• A Recipe: Chocolate, Chilli and Tahini Babka

    A Recipe: Chocolate, Chilli and Tahini Babka
    Image and recipe by Julia Georgallis
    Babkas are like the puppies of baking. Everybody loves them - they're easy and fun to make, you can be quite playful with what you decide to fill it with. In honour of Valentines Day, chilli is added to my usual tahini and chocolate filling, FOR SOME EXTRA SPICE NAH WHAT I'M SAYING WINK WINK WINK WINK. I bake my babka with yoghurt instead of whole milk - it helps with the proofing and adds an extra depth of flavour. 


    For the dough
    100 g yoghurt (preferably Greek yoghurt, sheep's milk)
    50 g very warm water
    2 eggs
    7 g dried yeast OR 14 g fresh yeast
    420 g strong bread flour
    100 g caster sugar
    pinch of salt
    For the filling
    1 large, spicy chilli, chopped (the finer the chilli is chopped, the spicier it will be!)
    100 g tahini 
    100 g chocolate, chopped into small pieces (the darker the better)
    50 g butter 
    1. Dissolve yeast into water and yoghurt. 
    2. Add flour, sugar, salt to the yeast mix and mix until roughly combined. 
    3. Beat the eggs and add to the dough so that they are fully combined. The dough will be wet and sticky at first, so stretch and fold until the texture is smoother. 
    4. Stretch and fold the dough every half an hour for 1 hour (twice). After the first hour, cover with a tea towel and leave to proof for another hour. 
    5. In the meantime, make the paste. Make a bain marie and add butter, chocolate and chopped chili. Once all the ingredients have melted together, fold in the tahini so that it is well combine and leave the paste to cool, preferably in the fridge. 
    6. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll it out on a well floured surface in a rectangular shape. The thickness should be no more than 5 mm. 
    7. Cover the dough with the chocolate paste, which by now should have set so that it is not runny. 
    8. Slice the dough into three sections. 
    9. Roll each section horizontally, so that the chocolate is in the centre of the dough and you end up with three long sausage shapes filled with chocolate in the middle. Warning: this is messy business!
    10. Braid the three sections together so you end up with a long, plaited babka loaf. At this point, you can experiment! I usually twist the braids into a circle, but you can make other fun shapes. Put your final shape in a greased cake tin or greased oven proof dish.
    11. Egg wash the babka and leave it to proof for 2 more hours.
    12. Heat oven to 180. Give the babka one more egg wash - you can also sprinkle it with more chocolate or extra chilli flakes for a bit more kick, then bake for 25 minutes.
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