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Challah and Babka making with Tammy Arnow

Thursday, April 22, 2021 10 Iyyar 5781

7:00 PM - 8:15 PMZoom
 
"I'm excited to make tasty Shabbat treats with you!  At the class, I will be demonstrating how to make chocolate babka and cinnamon babka from challah dough.  You are welcome to watch and ask questions.  If you would like to make babka along with me, you will need to make your dough ahead of time, let it rise, punch it down, and let it rise again.  If you have any questions for me about making the dough, feel free to call me at 646-234-2124 or email me at tammy.arnow@gmail.com.  Looking forward to it!"
 
Thank you!
Tammy
 
You can make challah and/or babka out of this recipe! The recipe makes two large
challahs OR two large babkas OR a large challah and a large babka. If you are making challah and babka, divide the dough into two, and one will become a challah and one will become a babka. You can also double the recipe easily.

DOUGH INGREDIENTS
● 1 cup lukewarm water, plus ⅓ cup lukewarm water for proofing yeast
● 1 heaping tablespoon yeast
● ⅓ cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon sugar for proofing yeast
● About 4 cups bread flour (all-purpose works as well)
● 2 eggs, beaten, plus 1 egg for glazing
● 2 teaspoons salt
● ¼ cup honey
● ⅓ cup vegetable oil
● Optional toppings/fillings for challah (poppy seeds; sesame seeds; cinnamon
sugar mixture; rosemary and sea salt; chocolate chips; walnuts and cinnamon;
mixture of cardamom, walnuts, cinnamon, and sea salt (Noah’s favorite), etc.)
 
ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE BABKA
● 8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, preferably mini
● 1 stick melted butter or ½ cup neutral oil
● ⅔ cup sugar
● ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
● ½ tablespoon cinnamon
● Pinch of salt

PLUS CHOCOLATE BABKA STREUSEL TOPPING
● ½ cup flour
● 3 tablespoons sugar
● 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
● ½ teaspoon kosher salt
● ¼ cup melted butter or neutral oil
● ½ cup chocolate chips
 
ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR CINNAMON BABKA
● 3 tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil
● 1 cup brown sugar
● 2 tablespoons cinnamon
● ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
● Salt

PLUS CINNAMON BABKA STREUSEL TOPPING
● 2 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces or 2 tablespoons neutral oil
● ¼ cup flour
● ¼ cup brown sugar
● 1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
DIRECTIONS
1. Dissolve the yeast in ⅓ cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar. Beat well and let rest for 10 minutes or until it froths.
2. In a large bowl, lightly beat two eggs. Then add the salt, ⅓ cup sugar, 1 cup water, honey, and oil and beat again.
3. Add the frothy yeast mixture and mix well. Then add the flour gradually, mixing well. Add just enough to make a soft dough that holds together. Mix first
with a large spoon, then knead it with your hands.
4. Knead vigorously for 10 minutes, until it is very smooth and elastic, adding flour until the dough only very lightly sticks to your hands.
4. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to the bowl and flip it over, so that it is greased all over.
5. Cover the bowl with wax paper or parchment paper and a towel over that, and put it in a warm place to rise for at least 2 hours, or until doubled in size. You can also turn your oven on to 200 for a few minutes, then turn it off, and let the dough rise in the oven.
6. Punch the dough down and knead again for just a few minutes to release air bubbles, and return to the bowl to rise again, this time for at least an hour, until doubled. Before you begin to braid, pinch off a small piece (about the size of an olive), roll it into a ball, and set it aside for the mitzvah of taking challah (blessing and more information below).
If you are making challah, proceed with steps 6 through 10 below. If you are
making babka, go to the bottom of the recipe for instructions.
6. Now you’re ready to braid! Proceed as below or according to desired variations,
listed at the bottom of the recipe.
7. With each hunk of dough, divide it into 3 or 4 sections, rolling each section into 8-10 inch lengths of dough. Pinch them together at the top. 
a) With three sections, you can braid normally (like braiding hair). When you
can’t braid any more, tuck the ends underneath.
b) With four sections, take the piece on the left and weave it over the piece of
dough next to it, then under the next piece and finally over the last piece,
so it finishes on the far right.  Next, take the piece that is on the far left. 
Again, weave it over, under, and over until it's on the far right.  Continue to
weave until pieces are too short.  Then push them all together and tuck
them under the loaf. 
8. Place loaves on a nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment
paper. Then cover with a dish towel. Let sit for at least 20 minutes more.
9. Crack the last egg, beat lightly, and brush onto the top of the dough, and add
sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
10. Put in 350 degree oven for 28-30 minutes.  At 20 minutes, I switch the location and orientation of my pans for more even cooking.
***
A few variations, though the possibilities are endless!
Chocolate chip challah: mix chocolate chips into dough when you mix in flour, or
when you braid
Rosemary sea salt challah: mix in some fresh or dried rosemary before you
braid. After brushing with egg wash, sprinkle some sea salt on top
Cinnamon sugar challah: mix a bit of vegetable oil (or melted butter) into
cinnamon sugar so it resembles slightly wet sand. When you make the strands to
braid, flatten them out first, and spread the cinnamon sugar mixture inside, then
roll the strands up again and braid as usual
 
