps).
Add all the sugar, flour mixture, and milk mixture to the yeast and mix on low speed for 3 minutes using the dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer speed up a notch and add the margarine a tablespoon at a time. Mix for 10 minutes. When you first add the margarine the dough will look like a mess, but hang in there and it will come back together into a smooth ball.
Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 2 1/2 hours.
While the dough is rising make the chocolate filling by combining all the chocolate filling ingredients and kneading them together with your hands until the margarine is completely incorporated. Make the struesel topping by combining all the struesel ingredients and working the margarine in with your fingers until well-combined and crumbly.
Scrape dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Press the air bubbles out and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 16"x12" rectangle. Spread evenly with the chocolate filling.
If making four small loaves, cut the dough into four squares and roll each piece up cinnamon-roll style. Pinch the ends together to seal and place in the loaf pans.
If making muffin babka, cut the dough in half the long way and roll each rectangle up the long way. Cut each roll into twelve equal pieces and place each piece in a prepared muffin cup.
Crumble the streusel evenly on top of each muffin or loaf. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 40 to 50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350º during this final rise.
Bake muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Variation: To make this dough into a lovely French brioche, add 1 tsp. vanilla to the dough. Leave off the filling and streusel, and bake in brioche molds. Baking time will depend on the size of your pans.