Mitzvah of Taking Challah
Hebrew: Transliteration:

BA-RUCH A-TAH A-DO-NOI ELO-HAI-NU ME-LECH HA-O-LAM A-SHER KID-SHA-NU
B'MITZ-VO-TAV V'TZI-VA-NU L'HAF-RISH CHAL-LAH MEEN HA-EESAH

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with
God's commandments and commanded us to separate challah.
(For more on this mitzvah, you can look here:
https://www.myjewishlearning.com/recipe/taking-challah/.)
Enjoy!! But be careful -- you may never go back to store-bought challah again!
 
Babka Preparation: Chocolate
1. Combine all filling ingredients except for chocolate chips.
2. Roll dough into a rectangle (somewhere around 10” x 16”) on a floured surface. The dough should be thin, but thick enough so that it won’t rip.
3. Spread the chocolate spread on the dough in a thick, even layer, leaving a half-inch or so border around the perimeter. (I have had luck dropping some spread around the dough then gently spreading it with a knife or the back of a spoon.) Scatter chocolate chips on top.
4. Now it’s time to roll it up. Starting at the shorter end, roll the dough over itself into a log. Stretch it out a bit, then twist it into the shape of an 8, pinching the ends together.
5. Line a loaf pan with oiled parchment paper. Gently lift the 8-shaped babka and place it into the loaf pan.
6. Using a skewer, poke several holes in the babka. Then cover the babka with a towel and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
7. Mix together streusel topping. Scatter over top of babka.
8. Bake at 350 degrees on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes until the top is browned, turning it halfway through.

Babka Preparation: Cinnamon
1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, salt.
2. Roll dough into a rectangle (somewhere around 10” x 16”) on a floured surface. The dough should be thin, but thick enough that it won’t rip.
3. With a pastry brush, brush the melted butter or oil on the dough, leaving a half-inch or so border around the perimeter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Add walnuts (optional).
4. Now it’s time to roll it up. Starting at the shorter end, roll the dough over itself into a log. Stretch it out a bit, then twist it into the shape of an 8, pinching the ends together.
5. Line a loaf pan with oiled parchment paper. Gently lift the 8-shaped babka and place it into the loaf pan.
6. Using a skewer, poke several holes in the babka. Then cover the babka with a towel and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
7. Brush babka with egg.
8. Mix together streusel topping: ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup flour, 2 tablespoons chilled butter cut into small pieces or 2T neutral oil, 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
9. Scatter the streusel topping on the top of the babka.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes on the middle rack, turning halfway, or until the top is brown.
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Thu, April 15 2021 3 Iyyar 5781